Patterico's Pontifications


ZOMG!!!!1!! Palin Commits First Gaffe!!!two!!!

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 11:16 pm

Well, not really. Just another smear to slam down.

HuffPo contributor Sam Stein:

Gov. Sarah Palin made her first potentially major gaffe during her time on the national scene while discussing the developments of the perilous housing market this past weekend.

Speaking before voters in Colorado Springs, the Republican vice presidential nominee claimed that lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had “gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.” The companies, as McClatchy reported, “aren’t taxpayer funded but operate as private companies. The takeover may result in a taxpayer bailout during reorganization.”

What a lightweight! Except, she’s getting defended! By some wingnut blogger? Not so much; rather, her defender is Peter Viles, a blogger at the notorious neocon publication the Los Angeles Times:

My take: The Palin comment is well within the margin of error on the campaign trail. There is no “gaffe” here. Congress earlier this summer — in the housing bill that both John McCain and Barack Obama supported but didn’t bother to vote on — gave Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson a blank check* to invest in Fannie or Freddie. It OK’d a big bailout. Perhaps in your book a blank check freshly signed by Congress is not “too expensive.” Perhaps you trust the government not to spend a blank check. Perhaps pigs have wings. Palin was right: The very existence of a blank check means that Fannie and Freddie are too expensive to taxpayers.

*In a comforting bedtime story that several members of Congress actually believed, Paulson said the blank check was so big and powerful (a bazooka of cash!) he would never have to use it. By the time Palin spoke, it was clear that Paulson’s attempt at “verbal intervention” had failed and that real taxpayer money will be spent to prop up Fannie and Freddie. No one knows how much, but the Treasury has signed contracts to invest up to $100 billion in each company. Oh, and loan them money too. Oh, and buy their mortgage-backed securities. Do you really want to argue that she made a mistake by saying the two companies are “too big and too expensive to the taxpayers”?

Give her time, and a few one-on-one interviews. I’m certain she’s as capable of the other three of a real screwup. This is not it.

Even HuffPo heavy breather Stein himself acknowledges at the tail end of his post that, well, Palin is technically correct — but certainly, she can’t have been aware of it!

There are varying explanations that could be offered for Palin’s defense. As O’Driscoll noted, both Fannie and Freddie “were hybrid institutions because they had private ownership but… an implicit government guarantee which people thought at the end of the day was explicit.” Meanwhile, as [Dean] Baker [co-director of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research] noted, as of July the two lenders were being offered low market interest rates by the fed again, theoretically, at the taxpayer’s expense. But, he added, “I kind of doubt she had any sense of that.”

What with her being a woman and all.

Barack the Bomb Thrower

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 10:10 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I like candidates with a sense of humor but I have my doubts about this:

“When discussing McCain’s energy plan, Obama poked fun at his line on drilling. “What were the Republicans hollerin’, ‘drill baby drill’? What kind of slogan is that?! They were getting all excited about drilling!”

He even found a way to make an answer to a question on civil liberties comical. While speaking about the importance of habeas corpus, Obama said, “We don’t always catch the right person. We may think this is Mohammed the terrorist, it might be Mohammed the cab driver. You may think it’s Barack the bomb thrower, but it might be Barack the guy running for president.

I assume this relates to the line in Palin’s speech that while “Al-Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America; [Obama’s] worried that someone won’t read them their rights.”

I understand his point but I don’t think this is the best way for Obama to make it.


Headline of the Day

Filed under: 2008 Election — Patterico @ 9:29 pm

From HuffPo: We’re Gonna Frickin’ Lose This Thing

I didn’t make that up. Follow the link if you don’t believe me.

I Love The Smell Of Vindication In The Evening — It Smells Like Victory

Filed under: General — WLS @ 7:40 pm

[Posted by WLS]

That is, if vindication had any smell.

Read it and weep, doubters — Team Obama is in a panic over a fundraising shortfall.


A few nice nuggets:

Pushing a fund-raiser later this month, a finance staff member sent a sharply worded note last week to Illinois members of its national finance committee, calling their recent efforts “extremely anemic.”

The signs of concern have become evident in recent weeks as early fund-raising totals have suggested that Mr. Obama’s decision to bypass public financing may not necessarily afford him the commanding financing advantage over Senator John McCain that many had originally predicted.

Meanwhile, Obama campaign officials had calculated that with its vaunted fund-raising machine, driven by both small contributors over the Internet and a powerful high-dollar donor network, it made more sense to forgo public financing so they could raise and spend unlimited sums.

But the campaign is struggling to meet ambitious fund-raising goals it set for the campaign and the party. It collected in June and July far less from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s donors than originally projected. Moreover, Mr. McCain, unlike Mr. Obama, will have the luxury of concentrating almost entirely on campaigning instead of raising money, as Mr. Obama must do.

The Obama campaign set a goal in mid-June of raising $300 million for the campaign and about $150 million for the Democratic Party over four-and-a-half months, fund-raisers said. As of the end of July, however, the Obama campaign was well short of the $100 million a month pace it had set, taking in about $77 million between the campaign and the party that month.

It is not yet clear whether the Obama campaign will be able to ratchet up its fund-raising enough in the final two months of the campaign to make up the difference.

Even Mr. Obama’s fund-raisers in Illinois were admonished in an e-mail message last Thursday to step up their efforts to “show the other regions that his home state still has it.” The donors, who were also reminded they had each promised to collect $300,000 for the campaign, were asked to raise $25,000 each for an event on Sept. 22 at a Chicago museum.

The new state-by-state goals unveiled by campaign officials in Denver stunned at least some in the room and included sizable increases for at least some states, according to interviews with several Obama fund-raisers.

Campaign officials expect their Internet fund-raising engine to ramp up as the election approaches. And they hope that much of the high-dollar fund-raising can be done without Mr. Obama. In the New York area alone, there are some 18 events planned in September, all with surrogates, including Mrs. Clinton, Caroline Kennedy and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

But campaign officials conceded that Mr. Obama inevitably will have to make some appearances. On Friday night in New Jersey, Mr. Obama devoted five hours for two fund-raising events, including one at the home of the singer Jon Bon Jovi, in which the ticket was $30,800 a person. Mr. Obama is also scheduled to appear at back-to-back fund-raisers in Los Angeles on Sept. 16.

Not one piece of good news for Obama in the entire article.


Killer of Three Was Indeed Illegal

Filed under: Crime,Deport the Criminals First,General,Immigration — Patterico @ 7:16 pm

Yesterday I reported that we might have another case of an illegal who killed multiple people, after authorities blew multiple chances to deport him. At the time, we didn’t have any official confirmation that authorities believe he was illegal.

Now we do:

U.S. immigration officials believe that the man accused of killing three people in an auto accident last week was born in Guatemala and is in this country illegally.

Francis Hernandez, 23, “may have entered the country in 1991,” said U.S. Immigration Control and Enforcement spokesman Carl Rusnok today.

On Thursday, police say, Hernandez drove a sport-utility vehicle into a pickup truck, sending it careening into a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream shop in Aurora. Two women in the truck were killed, and a 3-year-old boy who was waiting for ice cream inside the shop also died.

Hernandez has a lengthy arrest record and has used 11 aliases, police and court records show. ICE officials only heard about him after he was arrested trying to flee the scene of last week’s accident.

There are three people dead because authorities couldn’t get this man out of the country — even though he was in their clutches time and time and time and time again.

Deport the Criminals First.

Purple America

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 6:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The conventional wisdom says Americans are polarized, swing voters swing elections, and turnout helps the Democrats. According to political scientists Daron Shaw, Karen Kaufmann, and John Petrocik, authors of “Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths About American Voters” published by the Oxford University Press, the conventional wisdom may be wrong:

Myth 1: Americans are deeply polarized

“The concept of polarization implies that Americans increasingly hold extreme views: that there are a bunch of people on the liberal side and a bunch of people on the conservative side and very few people in the middle, which is not the case,” Shaw explains.

According to data from ANES [American National Election Studies] on self-professed voter ideology, moderates make up nearly 50 percent of the population, conservatives constitute about 30 percent and self-identified liberals about 15 percent.”

Myth 2: Swing voters swing elections

“Historically, the majority of Americans have maintained strong political party affiliations, Shaw says. And, data from ANES since 1952 show the number of people who think of themselves as either Republican or Democrat is as high as it has ever been.

“An election campaign for the most part is about activation, not persuasion,” Shaw explains. “Activation is about reminding people why they’re a Democrat or a Republican. The problem is the concept of activation is not the sexiest story of the election, so journalists tend to write about people who defect from their party and over-report the experiences of a small group, which distorts our understanding of the political landscape.”

Myth 3: [Last minute] Voter turnout favors Democrats

“Based on data from ANES, Shaw found that last-minute voters tend to reflect the prevailing political winds, and do not consistently favor Republicans or Democrats. For example, they voted for Reagan in 1984 and Clinton in 1996, and they split between Bush and Kerry in 2004.

That does not diminish the importance of get-out-the-vote efforts, Shaw warns. If one party mobilizes its supporters while the other does not, the former is more likely to win. But, mobilization often provokes counter-mobilization, which increases turnout without either side improving its relative position, he adds.”

The political winds this year favor Obama. Maybe.

PS – Wondering about the title of this post, Purple America? Now that you’ve considered these views of election “myths,” click the link for a second look at a county-by-county map of how America votes.


Counting the Rumors

Filed under: 2008 Election,Media Bias — DRJ @ 6:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Stay on top of the Palin rumors at Charley Martin’s blog. He’s at number 71.
[EDIT: If that link is overloaded, try this Pajamas Media link. Martin posted an earlier version of his Palin rumors article at PJM.]

He’s also started a post on Obama rumors.


Patterico On Fire!!!

Filed under: General — WLS @ 5:18 pm

Posted by WLS:

Just a quick note to suck up to the boss here.

A few weeks back the proprietor of this site mused aloud that he was questioning how much he wanted to continue investing his time and effort in running down important stories that take a TON of work.  Original reporting on under-covered stories is what animates him, and it was that kind of work by him that brought me here more than two years ago as a reader and commenter. 

Well, as we have seen over the past few days — and as is evidenced by the site traffic which has overwhelmed the server for this blog a few times over the last several days — we should all be happy that he’s found another subject that has put him back in fighting trim.  He’s been linked several times on huge-traffic sites – today Dean Barnett did so indirectly over at The Weekly Standard Blog – and the work he’s been putting into his eviscercations of Andrew Sullivan deserves all the attention he’s been getting. 

It was a great honor when he asked me to come onboard as a guest blogger about 18 months ago, and its been a lot of fun.  I’ve had a lot of conversations with him over that time period, and he’s a genuinely great guy.  There’s really no purpose to this post that to point out what we all have seen over the last few days — Patterico has been on fire and its been great fun to be a part of it.

Sullivan Has Been Comparing Palin to Eagleton — He May Have a Point But He’s Looking At The Wrong Party

Filed under: 2008 Election — WLS @ 4:53 pm

[Posted by WLS]

One of Sullivan’s more crackpot ideas over at The Atlantic are a dozen or more posts on the prospect that Palin will be forced to withdraw from the ticket a la Thomas Eagleton in 1972. Randy-Andy started banging this drum before Palin’s speech — and things changed that day — and before the Obama lead in the polls cratered following the end of the GOP convention showing the power of Palin’s selection. But it’s possible that Randy-Andy may turn out to be correct – except he may be looking at the wrong party.

How long can Obama continue to keep Biden in the VP slot as it becomes more and more apparent that the Palin selection has fundamentally altered the race, and he’s now headed for a 3-5 point defeat rather than the coronation that everyone on the left (and many on the right) had expected?

What would shake up this race some more? How about Biden stepping down and Hillary taking his place? Because it’s with white women that Obama is going to lose this race. In the latest ABC/WaPo poll, Obama’s +8 lead among white women voters going into the conventions has now become a -12 deficit after the conventions. The great “Hillary myth” of the press is that women voters who supported Hillary did so only because they agreed with all her views across the policy spectrum, including views on subjects like abortion and equal pay. The idea was that “Hillary voters” would not jump to McCain simply because he chose Palin, especially given how “extreme” Palin was on social issues. Well, chalk that one up as one more example of bogus “conventional wisdom.”

I suspect many women supported Hillary because of what her campaign represented, not simply because of what her policy positions were. No question that the bulk of her supporters were die-hard liberals who immediately switched to Obama, but all 18 million??? No way. Before McCain selected Palin we knew from polling that 25% of Hillary voters were saying they would vote for McCain. Was this supposed to be only the men who supported her?

Lets look at the simple arithmetic of this issue:

In 2004, Kerry came out of the conventions trailing Bush among women 48-43. By mid-October, he had reversed that standing and led Bush among women by 50-40 according to this NYT story.

CNN exit polling showed that on election day, Kerry beat Bush among women by a vote of only 51-48.

There were 121 million votes cast in 2004, with 53% from women — or about 63 million votes. But 41% of all votes were from white women — or about 49.5 million.

If you move the percentage of white women voting for McCain from -8 to +12 (and using the 2004 vote totals as a reference point), that 20 point shift is nearly 10 million votes.

Did Palin bring McCain all 10 million votes??

No – at least not yet. But if this new narrative of the race takes root with white women, i.e., the suburban and small town soccer moms, Obama is dead meat.

What is the one thing he could do to alter this fundamental change? Dump the dull and uninspiring old white male Biden, and put Hillary on the ticket.


Biden Says Life Begins at Conception; Meanwhile, Bill Clinton and Obama to Meet

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 3:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Yesterday’s New York Times describes Senator and VP candidate Joe Biden’s statement that he believes life begins at conception, a statement that may help him with some pro-life and Catholic groups but is at odds with the Democratic Party platform and probably comes as a surprise to his constituents and many Democrats.

However, the last paragraph of the article is what caught my eye:

“Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are expected to be in New York this week, attending the Sept. 11 memorial observances on Thursday. Mr. Obama will also meet Thursday with former President Bill Clinton, aides said. The meeting was initiated by Mr. Clinton, who had been critical of Mr. Obama and his campaign during the primary battle with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Any guesses on what Bill Clinton wants to talk to Barack Obama about? My guess would have been that it’s Obama who wants to meet with and, more importantly, make up with the Clintons. Obama needs Hillary to help blunt the public’s infatuation with Sarah Palin.


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