Syndicated

Did House Democrats want the bailout to fail?

Earlier Redstate's Pejman Yousefzadeh argued that Nancy Pelosi misread her caucus. I have an alternative hypothesis: she wanted the bill to fail. I have three pieces of evidence. First, yesterday, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip told the Politico that he was not whipping the vote and was not asked to whip the vote:

Asked about Monday’s vote on the bailout bill, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn tells reporters: “We haven’t started whipping.” Asked if he’s going to start whipping, Clyburn says: “The speaker hasn’t told me yet. I do what I’m told.”

Second, as Pejman noted previously, Rep. Peter deFazio (D-OR) told NPR that he was never whipped on the question. Listen:

Third, look at the actual procedure on this. From the clerk's floor summary:

2:07 P.M. -
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

On motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the Senate amendment Failed by recorded vote: 205 - 228 (Roll No. 674).

Note the "motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection." If the Democrats had wanted this to pass, they would not have said that. The procedural guts of this is that any vote in the House can be "reconsidered" by a motion to reconsider that is in order from a member of the prevailing side for two legislative days. By tabling this, that option is off the table.

The simplest option for Pelosi would have been to wait an hour, watch the markets collapse for a while, scare 12 Democrats and hold a revote. Surely some Republicans would have participated in this.

Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats had a way to win this vote today. Either out of incompetence or strategy, they walked away from that opportunity.

 

 

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Democratic leadership wanted the bailout to fail

Three pieces of evidence. They could have done this differently

Earlier Redstate's Pejman Yousefzadeh argued that Nancy Pelosi misread her caucus. I have an alternative hypothesis: she wanted the bill to fail. I have three pieces of evidence. First, yesterday, Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), the House Majority Whip told the Politico that he was not whipping the vote and was not asked to whip the vote:

Asked about Monday’s vote on the bailout bill, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn tells reporters: “We haven’t started whipping.” Asked if he’s going to start whipping, Clyburn says: “The speaker hasn’t told me yet. I do what I’m told.”

Second, as Pejman noted previously, Rep. Peter deFazio (D-OR) told NPR that he was never whipped on the question. Listen:

Third, look at the actual procedure on this. From the clerk's floor summary:

2:07 P.M. -
Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.

On motion that the House agree to the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the Senate amendment Failed by recorded vote: 205 - 228 (Roll No. 674).

Note the "motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection." If the Democrats had wanted this to pass, they would not have said that. The procedural guts of this is that any vote in the House can be "reconsidered" by a motion to reconsider that is in order from a member of the prevailing side for two legislative days. By tabling this, that option is off the table.

The simplest option for Pelosi would have been to wait an hour, watch the markets collapse for a while, scare 12 Democrats and hold a revote. Surely some Republicans would have participated in this.

Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats had a way to win this vote today. Either out of incompetence or strategy, they walked away from that opportunity.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

GOP Young Guns barnstorm the country: Kevin McCarthy, Lou Barletta, and House races

On Thursday, I participated in a blogger conference with Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-22) and Mayor Lou Barletta. organized via the NRCC's Young Guns program.

Barletta answered a lot of questions about his race and the district. He indicated that his district appears opposed to the bailout, like most places in the country. In addition, Barletta's opponent, Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) is actually the chairman of the House Subcommittee which was suppsosed to be overseeing the GSEs. Every time I hear more about this race, the more likely it appears that we are going to win. Go help out Lou Barletta and push this one over the top.

McCarthy then came on and discussed what was happening on the floor. Basically, he talked about the bailout and what the Young Guns will be doing. They will be travelling the country to about 20 targetted races and campaigning for those candidates.

It is really good to see a younger generation of leadership and taking responsibility for adding to our numbers. We hope to hear more about this over the next 6 weeks until the election.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Why Minnesota is in play

Minnesota is turning out to be a serious battleground in the 2008 election. A recent Star Tribune poll placed it at even. This post should be read as an attempt to explain why this might be. In 2004, John Kerry held Minnesota with  51-48, or by about 100k votes. The dynamics on the ground are such that this is probably a maximum for a Democratic vote, while there is evidence that John McCain is making progress against Barack Obama among key demographics.

Let's start with how Obama adds votes. In 2004, Minnesota lead the country with 69% student turnout and had 79% turnout overall. Significantly increasing on those numbers will be very difficult for Obama. In addition, there are practically no African-Americans. In other words, the two bases of Obama's expanded registration and GOTV universes are not really applicable.

At the same time, Obama has room to bleed. Northern Minnesota is traditionally labor union Democratic. Voters are often pro-gun and pro-life, like their two Democratic Congressmen. According to Survey USA, McCain is winning NE MN 55-41. In 2004, Kerry won St. Louis County 65-34. Eyeballing the numbers suggests that St. Louis, which contains Duluth, is much more liekly to be almost split.

There are three reasons for this: Sarah and Todd Palin and Barack Obama. Two weeks ago, Todd Palin attended a Snowmobilign event up there. People knew him by name as the world snow mobiling champion. They know that Sarah is a hockey mom and working class. She even sounds a little like them. And Todd is a union member, a steeleworker. At the same time, in an area that is "white working class" and "traditional", Obama would be expected to struggle. The cross-tabs indicate he is.

On a macro level, people are coming out for McCain who would not be expected. One of the leaders of "Citizens for McCain" is former Democratic Congressman Tim Penny (who I met in MSP). He represents southern Minnesota and still has some organization in the community. Last week Scott LeDoux, a sportsman with a very popular radio show endorsed McCain. And there is an active (female) Hillary Clinton supporters-for-McCain operation, such as Lisa Sissini who wrote a piece in the Star Tribune recently.

There is reality on the ground to this. I will be following this closely and have more details.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Is Obama abandoning Virginia?

I just got an email from Barack Obama's campaign urging me to drive to Pennsylvania. The thing is... I live in Virginia. Virginia is supposed to be a swing state. They would rather have me knock on doors in Pennsylvania than Virginia? That sounds like they are abandoning Virginia.

If they were on the attack, people would be going to North Carolina. (Of course, they could be sending North Carolina into Virginia and Virginia into Pennsylvania)

Here's the email:

You're receiving this message for two reasons.

First, Election Day is seven weeks from today -- just 49 more days. That's not a lot of time.

Second, you live right next door to a state that is once again shaping up to be a crucial general election battleground -- Pennsylvania.

And Obama supporters from across the northeast are going to be crucial to putting us over the top in the Keystone State.

That's why we're organizing teams of supporters to come to Pennsylvania for Drive for Change weekend canvasses.

Sign up to join your fellow supporters and travel to Pennsylvania this weekend, or any weekend before the election.

John McCain has made it clear that he intends to continue George W. Bush's failed policies. Just yesterday, he repeated his belief that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Hard-working families in Pennsylvania and across the country know differently. You know that it's getting harder to afford the price of gas and health care.

It shows how out of touch McCain is from what's going on in the lives of ordinary Americans.

That's why we're going to be counting on supporters like you to come to Pennsylvania to spread Barack's message of change.

Face-to-face contact with undecided voters is the single most effective way to grow this movement.

Sign up for a Drive for Change canvass this weekend and make a short trip to make a big difference:

http://my.barackobama.com/PAborder

We can't do this without you.

 

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Palin should talk about management and government reform

Sarah Palin has a strategic advantage in this race. She's run something: a state with 15,000 employees and a multi-billion dollar budget and a small town. It seems to me that she should adopt a positive message hitting that that bottles together government reform, government competence, management, etc. Jonathan Martin notes that she already mentions government reform on the stump. I see several advantages to this.

First, this scratches an itch that the American people actually have. They saw Katrina. They saw Iraq. They see right now the mismanagement of the financial system regulatory framework. She can bring up examples from her own time as governor cutting budgets, etc.

Second, it attacks one of her perceived weaknesses by focusing on her strengths. Barack Obama and his campaign attack her for not having experience (never mind that he has less). By talking about what she has done here, it addresses that uncertainty. This does not weaken the reform message.

Third, it expands the positive contrast with the other ticket. With John McCain, we have leadership and reform. Palin has reform and adds management. This is in contrast to "change" (and what?). This is more meat on the bones of the McCain-Palin ticket. At the same time, this inverts the "experience" attack by talking about the category of government experience that none of the other national candidates have.

Fourth, I think that it continues to innoculate against the Obama attacks of McCain=Bush. I was struck by this from Joe Trippi:

The brilliance of the McCain strategy and messaging is that it includes a trap for Obama. To push back on the McCain claim of "country first" and "the original mavericks who will shake up Washington" the Obama campaign's attack of "four more years of George Bush" becomes a problem. In a country that yearns for post-partisan change the Obama campaign risks sounding too partisan and like more of the same.

Emphasizing management and attacking Bush examples slides into that post-partisan and anti-Bush space that makes it harder and harder for these attacks to stick.

Imagine how this might work. A big event on government management rolling out some plans and bio material. Carli Fiorina, Mitt Romney, Rob Portman and others could validate it with examples of their own government management. An event every other week through the end of the campaign.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Hypocritical Obama campaign calls McCain dishonorable

While attacking on age and war injuries

Barack Obama's campaign demonstrated what shameless hypocrites they are. This morning, they went up with an ad calling John McCain dishonorable and sleazy.

Yet on Friday, they released an ad that accused him of not using a computer (a strange accusation). When it turned out that his well-known mobility problem is part of the reason, what do they do? Change the subject by quoting him out of context. Watch the painful exchange: They don't even have an answer. They don't even try. They just pivot and keep on lying.

This is after the wheels started to come off yesterday with Claire McCaskill, one of Obama's national Co-Chairs arguing that people shouldn't vote for McCain because he is old and has had cancer.

These people are trying to talk about running a dishonorable and sleazy campaign? These guys could write the book on it.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Lehman Brothers and an opportunity for John McCain

Ben Smith is undoubtedly correct that the situation with Lehman Brothers (and to a lesser extent, Merrill Lynch) will suck up most of this week:

With the Wall Street Journal reporting that liquidation is the likeliest option for Lehman Brothers, it's going to make it hard for the candidates to talk about anything else this week.

Again, this is bad news for Barack Obama because his change argument is not at the top of the agenda. Instead of talking about change, he is going to need to address the substance this week.

John McCain also has an opportunity here. The Dems are sitting on (dishonest) ads with McCain's statement about not knowing much about the economy. If McCain actually talks sensibly about the economy this week, that will defuse the effect of those ads.

I would also point out that Barack Obama received $365,922 from employees of Lehman, while McCain received $115,800. Obama will not have that populist attack on McCain.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Obama, Gustav, and Ike: Viva la difference

Two weeks ago, the American people were praying for the people of New Orleans. John McCain and the Republicans were worrying how we could have a convention without looking disrespectful. Barack Obama and some of the Democrats were being respectful about the danger in New Orleans and the care that the Republicans had to take. (Don Fowler excepted of course)

Two weeks later, Barack Obama is going nuclear on John McCain while Hurricane Ike is hitting Houston. MSNBC referred to it as a "sustained assault."

What's the difference?

He's behind in polls. He's been struck by Hurricane (Sarah) Palin. And he's running out of time.

What a difference two weeks makes.

By Soren Dayton, ago
Syndicated

Strangle the Democrats with Fannie, Freddie, and the Housing crisis

The meltdown of Fannie and Freddie should be a transformative moment in American politics. It should discredit the whole Democratic economic agenda. It is too bad that it happened in the middle of the most interesting Presidential election in a generation because there are lessons to learn from it. Several points.

Let's start with some numbers. Contributions since 1989(!) to ALL members of Congress. Note that this is an aggregate over time. Note how a guy who has been in Congress for 3 years manages to come in 3rd on the list.

Name

Office

Party/State

Total

1. Dodd, Christopher J

S

D-CT

$133,900

2. Kerry, John

S

D-MA

$111,000

3. Obama, Barack

S

D-IL

$105,849

4. Clinton, Hillary

S

D-NY

$75,550

5. Kanjorski, Paul E

H

D-PA

$65,500

First, this is a Democratic scandal. In yesterday's WaPo Al Hubbard and Noam Neusner ask "Where was Senator Dodd?" The answer is clear. On the take. Open Secrets notes who gets money from these guys:

Fifteen of the 25 lawmakers who have received the most from the two companies combined since the 1990 election sit on either the House Financial Services Committee; the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee; or the Senate Finance Committee. The others have seats on the powerful Appropriations or Ways & Means committees, are members of the congressional leadership or have run for president. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), chairman of the Senate banking committee, has received the most from Fannie and Freddie's PACs and employees ($133,900 since 1989). Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) has received $65,500. Kanjorski chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government-Sponsored Enterprises, and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are government-sponsored enterprises, or GSEs.

But they miss the important point. The GSEs give to Democrats primarily.

And this is the second point. These are partisan instituttions. Republicans tried to reform it, but got out lobbied every time. Hubbard and Neusner described how this works:

The administration did not accept half-measures. In 2005, Republican Mike Oxley, then chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, brought up a reform bill (H.R. 1461), and Fannie and Freddie's lobbyists set out to weaken it. The bill was rendered so toothless that Card called Oxley the night before markup and promised to oppose it. Oxley pulled the bill instead.

When there was a Republican Congress, Congressional leadership tried to do the right thing, but Fannie and Freddie's lobbyists picked off some weak Republicans. With a Democratic Congress, Fannie and Freddie just feed at the trough.

Third, these guys are some of the most powerful figures in the Democratic lobbyist-operative firmament. Obama was forced to fire James Johnson, his first VP Vetter. Johnson had been CEO of Fannie Mae.  But it doesn't stop there. Johnson, while a consultant for Fannie and Countrywide, was passing out below market loans to Senator Dodd, among others.

The recent CEO of Fannie was Franklin Delano Raines. (what do you bet his parents politics were?) Raines was a Clinton OMB Director and worked in the Carter White House. Raines was replaced with an actual business guy.

Fourth, it doesn't stop there. Not only that, but the affordable housing racket is also used as a way to launder government money into corrupt Democratic voter registration practices. One of the organizations pushing subprime loans and other "affordable housing" financial vehicles... ACORN, which got a sweet deal in the Housing Bill.

What is the upshot of all of this?  The housing meltdown has both causes and effects that are ideologically aligned with Democratic objectives.  While gutting the regulatory apparatus for a huge segment of our economy, leading Democrats were receiving contributions and below market loans from the very people whose regulations their were gutting. It was used to move money into Democratic grassroots campaign vehicles. And it moved substantial parts of the economy into government control. According to financial analyst Barry Richoltz, "socialism for the rich."

This should be a long-term stain on the credibility of Democratic Party's economic management.  Too bad no one has the attention span to notice.

By Soren Dayton, ago