Patterico's Pontifications

12/12/2008

Rahm Emanuel Objects to Intrusive Media

Filed under: Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 5:11 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Obama Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel complained today that the media has gone too far in trying to find out what he knows about the Blagojevich scandal. Apparently the media has camped out in front of Emanuel’s home and office trying to get his comment:

“Back at his home, Emanuel appeared “beet-red,” according to an ABC News cameraman who was invited inside by Emanuel to use his bathroom this morning.

“I’m getting regular death threats. You’ve put my home address on national television. I’m pissed at the networks. You’ve intruded too much,” Emanuel said, according to the cameraman.”

I sympathize because no politician wants to involve his family or put them at risk. Maybe Emanuel should ask Karl Rove or Sarah Palin for advice.

– DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Here’s Ace:

The Hill Reporter Offers Strange Excuse For Emanuel’s Refusal to Hold a Press Conference: He’s getting death threats, you see.

Wouldn’t be safe.

On the other hand, he can attend his kid’s school recitals without any fear of harm. But a high-security, press-only press conference? Too risky.

It might risk revealing (some of) the truth. I think that might be too risky indeed.

Rendell: Obama Has No Executive Experience

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:28 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This morning on MSNBC, Democratic Governor Ed Rendell evaluated Barack Obama’s handling of the Blagojevich scandal:

“They have never been in an executive position before,” Rendell said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The rule of thumb is whatever you did, say it and get it over with and make it a one-day story as opposed to a three-day story. Politicians are always misjudging the intelligence of the American people.”

Rendell continued: Of course Obama’s team had contact with Blagojevich. Admit it up front and move on. Don’t make it a multi-day story.

I agree but, as Rendell says, Obama and his team don’t have executive experience. I guess running a campaign wasn’t as valuable as they thought.

NOTE: I corrected the spelling of Gov. Rendell’s name. Thanks to commenter grs.

– DRJ

“Pellicano Girls” Deal Signed (UPDATE: Maybe Not)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:22 pm

It appears that the “Pellicano Girls” reality TV show is a done deal.

UPDATE: Or maybe not.

Allahpundit: Have Bailout Opponents Considered the Ramifications of Their Opposition?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:07 pm

Allahpundit on the auto industry bailout:

Is anyone in the GOP leadership weighing the costs of action versus the costs of inaction or are we running on pure dogma here? I keep thinking about Mitch McConnell saying yesterday that he’ll oppose the bailout even though it’s “impossible to know” what the consequences of bankruptcy would be. Hey, Mitch? Not good enough. No one’s asking for absolute certainty on the outcome, which really is impossible; what I want is a good-faith attempt at assessing costs, benefits, and probabilities of all courses of action. If they’re convinced that economic catastrophe is inevitable and don’t want to burn any more taxpayer money trying to deflect the asteroid, that’s fine. If, on the flip side, they think the consequences of letting the Big Three fail and losing a million jobs in this economic climate won’t be that bad, that’s fine too. Both are good reasons to oppose a bailout. But make the case. Explain to me why, in the middle of a global economic crisis, propping up a failing industry to save jobs at least until the crisis is over is a worse option than pulling the plug now. The prospect of being taxed to support a $100 billion rescue of the auto industry is awful, but not nearly as awful as the cascade effect of consumer purchasing power drying up and me losing my job as part of a $500 billion hit to the economy. Is that what we’re looking at here or is it something less, or more? My sense is that both sides are uninterested in exploring the question, and that our side is content to repose religious faith in the divine market to arrive at the least painful solution. Can I at least see some numbers before I take communion?

I have my own take on this. I’m interested in predictions about the numbers, because I think Allapundit is right: we should have some idea where our actions will lead us. But I’m even more concerned about arguments concerning whether the free market is the way to solve this crisis.

I don’t feel qualified to offer a firm opinion on whether a bailout like this should happen; I felt the same way about the bailout of the financial industry. But I do believe in certain principles.

I’m skeptical of government intervention in economic affairs, because I believe they can lead to unintended consequences that are hard to predict. And I’m generally a believer in free-market principles. The idea is that the free market is the economic system most compatible with freedom, because rather than putting our trust in government to manage the economy, I believe we should trust the collective wisdom of consumers to make whatever decisions are best for them. As those decisions multiply, markets form as if by magic — and (in theory at least) it causes the best businesses to flourish while less useful ones fail. Put simply, a collection of choices, freely made, forms our markets.

At the same time, I’m not 100% “religious” about markets in the sense that Allahpundit means. There are market failures, because what is good for the individual is a) not always best for society as a whole, and b) is often not best for the future of humanity. So I don’t trust markets to protect the environment, for example. (By analogy, similar laissez-faire attitudes in government provide politicians with incentives to grab cash for their districts, without concern for the harm to the country as a whole, or the harm to future citizens caused by increasing debt.)

The question is this: standard free-market dogma says that the Big Three are failing because they aren’t producing cars that people want, for the prices that people want to pay. And if they’re not doing that, they need to fail, so that something better can take their place.

Is there a reason that outlook is wrong? I tend to think it’s not, but if someone wants to argue that it’s a market failure, I’m open to listening.

As for the numbers, I’m quite sure they would indicate that inaction would lead to extreme short-term economic pain. When businesses fail, it’s always tough; when big businesses fail, it’s tougher.

But what’s the alternative? Prop up businesses who aren’t properly meeting demand and turning over power to a “car czar”? (Shades of the Soviet Union.) If it takes some short-term pain to avoid that, then maybe we need some short-term pain.

Watch for the Obama Team To Emulate The Clinton White House — A Significant Revelation Regarding the Blago Affair After 6:00 pm Today

Filed under: General — WLS @ 1:05 pm

[Posted by WLS Shipwrecked]

The late Friday dump of damaging information was made into an art form by the Clinton White House.  We have a leak today that incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had conversations with Blago about filling the Senate seat. 

Obama has pledged to make public the contacts between his staff and the Illinois Governor and his staff.   Expect that to come late today, with the hope that it will be buried over the weekend by Big 3 bailout news.  Look for there to be no Obama team presence on the Sunday shows.  By Monday they want this all to be treated as yesterday’s news, as they move forward and concentrate on cabinet nominees and preparing for confirmation hearings.

Fortunately for Obama, as Chief of Staff, Emanuel does not undergo Senate confirmation.

Bush Will Bail Out Automakers

Filed under: Economics — DRJ @ 12:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Reversing his earlier position, President Bush declared he would step in to avoid the “precipitous collapse” of the Big 3 automakers:

“Under normal economic conditions we would prefer that markets determine the ultimate fate of private firms,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said after the failure of a $14 billion bailout bill in Congress. The legislation died when Senate Republicans demanded upfront pay and benefit concessions from the United Auto Workers that union officials rejected.

Perino added, “Given the current weakened state of the U.S. economy, we will consider other options if necessary including use of the TARP program to prevent a collapse of troubled automakers. A precipitous collapse of this industry would have a severe impact on our economy, and it would be irresponsible to further weaken and destabilize our economy at this time.”

The announcement followed last nights’ Senate vote rejecting an automaker bailout.

I think Bush bailed because he doesn’t want the Big 3 to go down on his watch. Hopefully Obama and the Democratic Congress will have a Sister Souljah moment with the auto unions next year, although that may be wishful thinking on my part.

– DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Ace has a post suggesting that the bailout is not a done deal.

Your Daily Blago Links: Illinois AG Seeks Court Finding That Blago Is “Unfit”; Blago Chief of Staff Resigns

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:28 pm

The Illinois Attorney General has filed a motion to declare Blago “unfit” for office. I understand the desire to get him out, but this seems to set a bad precedent and should not be an issue for the courts.

Meanwhile, Blago’s Chief of Staff has resigned. As for Obama’s putative chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel . . . he sure has been quiet lately.

Using TARP to Bail Out Big Three: Illegal?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:48 am

Via Michelle Malkin comes a link to an argument that using TARP money to bail out the Big Three would be illegal.

It’s a pretty convincing case. Then again, President Bush is famous among lefties for allegedly not caring about the law. Whether that’s a fair characterization or not, the fact remains that he has been discussing it, according to numerous news reports.

The possibility of a TARP bailout may be the only thing that kept the market from diving 1000 points today, as I had predicted last night. If Bush doesn’t dip into TARP to help the Big Three — and I’m not saying he should — we may see the stock market ugliness that we mostly missed today.

Meanwhile, at The Jury Talks Back, Scott Jacobs has an amusing statement from the Big Three that will bring a bitter smile to your face.

Larry Elder’s Last Day is Today

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:40 am

Via L.A. Observed we learn that the local radio talk show host is making today his last day at KABC.

He said earlier in the week that he had a big announcement coming yesterday, but I missed it. And I will miss him.

I wonder why he’s doing this.

Rahm Emanuel May Have Talked to Blago About Senate Succession

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:32 am

On multiple occasions. Ed Morrissey reports that, if it’s true, Emanuel will probably show up on the FBI wiretaps.

It’s unlikely that anything stunning will show up, like clear and explicit financial negotiations over the seat. After all, Emanuel hasn’t been arrested by the feds. Then again, as Ed points out, it’s unlikely that Emanuel tipped off the feds, given the way he’s been running from the press.

The interesting thing will be whether any unsavory discussions came up that arguably generated a duty to inform Obama or the FBI. This could prove interesting.


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