MI Morning Update 9-27-2008

38 Days Until Election Day

September 27, 2008


PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE…It’s in the books and we got an even clearer picture of what an Obama presidency will mean for America…higher taxes in the mist of an economic crisis…billions in new spending we cannot afford…withdrawal without victory…willingness to sit down with theleaders of terrorist regimes.

Senator McCain shown that he is a leader with the wisdom and experience to lead America. Even Barack Obama acknowledged that John McCain was right at least five times, while steadfastly defending his own record of poor judgement taxes, spending, and the surge.

As eloquent an orator as Senator Obama is, he still couldn’t sell the American people on spending billions we don’t have…on raising taxes on job providers…on meeting with rouge leaders.

Watch the new web video from the McCain Campaign based on last night’s debate, "McCain Is Right" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec3C8ZJZTc

NEWT FIRES BACK ON PALIN…like only Newt can say it, Newt Gingrich succinctly described why Governor Sarah Palin is MORE qualified than Senator Barack Obama to run for President, let alone Vice President of the United States! Awesome!!!

LAST DAY… WISCONSIN CHALLENGE…we have been informed: In honor of the U of M  Wolverines vs. U of W Badgers Football Game this weekend a one day, head to head challenge has been issued for this Saturday. This is a head to head competition based on total % of goal for both doors and phones (which is the more even competition) and of course we will be looking at the total volume of contacts as well. In full disclosure some of the MSU fans in Michigan have offered to take bubble sheets from Wisconsin to help. Michigan you need to pull together on this.

ALL HANDS ON DECK…we need to fill our Victory Centers and crank up our calls. Michigan (UM & MSU…CMU, FSU, WSU, Western and all the others) can easily team up and beat the Wisconsin GOP…let do it!

MICHIGAN MATTERS…taped "Michigan Matters" with Carol Cain, which will air this weekend. "Michigan Matters" airs Saturday on CBS Detroit at 11 a.m. and is repeated on Sunday on CW 50 at 11:00 a.m. Dem Chair Mark Brewer and I talk about the issue facing Michigan and the race for the presidency.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED…we are opening up new Victory Centers daily and need more and more volunteers to make phone calls, knock on doors and put up lawn signs.  The response has been overwhelming, but Michigan will be the key battleground state and we need EVERY person willing to help in anyway they can.  Thanks again for all you do!  For more info click here.




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No Further Commentary Today


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The Mac is back


John McCain was very lucky that he decided to show up for the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., Friday night. Because he gave one of his strongest debate performances ever.

While Barack Obama repeatedly tried to link McCain to the very unpopular George W. Bush, Bush’s name will not be on the ballot in November and McCain’s will.

And McCain not only found a central theme but hit on it repeatedly. Obama is inexperienced, naive, and just doesn’t understand things, McCain said.

Sure, McCain is a pretty old guy for a presidential candidate, but he showed the old guy did not mind mixing it up. He stood behind a lectern for 90 minutes without a break — you try that when you are 72 — and he not only gave as good as he got, he seemed to relish it more.

McCain Wins Round 1

David Yepsen

It was one of the most substantive debates in recent presidential campaign history and John McCain won it.

The Arizona senator was cool, informed and forceful in Friday’s first presidential debate of the general election campaign.

He repeatedly put Barack Obama on the defensive throughout the 90 minutes session. Obama did little to ease voter concerns that he’s experienced enough to handle foreign and defense policy. That was his number one task Friday night and he failed.

Instead he was often his old meandering self, unable to state a quick, forceful position. Polls taken in the coming days should show McCain holding on to his trump card in the race – the view that he’s better equipped to be commander in chief.

It’s not about Obama’s race, it’s about policies


Where’s the change?

For all the talk of change coming from the Democratic side, what few specifics I hear sound strikingly the same as what we have come to expect from Democrats.

Let’s see: raise taxes, more and bigger government programs, no drilling in ANWR, etc. … What’s new about that? That’s same, not change.

Barack Obama thinks these are the things the American people want. If that’s true, then why isn’t Obama running away with this election?

Some would tell you it’s because too many of us are stupid and bitter people who cling to our guns and God. Others, including Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, suggest that race has something to do with it.

So the race card has been played again this election; nothing new about that either. Democrats do it every election cycle. But I thought Obama was supposed to transcend race.

Candidates Clash on Economy and Iraq


From the economy to foreign affairs to the way they carried themselves on stage, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama offered a dramatic contrast to the nation in their first presidential debate on Friday night, mixing disdain and often caustic remarks as they set out sharply different views of how they would manage the country and confront America’s adversaries abroad.

The two men met for 90 minutes against the backdrop of the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and intensive negotiations in Congress over a $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street.

Despite repeated prodding, Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama refused to point to any major adjustments they would need to make to their governing agendas — like scaling back promised tax reductions or spending programs — to accommodate what both men said could be very tough economic times for the next president.

Buy the Loans


HERE’S a key reason Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s bailout proposal stalled: it had an overbroad definition of the troubled assets the government would purchase. Under the Treasury’s definition, the government could spend much or all of the proposed $700 billion to buy complex derivatives held by Wall Street firms, instead of directly purchasing actual mortgage loans.

Fortunately, there is a compromise. The most efficient means of providing support to the credit markets would be for Congress to limit the definition of troubled assets to actual home mortgage loans. Congress should give the Treasury authority to purchase only the real financial assets at risk — the actual loans — not the derivatives whose prices depend on the values of those loans. If the government takes this approach, and buys and renegotiates mortgage loans directly, it will indirectly support the mortgage-based derivatives that have caused widespread losses at banks. But it will do so without favoring banks at the expense of homeowners.

Here is an example of how it would work. Consider a typically risky subprime mortgage loan. As is common, the lender “securitized” the loan by transferring it into a pool with other mortgage loans. Bankers then sold financial instruments backed by that pool to investors. Later, the banks themselves made derivative bets based on the same mortgage pool. These bets involved the complex slicing and dicing of the risks associated with the underlying subprime mortgage loan.

Blame high taxes for Mich. gas prices


If you took a road trip this summer, you probably noticed that gasoline prices in most nearby states are much lower than they are in Michigan. Currently, gasoline is Metro Detroit is averaging 20 to 30 cents above the national average. Don’t blame OPEC. Blame in part the state’s politicians, who have pushed state taxes on a gallon of gasoline to more than 11 cents higher than the average of the states. Michigan’s total state and federal gasoline tax burden is 60.7 cents. That compares with 46.4 cents in Ohio, 40.9 cents in Kentucky, 50.7 cents in Pennsylvania, 40.2 cents in Minnesota, 56.9 cents in Indiana and 51.3 cents in Wisconsin. Only New York, California, Illinois and Connecticut have higher gasoline taxes. Another thing you may have noticed on your drive: For the higher taxes, Michigan isn’t getting better than average roads.
Reimburse victims of seized cars

The city of Detroit this week admitted wrongdoing in raiding an art gallery in May. Detroit Police broke up the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit’s 29th annual Funk Night party under the guise its attendees were "loitering in a place of illegal occupation." Masked officers arrested attendees and seized the vehicles of everyone on hand at the members-only party. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed for dismissal of the charges, which were "unconstitutionally vague and overbroad." The Police Department rightly agreed and has dropped the charges against the patrons. An ACLU spokesperson said there’s no word yet about whether the 44 patrons whose cars were impounded — at a fee of $900 each — during the unconstitutional raid will be reimbursed. Detroit should finish the job by remunerating attendees whose cars were seized.

The Washington Panic

Thursday night’s negotiated sale of Washington Mutual to J.P. Morgan Chase was a nifty bit of financial plumbing that minimized the damage to taxpayers while putting a banking zombie in sounder hands. Hats off to Jamie Dimon at Morgan and Sheila Bair at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Now if our political class could rise to the occasion, we might get on the path to a sounder financial system.

The uproarious debate over the Paulson plan comes down to one main proposition: Are we going to give the government a new tool and resources to protect the financial system, or not? No one tried harder than we did to avoid arriving at this pass, but now that we’re here our vote is that this government intervention is justified to defend the system.

The critics have many good arguments, not least that neither the current Treasury nor the Federal Reserve inspire great confidence. Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke have practiced ad hoc-ery for 13 months, piling up serial bailouts only to watch the panic get worse. They are finally attacking the problem in a systemic way, however, and with enough resources to begin repairing the larger damage. The execution risks are real, as in any government exercise, but the risks of doing nothing are just as real for the economy and for believers in free markets.

Are We at an Inflection Point?

By Michael Barone

You can sum up much of 20th century history by saying that in the 1930s Americans decided that markets didn’t work and government did, and that in the 1970s Americans decided that government didn’t work and markets did.

The protracted and painful experiences of those decades changed basic public attitudes on the balance between government and markets, between regulation and enterprise, between government aid programs and self-reliance. The breadlines and depression of the 1930s moved Americans in one direction; the gas lines and stagflation of the 1970s moved them in the other.

Which raises the question of whether the financial ructions of 2007-08 (09?) will move them back again. One reason to believe this is possible is the passage of time. Americans in the 1980s and 1990s were ready to accept deregulation and tax cuts and welfare reform because so few of them had personal memories of the 1930s.

McCain, Obama Echo Reagan, Clinton

By Reid Wilson

OXFORD, Mississippi — In the first public meeting between Barack Obama and John McCain, the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees demonstrated clear contrasts, both in style and in policy. And though both campaigns sought to reduce expectations heading into tonight, each candidate had strong moments both to build their own case and tear down their opponent’s.

In the end, Barack Obama made a good case for himself, laying out positions on future government investments and priorities in foreign policy. But John McCain made the better case against Obama, repeatedly questioning whether the Illinois senator had the judgment to lead. In a moment of both economic and foreign uncertainty, both tactics are smart politics.

It was a debate with two clear halves, with Obama jumping out to a lead and McCain fighting, and eventually succeeding in the end, to catch up. Too, given each candidate’s focus and approach, one might draw comparisons with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Chávez Bolsters Links With Russia

By ANDREW OSBORN in Moscow and JOSE DE CORDOBA in Mexico City

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez signed new energy agreements with Russia on Friday, shortly after obtaining a $1 billion loan to buy more Russian arms. The budding relationship between the two countries is raising concern in Washington.

Russia, angry at U.S. support for Georgia — with which it fought a brief war this summer — has visibly increased its ties with the Venezuelan populist, who calls himself the U.S.’s biggest foe in the Americas.

Responding to what Russia sees as U.S. interference in its sphere of influence in the neighboring Caucasus region, Moscow recently sent two long-range bombers to visit Venezuela. Moscow also dispatched a nuclear cruiser, the Peter the Great, to take part in exercises with the Venezuelan navy.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the U.S. would monitor the Russian naval deployment "very closely."