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« December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

January 31, 2008

Priceless: Bill Clinton Says We Have to Slow Down Our Economy

During a period in which everyone is worried about a recession, what does Bill Clinton suggest we do? Why slow down the economy, of course! He's pandering to the environmentalists, but it's a good reminder about what the ultimate goal of the left-wing environmentalists really is - killing our economy. That's the only way they're going to seriously cut pollution. And even then it's not terribly clear if it'll work. From ABC News' political blog, The Punch: Bill: "We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy" to Fight Global Warming

Former President Bill Clinton was in Denver, Colorado, stumping for his wife yesterday.

In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren."

At a time that the nation is worried about a recession is that really the characterization his wife would want him making? "Slow down our economy"?

Wonderful. Keep on campaigning, Bill...

January 30, 2008

GDP Slows; Feds Cut Key Interest Rate Again

The Bureau of Economic Analysis has released its advance numbers for GDP during the last quarter of 2007. They show that the economy slowed down considerably during the 4th Quarter to an annualized rate of 0.6%. Advance numbers are by nature preliminary, and are usually adjusted upwards after more economic data is received. But it still represents a significant slowdown, making the need for an economic stimulus package more acute.

Coincidentally, the Fed lowered interest rates another half a point today, to 3.0%. From the Fed's statement on the cut:

The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to lower its target for the federal funds rate 50 basis points to 3%.

Financial markets remain under considerable stress, and credit has tightened further for some businesses and households. Moreover, recent information indicates a deepening of the housing contraction as well as some softening in labor markets.

The Committee expects inflation to moderate in coming quarters, but it will be necessary to continue to monitor inflation developments carefully.

Todays policy action, combined with those taken earlier, should help to promote moderate growth over time and to mitigate the risks to economic activity. However, downside risks to growth remain. The Committee will continue to assess the effects of financial and other developments on economic prospects and will act in a timely manner as needed to address those risks.

To translate, the risk of recession is outweighing the risk of inflation, and the Fed is open to more rate cuts if the economy doesn't respond. Bernanke and Company are doing their part to prevent us from falling into a recession, using an aggressive pre-emptive and very public risk management strategy, as opposed to the Fed under Greenspan which tended not to anticipate but to react, keeping any thoughts outside of the minutes of the Fed meetings secret. I like the new approach, and so does the market.

In addition to recent moves by the Fed, the President has done his part to forestall a recession by offering up an economic stimulus plan. Now it's up to the Democratic Congress not to screw things up. We're waiting...

Crist Trades Endorsement for Vice-President Spot?

There's a very interesting item by John Fund in today's Political Diary from the Wall Street Journal (sub req) on what happened to Florida Governor Crist's promised endorsement of Rudy Giuliani. After telling Giuliani that he would endorse him on November 18th, he didn't - and it looks as if he gave it to John McCain in a blatant play to be his Vice-Presidential pick.

Mr. Giuliani, who will end his campaign today with an endorsement of Mr. McCain, has some reason to be bitter about his bad luck in Florida. Back in the fall he was more or less told by Florida's popular governor Charlie Crist that he would be receiving his endorsement around November 18. Shortly before that date, the endorsement was put on hold, though until late last week Mr. Giuliani was assured that the governor would remain neutral.

When Governor Crist finally endorsed Mr. McCain on Saturday night, the Giuliani campaign was given just three minutes notice that their opportunity to score a major breakthrough in the state had vanished. And the Crist endorsement did matter. Mr. McCain trailed in Florida right up until the governor made his plans known. Exit polls showed that a stunning 42% of Republicans rated Gov. Crist's endorsement as an important factor in their vote.

Look for Mr. Crist to continue to position himself as a vice presidential candidate. He could provide Mr. McCain with the sizable political benefit of nailing down a state that has played a key role in all recent close presidential elections. The Arizona Senator could then concentrate on battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota, where Democrats have prevailed by narrow margins in the past.

The way that this was done leads me to believe that the Senator had an active roll in all of this, and was not the surprised recipient of Crist's beneficence that he appeared to be. McCain, and the games he plays, are becoming more and more distasteful to me. It's looking as if he's not that much different from Bill and Hillary Clinton after all.

McCain Now the Frontrunner in Two-Man GOP Race

Like it or not conservatives, but John McCain's 5 point victory over Mitt Romney in Florida makes him the GOP front-runner going into Super-Duper Tuesday. Rudy Giuliani's strategy backfired badly, and had him coming in at a weak third, followed closely behind by Mike Huckabee.

Giuliani, out of money, will drop out of the race and endorse McCain later today. Huckabee's going to stay in the race for as long as he can, but he's out of money as well, and his campaign now seems designed to get him a seat on McCain's ticket as his Vice-President nominee. Ron Paul - well, I don't know what Ron Paul is going to do. Every time I think he's going to drop out, he surprises me and raises another million bucks. He's not a viable Vice-Presidential option, so he'll probably position himself to get a few of his pet issues into the GOP convention platform. Seeing as he won't have any delegates to trade, that possibility is slim as well.

So it's now a two-man race between the conservative Mitt Romney and the pseudo-conservative John McCain. To be more precise, Mitt's a bit "pseudo" as well, with much of Romney's conservatism (especially on social issues, where McCain is strong) developing over the past few years. That leaves, for conservatives, a GOP race where we choose the lesser of two evils.

Romney has the money to fight all the way to the convention. McCain didn't yesterday morning, but last night's victory should refill his coffers pretty quick. Polls had the two of them tied in Florida as late as yesterday morning. McCain, contrary to his sainted media image, played dirty the last few days. He blatantly lied about Romney on Meet the Press last Sunday and ran a despicable push poll against Mitt yesterday - until he was forced to stop it late in the day. Unfortunately, those tactics seem to have pushed him over the top, so McCain, who complained so bitterly that the Bush campaign was lying and conducting push polls against him in 2000, will continue to do the same thing this year to Romney.

The first debate of the new two-candidate GOP primary race is this evening in at the Ronald Reagan Ranch in California. Should be interesting...

January 29, 2008

Who's Going to Win Florida Tonight?

Readers will notice that after the Iowa poll debacle (for the GOP) and the New Hampshire poll debacle (for the Dems), I've been reporting on issues, polls, and a few gaffes but not making primary predictions. That's because I feel that if the pollsters are getting it wrong, and the six-figure political advisers and pundits get it wrong, how will little ol' me get it right?

So as to the question of who's going to win tonight in the Republican primary - who the hell knows! And I'm more certain of that now as I ever have been...

Editorial: Hillary Lied to Us!

This just in via National Journal's Hotline Blog, the New Hampshire Union Leader (formally the Manchester Union Leader) has a scathing editorial up (Hillary's word: It's worth nothing) about Hillary's backtracking on her pledge not to campaign in Florida, and her new attempt to get the delegates awarded to her in the Democratic primaries in Michigan and Florida. This is all related to the penalties assessed by the DNC last August on the two states for moving up their primaries. It was agreed to by all Democratic candidates that they would neither campaign in nor accept delegates elected from those states. Now that Hillary is in a close race, she is both campaigning in Florida and fighting to get their delegates into the convention. Just another example of the Democrats (in this case Bill and Hillary) changing the rules when it benefits them.

Hillary's using, as an excuse, that since some of Obama's ads that were contracted via national buys show up on Florida TVs (for example, those running on an outlet like CNN prime-time all over the country), that he broke the ban first, and that she is just responding. Priceless. As is this editorial:

COURTING VOTERS in Iowa and New Hampshire, last August Sen. Hillary Clinton signed a pledge not to "campaign or participate" in the Michigan or Florida Democratic primaries. She participated in both primaries and is campaigning in Florida. Which proves, again, that Hillary Clinton is a liar.

Clinton kept her name on the Michigan ballot when others removed theirs, she campaigned this past weekend in Florida, and she is pushing to seat Michigan and Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention. The party stripped those states of delegates as punishment for moving up their primary dates.

"I will try to persuade my delegates to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida," Clinton said last week, after the New Hampshire primaries and Iowa caucuses were safely over.

Clinton coldly and knowingly lied to New Hampshire and Iowa. Her promise was not a vague statement. It was a signed pledge with a clear and unequivocal meaning.

She signed it thinking that keeping the other candidates out of Michigan and Florida was to her advantage, but knowing she would break it if that proved beneficial later on. It did, and she did.

New Hampshire voters, you were played for suckers.

Rush: "The Robert Byrds Have Come Home to Roost for the Democrats"

Just heard on Rush Limbaugh's show 1/29/08:

"The Robert Byrds Have Just Come Home to Roost for the Democrats"

That's the best quote I've heard or read so far summing up the mess that that the Dems have gotten themselves into over race. Heh...

N.O.W. Claims Hillary is Being "Gang Raped"

And people wonder why the feminist movement, and the National Organization of Women in particular, is not taken seriously anymore. While reading the New York Chapter of N.O.W.'s critique of Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama (Senator Kennedy Betrays Women by Not Standing For Hillary Clinton for President), which is humorous enough, I found a link to their last press release that came after Hillary's famous crying episode, Psychological Gang Bang of Hillary is Proof We Need a Woman President.

We've all witnessed scenarios where, on the playground little girls are being taunted by little boys while both girls and boys stand idle, afraid to speak up or even cheering.  Or, in the workplace males tease young and older female co-workers; make obscene gestures, inappropriate comments, laughing and expecting (often correctly) that everyone will join in. Then there was that movie where Jodie Foster portrayed the true story of woman who was ganged raped in a bar while others looked on and encouraged the realization.  Still others pretended the rape didn't happen. In short, gang raping of women is commonplace in our culture both physically and metaphorically. 

This past week, we witnessed just such a phenomenon involving men who are afraid of a powerful woman. Hillary Clinton, in her quest for her Presidential nomination, has in fact endured infantile taunting and wildly inappropriate commentary.  Indeed we have witnessed almost comical attacks by John Edwards who in turn sided with Barak Obama as both snickered at Clinton's "breakdown," which consisted of a very short dewy-eyed moment. Now John Kerry, who should certainly know better after his own "swiftboating," has joined the playground gang.

But here's the news. Every woman knows how it feels! There are those who will dismiss, defend or even shame those around them into believing that we progressives are making a mountain out of a mole hill.  But that’s the game plan of the patriarchal system that has persisted for millennia. Because they can't frighten Hillary they've decided to control her with the time-old trick of patriarchal ridicule. Women, you know what I mean!

Just keep talking, ladies. And call me after you apologize to victims of real, not imagined or fantasized, rape.

Oh, and you also misspelled "Barack Obama's name.

New York Times Hiding Kennedy-Obama?

Earlier, I got my morning e-mail of the New York Times headlines, and was expecting to see highlighted the Kennedy family endorsement of Barack Obama, arguably the biggest news yesterday, and certainly the biggest news for the premier newspaper of the Left. Much more so that Bush's SOTU speech. But it's nowhere to be found! You have to go down to the very bottom of the page to find a single, buried op-ed that mentions the Kennedys' endorsement written by, of all people, the NYT's house 'conservative', David Brooks. Check out the headline page, which is the on-line duplicate of the e-mail that goes out every morning, here.

Same thing for today's website homepage, although the print edition does, at least, have a picture of Kennedy with Obama yesterday - but not a story.

Now I have to give the Times credit for putting the story on the front page of yesterday's paper, pre-endorsement, but the real news that Kennedy made yesterday was in his sharp attacks on the Clintons and their mode of campaigning. It was bad enough that the Kennedys' decided to endorse Obama, but the real story was how much they tore apart Bill and Hillary yesterday without mentioning them by name. I watched a good bit of yesterday's theater, and even I have to admit that it was one of the best Democratic speeches I've seen in years, and deserved much better coverage than the NYT gave it. But then again, the New York Times' news and opinion pages have always been in the bag for the Clintons, haven't they?

At least the Washington Post thought the endorsement speech newsworthy enough to put a major article about it on the front page in their edition today...

"Moral" McCain Lying About Romney

On the eve of today's Florida Primary, Senator John McCain ran a barrage of ads that lied about Mitt Romney. This is on top of his recent statements, also false, that Romney supported a hard timetable out of Iraq last spring.

That's a lot of lying for someone who claims that he owns the moral high ground. And it was done at a time, and in a way, that made it impossible for the Romney campaign to refute before the polls opened this morning.

Here's a summary of McCain's misleading ads from FactCheck.org:

  • A Web ad says Romney's health care program in Massachusetts is "not very good" and "is failing." But official figures indicate that roughly 200,000 previously uninsured residents have gained health coverage, and those persons might disagree.
  • The ad says the Romney plan is costing $400 million more than expected. That's because more people are benefiting than were expected.
  • A radio ad running in Florida accuses Romney of proposing $20 billion to Detroit "to bail out the auto industry." Romney actually proposed a $16 billion increase in federal research into "energy research, fuel technology, materials science, and automotive technology."

And here's a good summary, courtesy of the Washington Post, of how McCain attempted to distort statements made last spring by Romney about the troop surge and McCain's statement that the Governor wanted a date certain for withdrawal from Iraq:

Talking vaguely about "timetables and milestones" is not the same thing as setting "a date for withdrawal," from Iraq, as Senator McCain has tried to argue. And while Romney has talked about secret understandings with the Iraqi government, that is very different from promises by Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates to remove most U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2009.

When it comes right down to it, John McCain lies just like every other politician...

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