Election Countdown: Four Weeks to Go

Well a lot has happened in this last week which, if it is any measure, means we are in for a roller coaster ride up to November 4th.  We saw the House fail to pass a bailout bill, the Senate pass one, a Vice Presidential debate viewed by record numbers of people, and finally a bailout bill passed and signed by Bush.  Phew!  Not only did I participate on a panel discussing the VP debate for our local CBS News, but I had the amazing opportunity to reflect on all of this again on Bruce Dumont’s Beyond the Beltway political debate radio show.  I am not sure where to begin except maybe with the Vice Presidential debate.  I think we saw the Sarah Palin we expected to see:  dynamic, energetic, geniuosly straight talking and visionary.  We saw a some what tamed, if not neutered, Joe Biden who worked incredibly hard to create a record for Barack Obama that clearly failed to match his own and paled in light of Palin’s.  The “misstatements” put forth by Biden just demonstrated how hard it must be for him to claim that Obama on his own his ready to lead our country.  From claiming Obama helped kick out Hezbelloh from Lebanon, that Obama warned the Treasury in a phantom letter, and Palin’s oil plan taxed the same windfall profits as Obama’s (which is clearly not true) all the way to going to Katie’s Restaurant, which hasn’t been in business for decades, Biden didn’t seem committed to the vision and leader he has been brought on to support.  Putting on my partisan hat, Biden seems more like Obama’s babysitter than a trusted advisor, put there to make sure Obama stays on track with the Democratic party.

And what about this bailout bill?  I think it is important to keep in mind how we got into this mess.  There is no coubt that the central engine driving this was Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac.  On one end, they drove banks to take greater risks on homeowners and then managed to hide these risks in packaged mortgage swaps that were traded to banks and investment banks.  With the assistance of credit rating agencies rating these packages with assurances of the government as the insurer, these tainted packages were injected into the system without the approriate flags.  No doubt, excited Wall Street bankers, hungry for the upside and and not willing to parse through these risks created a frenzy that Fannie Mae and Freddie were glad to fuel.  Predatory lenders and housing advocates took advantage of these rates and subprime mortgage opportunities to boost their own numbers as well.  However, have no doubt that the central gate keepers to all of this were our government sponsored entities that were protected and shielded by some very driven members of congress who refused to question the system.  There is no doubt that McCain led the fight to reform these entities and saw what was coming down the pipeline and unfortunately, disarmed by his unpopularity, Bush was unable to garner the support in Congress to correct the situation.  The Democratic feeding frenzy regarding these loans had far too much momentum.  That said, what is important to remember is that we are seeing a breakdown in our financial markets, which is having an effect on the economy.  This is not a result of economic policies such as spending, balancing budgets, promoting job growth or tax policy, all which fundamentally drive our economy.  So to say this is a result of Bush policies is patently false and nothing but political rhetoric.  At the heart of this is Democratic attempts to take over personal and private decisions and reengineer them to grow the economy.  There is nothing that Obama has said that would show that he is different from his colleagues.  A vote for Obama is a vote for four more years of Pelosi and Reid failures.

McCain is clear that his vision is to keep private decisions, like health care, investments, and education in the hands of those people who are best able to create, innovate and negotiate the best choices for themselves.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are perfect examples of how Democratic policies will get us into big messes and how their tax, spend, and penalize the innovator policies fail. 

It is clear that many challenges, not just the economy, confront the next administration.  There is no doubt that on the front burner, burning even hotter, is the fact that we are fighting two very complicated and important wars.  These are just two of the battles on the war on terror front.  So much more goes into their success such as intelligence, nation building, diplomacy, strategic alliances, weapons defense, and on the ground infrastructure.  Only McCain understands this and has the capabilities to manage this.  Every proposal offered by Obama has as its number one component the reduction of our defense committments.  This should be alarming.  He is not committed to steering the economy and fighting these two wars.  Make no mistake, he plans to end these wars, successfully or not and attempt to reengineer our economy.  It should bother voters that his chief economic advisors are Raines and Johnson, who each headed up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Penny Pritzker, whose own bank failed while she was at the helm as a result of too many subprime mortgages.  We cannot trust that Obama will see us through all these crises.  He will easily trade in our national security in order to secure his and the Democratic congress’ control of our economy.  We saw what happened with Fannie and Freddie.  With Obama, we know we will lose these wars and we can be pretty sure he will only further entrench our economy into a recession.  Let’s choose a leader who can bring us certain victories.

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