October 30, 2008
Rich Man, Poor Man
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Emily Daywalt decided to go to the first political rally of her life because she wanted to cheer Sarah Palin, who was here a few days ago to inspire the faithful. Daywalt said she likes it that Palin "hunts and that she believes in God and that she is a strong, independent woman." But ask the 19-year-old from South Mountain, Pa., why she is voting against Barack Obama, and she hones right in on John McCain's closing argument.
The Cruelest Cut
Ten days ago, the campaign’s unofficial referees came down pretty hard on Barack Obama and his campaign. The issue was Medicare--specifically, Obama’s accusation that John McCain intends to slash the program.McCain’s advisers have insisted he would do no such thing. Factcheck.org agreed, calling Obama’s claim “false” and “not true.” The Washington Post came to the same conclusion, giving Obama "three pinocchios" for "significant factual errors." I respect both Factcheck and the Post's policy writers. Attempting to verify campaign boasts is a difficult, thankless job they generally do well.
The Idol Electorate
Washington pundits like to dismiss the “youth vote” as a figment of MTV’s imagination. Those crazy kids, they say, never rock the vote. They are too busy playing video games and listening to their loud music to take their democratic responsibilities seriously. And if you looked back at every election since the lowering of the voting ages in 1971, you would have to conclude that the pundits had a point. That same demographic so coveted by advertisers has never really been in the voting mood. Until now. There’s actually every indication that young people will flock to the polls.
LOS ANGELES--The interior of the “Yes on 8” bus looks disappointingly similar to that of a Greyhound bus, apart from some perfunctory “Yes on 8” banners affixed to every other window. But the exterior, a celebration of heterosexual marriage, is more distinctive. Occupying the most prominent spot on the side of the bus is a larger-than-life white couple, a bride and groom, enjoying a wedding kiss. Next to them is a pair of greatly magnified golden rings. Farther down the flank of the bus is a happy black family.
October 29, 2008
WASHINGTON--I recently suggested that the U.S. government's bailout of the financial system, which includes the de facto nationalization of several banks, would arouse populists around the world and give them the perfect alibi to confiscate private property. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina has been the first to confirm my prediction.Terrified that she would not be able to pay off about $10 billion of public debt fast approaching maturity, Fernandez de Kirchner nationalized her country's private pension funds.
On The Trail And Off Their Rockers
CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley has taken to running through a checklist before bed. Every night she travels with the Obama campaign, she orders a wake-up call, sets one regular alarm and one back-up on her cell phone, which she places strategically out of slapping distance across the room. Then she writes down her vitals: What city is she in? What time zone? What time does she have to be out of the hotel room the next morning? What day is it? With that, she can drift off before the next day’s campaign coverage.
Time was, a major upward swing in the market followed by a half-point cut by the Fed would send American investors on a buying spree. But that time has probably passed. Today Ben Bernanke and Co. are expected to make another interest-rate cut, but market futures were trending down nonetheless. Is that because they don’t expect it to do much? Because they’re withdrawing from yesterday’s frenzy? Or are they reacting to the renewed drop in home prices and abysmal consumer confidence?
October 28, 2008
On Sunday, U.S. helicopters accompanied by a special forces team struck in Sukkariyeh, Syria, just over the border from Iraq. It was a raid with enormous implications for the war in Iraq and the broader war on terror. The target of the raid was a man named Badran Turki Hishan al-Mazidih, better known in his circles as Abu Ghadiya. Since 2004, intelligence officials have been targeting Abu Ghadiya for his pernicious role in Iraq: helping fuel the Sunni insurgency by transporting foreign fighters, money, and weapons. Never before had Americans struck within Syria with such visible fingerprints.
Eli Lake has the scoop on last Sunday's attack in Syria. According to his reporting, the administration has escalated the war on terror in its closing days. Money quote: We have entered a new phase in the war on terror. In July, according to three administration sources, the Bush administration formally gave the military new power to strike terrorist safe havens outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Before then, a military strike in a country like Syria or Pakistan would have required President Bush's personal approval.
Happy Thought For The Day
Here's a White House memo with a headline and opening guaranteed to make your heart beat a little faster: Ensuring A Smooth And Effective Presidential Transition The Administration's Preparations for the Transition are Unprecedented in Scope and Depth Today, the Transition Coordinating Council (TCC) will meet for the second time, continuing the Administration's comprehensive transition efforts. ... Obviously, I would have preferred that John McCain not make the race to succeed George W.