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September 25, 2008

John Scalzi on John McCain
Posted by Patrick at 12:09 PM * 75 comments

He’s the Sir Robin of the 2008 Presidential election.”

Comments on John Scalzi on John McCain:
#1 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 12:29 PM:

First!
From lovely Obama for President office in Minneapolis, doing data entry on another tab.

#2 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 12:35 PM:

After learning of McCain's actions, and watching the Palin interview, I could almost hear someone saying, "Look over here -- shiny, shiny!"

Anything to get that interview off the evening news, and stop the Vice-Presidential debate.

#3 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 12:40 PM:

Could the "suspending of the campaign" possibly connect to McCain's health, as discussed in the Melanoma thread? If McCain escapes the television cameras to go keep the House and Senate company in Washington, fewer people might notice that he looks awfully ill.

Then again, he could just be running away to the tune of his favorite minstrels.

#4 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 12:40 PM:

Well, apparently McCain is scared of Letterman being too tough on him, so he must be terrified of having to actually debate someone.

#5 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Once again (giving an interview to Couric when he told Letterman he was headed for DC), McCain behaves as though there is no such thing as objective, verifiable reality, and so you can freely lie about anything and take no risk of getting caught.

Unfortunately his followers appear to feel the same way, judging by how they continue to cheer every time Palin says "I told Congress no thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere..."

#6 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 12:56 PM:

As skeptical as I am about McCain's choices lately, and despite what I said above, I have to say that Hot Air quotes an interesting argument from CBS here.

The suggestion is that McCain did actually have to go back to Washington, because if he didn't, the Republicans would cut and run from the bailout plan. Their constituents hate the bailout, so the Republicans are terrified that they'll get voted out for supporting it -- but meanwhile, Paulson and Bush are telling them that they have to support the bailout or the economy will melt into a pool of smoking magma. Bush, as a lame duck with a stratospheric disapproval rating (oh, the mixed metaphors! Sorry!), can't help convince the GOP House to vote for the bailout, so McCain's the only nearly-powerful Republican leader in sight.

Even so, I have to agree with Obama that there are shiny planes that can take McCain from Washington to Mississippi long enough to attend a debate!

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 01:30 PM:

And then they ate Sir Robin. And there was much rejoicing.

#8 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Rymenhild @ #6 wrote: The suggestion is that McCain did actually have to go back to Washington, because if he didn't, the Republicans would cut and run from the bailout plan. Their constituents hate the bailout, so the Republicans are terrified that they'll get voted out for supporting it -- but meanwhile, Paulson and Bush are telling them that they have to support the bailout or the economy will melt into a pool of smoking magma. Bush, as a lame duck with a stratospheric disapproval rating (oh, the mixed metaphors! Sorry!), can't help convince the GOP House to vote for the bailout, so McCain's the only nearly-powerful Republican leader in sight.

I see two problems with this theory: 1) There are already reports out that Congress has reached a consensus, without needing McCain's intervention. 2) The only thing McCain knows about economics is that his advisers are going to be first against the wall when the revolution comes. I don't see why the GOP members should be more inclined to believe him than Paulson & Bernanke.

#9 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 01:49 PM:

The GOP rank and file in Congress need to hear that if they vote for a bailout, McCain will also vote for it, rather than voting against it and portraying himself as a hero who stood up to both parties in the name of fiscal responsibility.

#10 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:06 PM:

I'll say it again.

I preferred McCain's half assed undersenatoring to his half assed over-senatoring.

#11 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:20 PM:

The Democrats were telling Republicans (minus McCain) that no bill was going to pass without their side of the aisle voting for it too. The Republicans, though, were unwilling to vote for anything that McCain disliked, and he was saying he opposed Bush's Bailout Bill as Bernancke and Paulson proposed. That's why McCain decided last night that he would suspend his campaign and go to DC; he apparently felt that the Republicans were just going to sit and dither helplessly until he arrived to heroically save the day, and he could then tell the nation how he demonstrated leadership and negotiation skills while he rescued the nation.

Except, it appears neither side of the aisle was going to wait around, and worked out a compromise without McCain's heroics being required after all.

It must be really embarassing for the hero to risk everything to rescue the victims, only to find out that the victims have already rescued themselves.

#12 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Fred Clark on McCain's suspension of his campaign.

(Perhaps only funny to baseball fans.)

#13 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:31 PM:

I meant to put ROTFLMAO in that comment @1; I was flipping back and forth between a tab doing data entry, and a tab reading blogs. Every time I put a new person in the database, it hung up for 30 sec to a minute, so I was reading on the other tab, 30 seconds at a time. Impatient? naw, not me.

#14 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:51 PM:

Linkmeister -- thanks for the Slacktivist link. (I hadn't gone to it yet today.) Anyone who knows Fred knows he's a master of satire. While I think knowing baseball deepens the funny, I don't think it's essential to understanding it.

#15 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:52 PM:

#2 Claude: Also, nice smoke screen to bury the Army's announcement that a brigade combat team of the Third Infantry is now assigned to North Command - that means homeland - for rapid response to disasters and civil unrest. Combat troops on call to deploy inside the US at this president's order. Have a nice day.

#5 Lila: I forget which charity it is now, but Keith Olbermann put himself on the hook for a $100 donation every time she says that. Maybe she thinks repeating it is a mitzvah now? :-D

#16 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 02:54 PM:

A.J., as the people commenting after you have implied, I don't think it's about the actual text of the bill -- to which I'm sure McCain has nothing particularly useful to add, and about which he knows very little -- so much as it's about the political theater involved in the bailout vote. McCain's participation may legitimize Republican congressmen, however. Or, as John L suggested, maybe McCain is a day late and a trillion dollars short.

(Also, hi, A.J.! *waves*)

#17 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 03:27 PM:

Seth, #9: Oh, he'll blithely continue to say he's a maverick, even though his actions tell a different story.

My partner hypothesizes that perhaps McCain is having second thoughts about whether he wants to win this election, in view of the financial meltdown. Think about it:

1) Whoever wins in November is going to be the one stuck with the mess, and the one who ends up getting tarred with the blame for it. (Because that's how political perception works.)

2) Can you imagine anything more terrifying than the prospect of having to call up all his rich buddies -- the People Who Matter -- and say, "It's like this..."? Which is something that will have to be done, if we're to have any hope of emerging from this as a country rather than a Chinese possession.* And this will inevitably be perceived, by those People Who Matter, as "he won't stay bought."

* Anybody else notice this yet? China's bank regulators have just ordered their banks to halt lending to American financial institutions. Do you know how long China's been one of the things propping up the house of cards? Now the prop's gone. This is going to get Interesting.

#18 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 03:37 PM:

PurpleGirl, maybe funny's the wrong word. If you're a Mets fan yesterday's events were devastating (as a Dodgers fan, I can sympathize somewhat). Fred's from Philly, so his team is benefitting from the Mets' failures.

Fred is definitely a master.

#19 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 03:38 PM:

What Congress was hearing was that the majority of Americans want the bailout as initially proposed about as much as they want a hole in the head. Even Republicans would like to get re-elected.

It's worth noting that the only cheerleaders for the Paulson-Bernanke 'Give us the keys to the house' plan were people like Mitch McConnell. Even doofuses like Jim Bunning were up in arms.

#20 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 04:01 PM:

Mark @ 15

Perhaps a little OT, but your comment motivated me to look up an article in the Army Times on the new assignment. Three key points bother me especially:

1) This is not just a dwell-time assignment for a unit due re-deploy to Central Asia in 2010; it establishes a permanent mission and command structure. When the 3rd/1st BCT goes back into the field, another brigade will take their place in this job.

2) While the brigade will remain at its normal home base at Fort Stewart, command is in Colorado Springs; at a guess that will be permanent. CS is a bastion of the Religious Right, and they've been known to infiltrate command and support in both the Army and the Air Force Academy nearby. I'm not happy with the thought of a strong evangelical group in the command structure of a unit dedicated to civil defense and anti-riot activities.

3) Regarding the anti-riot part of the mission: they're getting the first delivery of "non-lethal" weapons in the Army for immediate training and deployment as needed. This is not the sort of equipment you need to deal with terrorist attacks or natural disasters; this is specifically for use in quelling demonstrations, riots, and other "disturbance" or dissent.

Putting 2 and 3 together gives me an uneasy feeling.

#21 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 05:09 PM:

Are they just ignoring the Posse Comitatus Act?

#22 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 05:16 PM:

Something else to think about: whatever else this unit does, if the Army is getting new weapons, somebody has to test them and figure out a doctrine.

Expect some interesting training accidents.

And when they go back to Iraq, expect to see these less-lethal weaopons deployed there.

No, it doesn't look good, but there are things about it which might make it look different to a certain sort of military mind.

#23 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 05:28 PM:

This is the one scene that can send my husband into hysterical fits of laughter no matter how many times we've seen Grail. And, then he sings this song for the next five days...

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 05:37 PM:

Chryss @ 23...

Bravely bold Sir Robin
Rode forth from Camelot.
He was not afraid to die,
Oh brave Sir Robin.
He was not at all afraid
To be killed in nasty ways.
Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin.

He was not in the least bit scared
To be mashed into a pulp.
Or to have his eyes gouged out,
And his elbows broken.
To have his kneecaps split
And his body burned away,
And his limbs all hacked and mangled
Brave Sir Robin.

His head smashed in
And his heart cut out
And his liver removed
And his bowls unplugged
And his nostrils raped
And his bottom burnt off
And his pen--

"That's... that's enough music for now lads,
*** there's dirty work afoot*** ???."

Brave Sir Robin ran away.
("No!")
Bravely ran away away.
("I didn't!")
When danger reared it's ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
("no!")
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
("I didn't!")
And gallantly he chickened out.

****Bravely**** taking ("I never did!") to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
("all lies!")
Bravest of the braaaave, Sir Robin!
("I never!")

#25 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 06:13 PM:

Lee #17:

Wow. "Ground control, along with my two engines on fire, it appears that an enraged grizzly bear is rampaging through the airplane, and my copilot has just collapsed and started gushing blood out the eyes. Other than that, we're doing fine. Over."

#26 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 07:31 PM:

My current commute-and-lunch book is Charlatan by Pope Brock, about the guy who popularized goat gland transplants--for, y'know, virility--back in the 1920s. This bit leapt out at me:

Dr. Fishbein believed that mavericks like Debs--trailblazers, people who think for themselves--were often unusually susceptible to quackery because they tended to carry their independent thinking outside their areas of expertise. ("The freethinker in politics is likely to fall for freethinking science just as he falls for political panaceas.")

I'm not convinced that McCain has many areas of expertise. I suspect Palin has never had any expertise in anything at all.

#27 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 07:51 PM:

Scraps #21: Are they just ignoring the Posse Comitatus Act?

Yes, in the signing statement to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.

#28 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 08:18 PM:

Linkmeister, #12 and 18: Fred's actually a Mets fan; he's alluded to it before a number of times. (I think he grew up in Jersey.) I think the world of Slacktivist, and if I didn't already know he's a Mets fan like me, he'd have my last nerve jangling from that one...

Lee, #17: A commenter here links to this Chinese denial of your citation. I don't think China can afford this maneuver quite yet, so I'm inclined to accept the denial for now.

Wesley, #26: Dr. Fishbein, eh? Did the Fishbein goat glands come with the Fishbein curse? (Yes, the article says Klopman, but I learned the joke as the Fishbein diamond -- from Klopman I know nothing!)

#29 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 08:43 PM:

Chris Quinones @ #28, Ah. I just assigned Fred's team loyalty by geographical location. I oughtta know better, since I'm a Dodgers fan living in Hawai'i. Well, there's no one quite so capable of bitterness as a frustrated fan; that post is an exemplar.

#30 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 09:02 PM:

Earl, I don't see anything in the signing statement that relates to the deployment of troops on US soil, nor in the sections of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 that the signing statement refers to (841, 846, 1079, 1222).

#31 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 09:08 PM:

On a tangent to McCain's running mate: I just saw what could be the Geek Comment of the Year, regarding Sarah Palin's interview by Katie Couric:

"Someone, please, ask her how she would deal with a gazebo."

(Pandagon.)

#32 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 09:38 PM:

She would shoot it, of course. And field dress it and eat it. She's not afraid of wildlife! (Why last week, she killed a credenza, and they're just finishing up the leftovers now.)

That interview was fkng painful. What with the economy melting down and the world situation looking grim, I'm not sure how the good old girl from back home is going to play. If she's been ready, sharp, and verbally quick, she'd be a massive asset to McCain right now--able to step in for him when, it appears, he's having a hard time keeping up. But that wasn't the choice he made, was it? (Or did they think they were getting something different than they got?)

Alternatively, a Lieberman or a Ridge or a Romney could probably be holding their own, looking like serious guys who know what they're doing and have some business behind the wheel, able to reassure America that even if McCain stumbled a bit or had some health problems, the country would still be in good hands. They'd plausibly seem like the kind of folks who might be able to lead us out of this mess.

IMO, the economic meltdown kills McCain's presidential hopes, modulo some kind of 11th hour bimbo eruption or other massive screwup. There's simply no way for him to remake himself as a pro-regulations guy, nor to distance himself sufficiently from the party he's been courting so heavily the last couple months to have a chance. The Palin choice is not compatible with a dangerous, scary world, and everyone who watches any news at all has had the whole last couple weeks to recognize we're in a scary world.

#33 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 09:39 PM:

Chris Quinones, #28: Did the Fishbein goat glands come with the Fishbein curse?

Actually, Dr. Fishbein was a quack-busting AMA man. The gland guy was one John R. Brinkley.

#34 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 09:42 PM:

Scraps: After Katrina Posse Comitatus/The Insurection Law was pretty much suspended. The law was narrowed, and moderately re-established in 2008, but Bush's signing statement invoked the mystical powers of the Unitary Executive™ and he claimed the right.

Given various things done in 2004, they were already acting as if they had the right.

It's all very disturbing.

#35 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 10:00 PM:

Chris, #28: Thanks for that pointer; the direct link seems to be fubar, but the one from the comment worked okay. That's some relief, at least in the short term...

#36 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 10:40 PM:

Wow. Um. Why am I listening to this horrible interview? "They are right next to... to our state!" Yup. Y'know, the Pentagon is closer to me than Russia is to Alaska. I can see it from my roof! That makes me qualified to be commander in chief, right? (Well, I'm not old enough yet, but expect my candidacy in 2012.)

(You'd think at this point they'd already have spun it as, "isn't it awful how the media has taken this one little out of context quote and is using it to pick on the poor gal? For shame, America!" I'm really surprised they let it get this far.)

My actual point, before I got distracted by the whole Couric/Palin thing: on the radio today I noticed that McCain is suggesting they postpone this Friday's debate, and hold it instead of the vice-presidential debate that's coming up. Which made me go, oh, duh, that explains EVERYthing.

#37 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 10:48 PM:

Wesley, #33: So the glands did come with the Fishbein curse! They just didn't belong to Fishbein....

#38 ::: pedantic peasant ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2008, 11:21 PM:

So, when we get to the part where we eat Sir Robin's minstrel (and there was much rejoicing), does that mean the digestion of FOX news?

#39 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Rymenhild @ #16:

Hi!

All I can say is that I guess we can see where McCain's help got us. The whole deal threatening to come unravelled, because the House Republicans can't distinguish between ideology and reality, and McCain hasn't said a damn thing.

#40 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 12:36 AM:

Scraps @ 21

I'm not sure Posse Comitatus affects them as long as they're only training, and when the real thing happens, there's always a declaration of martial law.

Dave Bell @ 22

They've already started training. One of their officers was bragging in the Army Times article about how he was the first one to get tased.

#41 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 01:22 AM:

A. J. @ 39

I got the impression from the NPR report I heard in the car on the way home today that they thought McCain had been at least one of wheels that came off. In fact, one commentator wondered aloud if McCain had deliberately torpedoed the deal because they put it together too easily without him, so he didn't get a chance to be like, all heroic and save the day, after making a big deal about going back to DC to save the economy.

#42 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Hate to be a thread hog, but I just glanced at Firedoglake's story on the meltdown of the Congressional plan to fix the financial meltdown. It seems the conservative Republicans have turned on their own incumbent and would-be incumbent President and killed not only the deal, but the negotiations as well. They have an alternate plan that involves more de-regulation, more tax breaks for rich financial dudes, and probably the sacrifice of 100 virgins a day to the Invisible Hand. And they will hold their breaths until they get what they want.*

* A consummation devoutly to be wished.

#43 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 02:23 AM:

Also worth looking at from the FDL story is this poll from USA Today: 78% of Americans want a bailout.

The optics look good for Congressional Democrats to simply ram their plan* through Congress and dare the McCain, his Republicans to refuse to back it.

*Emphasizing, of course, the strict limits on CEO compensation and help for mortgagers it includes.

#44 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 02:47 AM:

Sarah Palin must face the gazebo ALONE! (It had to be said)

#45 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 09:04 AM:

heresiarch #43:

I don't think so. This bailout will come back to haunt the people who vote for it, in at least two ways:

a. The bailout may have panic approval right now, along the "for God's sake do something" model. But in a year or two, a whole lot of people are going to be talking about the trillion dollars of welfare for investment banks and high rollers on Wall Street. Once the crisis is averted, that panic approval will also go away, and the naked fact of a big handout to very rich people who donate a lot of money to political campaigns and spend a lot on lobbyists will be hammered on again and again.

b. If the bailout turns out badly (doesn't stave off financial collapse, triggers a massive scandal or three, ends up being used for political manipulation in the financial markets), those who voted for it are going to be hurting.

I suspect that many congressmen from both parties are very worried about this, even if they're from safe districts. "My opponent voted last year to give a trillion dollars to the fat cats on Wall Street" is the sort of thing you can imagine a challenger from within your party saying, and you can imagine it working.

If you believe the bailout is necessary, then the congressmen and presidential candidates are all in a prisoner's dilemma situation: Each congressman would benefit the most if he bravely took a stand against the bailout, while it still passed. But if it doesn't pass, then maybe he's worse off--if only because, given the warnings given by the administration and Bernake, no bailout + major recession will absolutely be blamed on congress, if it fails to approve the bailout. Since congress is controlled by Democrats right now, Democrats probably fear that more than Republicans.

The presidential candidates are in a different situation. If the bailout is supposed to stabilize the financial markets by returning confidence, either candidate coming out in opposition to it undermines that effect. If we have McCain voting against it, then the markets have to conclude that there's a reasonably good chance that the bailout will be opposed and repudiated to the extent possible by the next president. Similarly for Obama, and he's more likely to become president than McCain, IMO.

Oddly, the president is one of the only major players not subject to bad incentives here. He cannot lose any future elections, because he won't have any. He probably cares about his legacy, which he must be hoping will be viewed more kindly by historians in a decade or two than it is today, but that's a different kind of incentive.

#46 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 09:23 AM:

McCain--not a team player
McCain--does not play well with others
McCain--interfering grandstander who torpedoes bipartisan negotiations and craters the economy.

#47 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 09:24 AM:

I think the Republican alternate plan is a Trojan Horse designed to give McCain a target to demonstrate his leadership and initiative skills. If the alternate plan is what was mentioned some days ago, it wouldn't have any effect at all on getting banks to start lending again. The Republicans know the Democrats will never vote for it, so it's a deal breaker right from the start. It's a roadblock, not a valid proposal.

McCain, by coming to DC, could then browbeat the disgruntled Republicans back into line, pass the original bipartisan bill, and look all heroic in the process. He could then point all this out as an example of his leadership abilities, get a pass for avoiding the debate with Obama, and ride off to the White House on his horse.

#48 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 09:36 AM:

#38 ::: pedantic peasant

...does that mean the digestion of FOX news?

Silly pedantic peasant. Fox news comes predigested. You can tell by the look and smell.

#49 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 09:42 AM:

I hope the public has the wisdom to clean House, especially in the wake of these political posturings--the stealth alternate plan and McCain's grandstanding are pure unadulterated arrogance, bad faith, and Star Chamber tactics and strategy. Scheming bullies in the sandbox, with Agendas. They all deserve ejecting, sans parachute.

#50 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 10:24 AM:

Chris Quinones #28, in my family's version, the cursed diamond was Krupnik.

I heard somewhere that "K" sounds are inherently comical to English speakers. Maybe that's it?

#51 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 10:29 AM:

Is it time to update the lyrics to Tom Paxton's I'm Changing My Name To Chrysler?

#52 ::: G D Townshende ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 12:00 PM:

That brought back memories of my recent visit (Sep 7-11) to NYC. Saw Spamalot while I was there. Hilarious stuff!

#53 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 12:15 PM:

NY Times says the debate is on.

#54 ::: Janet Lafler ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 12:29 PM:

I may watch the debate in hopes that McCain will have a Captain Queeg moment. Somebody hand that man a couple of ball bearings.

#55 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 01:06 PM:

#42: It seems the conservative Republicans have turned on their own incumbent and would-be incumbent President and killed not only the deal, but the negotiations as well.

Another gaming legend: The Head of Vecna.

#56 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 05:26 PM:

albatross #45 - you forgot option c, where the bailout works and no more banks fail and everyone decides we probably didn't need a bailout anyway. I don't think anybody at all wins in that one.

#57 ::: Arachne ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 06:10 PM:

Maybe I'm pre-emptively worrying, but I keep wondering if there's anything an individual can do to keep from falling when, ah, the economic crisis hits.

I never get tired of hitting the play button on this clip....

#58 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 06:25 PM:

Turns out McCain was just against the debate before he was for it - it's on after all. (Despite the fact that there's still no deal hammered out, due in significant part to the heroic sabotage efforts of one John McCain.)

So he says he won't debate unless a bill is agreed on (because Something Must Be Done, no time to think it over), then *shoots down* the compromise that Congress was ready to agree on, then goes back on his word to go to the debate anyway. That, my friends, is maverickiness we can believe in.

I'm about ready to say that this Congress shouldn't address this issue at all - it's getting wrapped up in the election to the point that it raises the suspicion Bush's minions only brought it up at all in order to influence the election. (The results would be kind of a critical failure if that was what they had in mind, but that's hardly surprising coming from Bush.) Or, at most, they should pass banking reform (reinstate pretty much every regulation repealed in the last 30 years, stronger authority for bankruptcy judges to reform mortgages into something the debtor can pay when that's possible, etc.) and a *small* stopgap bailout and let the next administration and Congress tackle the problem unencumbered by the distractions of John McCain.

#59 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2008, 10:36 PM:

McCain in tonight's debate, just acknowledged that the US has tortured prisoners. This feels sorta newsy to me. Might not be.

#60 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2008, 12:35 AM:

BushCo, I think, want the disaster to wait until after the election... so it can be blamed on the next pres (a la Bush pere, or Marty van Buren, inheiriting the sins of his predecessor).

McCain and Obama are happier (if the crash is fore-ordained) for it to start before the election so they can point to Bush.

I know Republicans who want Obama to win, the country to go into a depression and the war lost, so the the Democrats can't get elected again... so they hope, ever.

And they have the gall to say liberals hate America.

#61 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2008, 01:28 AM:

Arachne @57:
I just moved my checking and savings to the CMU credit union; since the ownership and the shares of a credit union are divided among the members and not shopped around the way the investment banks have been doing (and the commercial banks which sell their loans to them), it will survive anything short of a majority of its shareholders going bust.

Then again, maybe I'm just paranoid.

#62 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2008, 06:17 AM:

albatross @ 45: "But in a year or two, a whole lot of people are going to be talking about the trillion dollars of welfare for investment banks and high rollers on Wall Street. Once the crisis is averted, that panic approval will also go away, and the naked fact of a big handout to very rich people who donate a lot of money to political campaigns and spend a lot on lobbyists will be hammered on again and again."

By "people," you mean "Republicans." To which I say: if Republicans want to bring up this Republican-led and Republican-supported deregulation fiasco in 2010 and 2012, then yay! I could talk about it all day long. As long as the plan that is passed is absolutely brutal on the bankers themselves and generous to the mortgage holders, then this bill need not be an albatross (sorry) around the Dems' necks; it can be a bragging point: "I passed the bill that steered America clear of the Second Great Depression." I think Democrats can pass a plan that will survive the test of time. Not, of course, if they give in to the Republicans' demands.

"If the bailout turns out badly (doesn't stave off financial collapse, triggers a massive scandal or three, ends up being used for political manipulation in the financial markets), those who voted for it are going to be hurting."

If the bill fails to stave off financial collapse, they won't be hurting as much as the ones who did nothing. A well-designed bill with ample oversight and accountability ought to avoid scandal and manipulation--that's why that stuff is so important.

I still think the Dems would benefit from passing an uncompromisingly progressive bill.

#63 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2008, 10:31 AM:

It cracks me up that Obama identifies the problem as deregulation, and McCain identifies it as greed. Deregulation is fixable. Greed, being part of human nature, is unfixable. So McCain easily absolves himself of any responsibility for keeping the same damn thing from happening every 20 years or so. Thank you, John Sidney "Keating Five" McCain.

#64 ::: Arachne ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2008, 02:42 PM:

geekosaur @61:

Ah, okay, I feel better now. My deposits go to a credit unit (where most of the tech people in Washington stash their cash away---Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are the ones I know of; we actually get discounts & stuff).

My mortgage is with some little mortgage company in Florida who has not been able to sell it somewhere else. Which is a shame, because it's a 30-year fixed, not one of those f*cking crazy mortgage combos.... Though I'm afraid I'm among the only profitable mortgages they have so it may not be sold soon.

Then again, I'm not sure it being sold to WaMu is in any way a good idea.

Plus, their inability to sell mortgages has meant they've set up a customer service that actually gives me sensible answers that I can look up on a government website and verify, so I suppose that's a good thing.

#65 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 03:50 PM:

heresiarch: As long as the plan that is passed is ... generous to the mortgage holders

I see no indication of this; IIRC, one of the first amendments shot down was allowing judges to alter the terms of mortgages. Everybody is talking about the need for immediate liquidity, but it's not clear to me that there won't be a continuing crunch if the problem isn't attacked from the bottom up; has everybody concluded that subprime-package bonds are worthless, and if not what will happen when they do?

#66 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 04:04 PM:

I agree with CHip; this bailout bill addresses symptoms of this crisis, not the underlying cause. The news reports keep the core of Paulson's plan intact; $700 billion available at his discretion, although with oversight (differing reports on who's on that board), no golden parachutes, insurance offered by government for bad assets (insurance for bad insurance on bad mortgages), Paulson can buy up all kinds of bad loans (mortgage, credit card, car, student, small business, small bank, municipal, etc), with no provisions for helping those unable to pay the loans off in the first place.

This may be the best we could hope for from Congress, but it's not a solution and may just push the problem into next year.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 05:00 PM:

John L @ 66.. no golden parachutes

Drat. It'd be nice to see them be given literal-gold parachutes.

#68 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 07:38 PM:

Pushing the problem into next year is fine for these guys. If Obama wins, then they're out from under; if McCain wins, we'll get another short-term fix involving lots of taxpayer money. Short-term thinking is all they do.

#69 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 08:30 PM:

I saw a weird bumper sticker tonight when we went out for dinner:

If you don't feel free to stand behind the troops,

Feel free to stand in front of them.

"So what?" you may ask.
With the Canadian maple leaf as part of the bumper sticker?

#70 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 08:59 PM:

For those interested: Link to the text and summary of the bailout bill as it will go to the House on Monday.

#71 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2008, 10:43 PM:

#70: WTF? P 75, section 423.122: "Five hundred souls per annum to be gathered for sacrifice to our Lord Thot-M'Nor, Keeper of Mysteries"

#72 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2008, 12:11 AM:

Section 108. Conflicts of Interest.
The Secretary is required to issue regulations or guidelines to manage or prohibit conflicts of interest in the administration of the program.

"The unfettered gift of billions of dollars to all of my executive cronies is hereby declared not to be a conflict of interest." Win-win!!!1!!!

#73 ::: Pendrift sees bargain spam ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2009, 04:58 PM:

Three for the price of one!

#75 ::: Henry Troup sees Spanish spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 12, 2012, 12:05 AM:

Odd

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