And now this announcement from the campaign trail

obamamugBarack Obama’s about to announce whether he’ll join John McCain in suspending the campaign to “save the economy.” Annnnnnd: He says … he’s reaching …. he’s stretching the suspense … annnnnnnd: he’s laying out his terms, annnnnd: it looks like he’s going to continue campaigning and is pushing to go on with Friday’s debate. Pundits are already saying McCain is trying to avoid the debate and is creating a diversion by “suspending” the campaign to focus on the crisis at hand.

So for the time being, he’s gonna stay on the road unless he’s needed in D.C.

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Sarah Smile

The title gives reference to an old Hall and Oates tune, which might clue you in on my particular demographic.

Let’s just put it this way: I once wore a leisure suit. And to add to the atmosphere, my iTunes player is rocking out to “Frampton Comes Alive!”   But I digress.

The above title also gives reference to a much more recent phenomenon: Sarah Palin, the world’s most famous hockey mom. The pundits have been wagging their proverbial tongues now about misogynism and other mean things people are saying about poor Sarah. Meanwhile, Joe Biden is on the campaign trail wondering, “Hey, what about ME? I like hockey too!” What’s the difference between a pit bull and a generally highly regarded senator from Delaware? Uh…..   frankly, this is not getting us anywhere.

Pundits on both sides of the issue believe that Sarah’s rock star appeal will eventually wear off, which has conservatives a little worried. The dependably conservative and reserved columnist George Will is changing his message to make the case for McCain: Stalemate. That’s right, better government through paralysis. The theory is when opposing parties rule the legislative branch and executive, generally nothing much gets done and less money is spent. He trots out numbers to make his point.

Guess what? He has a point. Now, don’t get all foaming-at-the-mouth, lefties.

My advice to the Democratic Party

The one thing that worries me about the Democrats controlling both White House and Congress is that they’ll start living up to the neocons’ cheap labeling of them as tax-and-spend liberals, as opposed to the cut-tax-and-spend-even-more-because-we’re-at-war neocons. Don’t give ’em any ammo. Let ’em go fume on Rush and Hannity and O’Reilly’s pH factor (very acidic) about how the Bush administration blew it by being incompetent and going into a war we had no business starting in Iraq and how the conservative wing has to reinvent itself because the culture wars have run their course and it’s not fooling anyone anymore and we need to go back to Barry Goldwater. Or Ike. Or Abe. Something. Make ’em ditch that “Intelligent Design” nonsense and all that other Religious Right Wingnut stuff.  Just don’t let ’em paint you with a broad brush or you’ll be out on your butts by 2011.

In other words, don’t let the far left seize the Democratic Party the way the far right hijacked the Republicans.

What do I know? I’m just a centrist from Midwest. But know this, people: I am smarter than the average bear.

Meanwhile, back on Wall Street

And they thought a rash of write-downs on bad house loans last summer was bad. Now we’ve got Merryll Lunch (ah, typo that seems appropriate, I think I’ll keep it) being devoured by the Bank of America to save some assets and apparently the feds are going to let Lehman Brothers die and possibly AIG as well. While we’re at it, let’s have the heads of all the C-level execs who allowed this reckless behavior to go on.  (I should note that many of regulatory changes, allowing banks and insurers to share the same roof, came on the Clinton watch. Sandy Weill blazed new territory about a decade ago, combining credit cards, consumer banking and insurance and investing into one Citigroup. So, in an oddly twisted way, the GOP will try to pin the subsequent shenanigans on Clinton. Count on it.) I’m sure there’s a detail or two missing from this missive, but that’s the gist of it as I understand it.

The Democrats seem to have sharpened their knives of late. They’re tearing into McCain on the Bush administration’s lack of regulation and poor Sarah Palin’s “troopergate” issue about her supposedly trying to get her ex-brother-in-law state trooper fired. Guess they’re learning to borrow a page from the Karl Rove page of political operations.

Ah, learning from the Master.

This just in … Barclay’s in the U.K. has apparently struck a deal to buy part of Lehman Brothers, saving at least some of those jobs.

I don’t know who I feel sorrier for: the poor schlubs working in the cubicle farms or the ones used to living well. Actually, it’s easy. Let the high-on-the-hog bunch get a taste of Ramen noodles.

We don’t like Ike

Hurricane Ike has made landfall in Texas. It’s a big, big storm with what was expected to have at least 20-foot storm surges, which means water in second-floor bedrooms on the coast. Let’s just hope the response won’t be as inept as the response to Katrina was three years ago.

An air conditioning unit blew off the roof of a skyscraper in Houston. Some guys are out now looking for it. Imagine that conversation on the street: “Excuse me. Have you seen a stray AC unit? Weighs about a ton, about the size of a car?”

“Uh, no, but if you see my dog, would you let me know?”

Meanwhile, amid all the water, fires broke out overnight in Galveston and Houston, and the wind just whipped them into infernos. Brennan’s in Houston burned in spite of firefighters’ efforts. Incredibly, a lot of people stayed home to ride out the storm, despite the warnings that it meant almost “certain death.” I’m sorry, but anyone who has the ability to leave but doesn’t is just plain stupid.

I was in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when Hurricane Hugo ravaged the South Carolina coast in 1989. We were going to stay at The Sun News building overnight until the forecast put Myrtle Beach at Ground Zero, so we bolted for Columbia. Lucky for us, but not Charleston and McClellanville, it veered south. McClellanville, a tiny fishing town, was essentially erased. In the months afterward, if you drove down U.S. 17 to Charleston you’d see the Francis Marion National Forest where broad swaths of trees snapped in two, right around 20 feet above ground, as if a gigantic lawn mower plowed through the forest. Years afterward in Charleston, you could spot the waterline in the quaint shops that were flooded by the storm surge. They wore it like a badge of honor. Tough town: It’s survived two wars, a couple of major earthquakes and hurricanes and keeps on going.

Back in Houston, the Buffalo Bayou is overflowing, shooting out of a manhole. Windows blown out everywhere.

Grilling Palin

Sarah Palin needed a little more coaching before being thrown into the caring arms of Charlie Gibson. When she fumbled the “Bush Doctrine” question (that’s pre-emptive attack on a perceived threat, a la Iraq II), Gibson had no choice but to follow on that. And, predictably, reaction to her performance was quite partisan and quite predictable. Personally, I think Condi Rice would have been a much better choice on the ticket because she has extensive foreign policy experience (granted, much of not so swell — but experience is experience, I guess). And she talked rather blithely about going to war with Russia. I bet Vladimir Putin spat out his vodka on that!!

We’re back!

Hit a little speedbump last week. In recovery mode and moving forward.

I saw the latest stuff on Sarah Palin. Did you know she tried to ban dozens of books from her little town’s library? Guess what? Not really true. She apparently did inquire about the possibility of dealing with “objectionable” books but from what I see there never was a list per se. So it seems the libs are getting just as willing to use the dirty whisper campaign, just not as adept as the neocons.They buried McCain in 2000. Now they’re pretending to be friends with one another. Creepy.

Something the Obama camp ought to be worried about: My wife likes Sarah Palin. She had her hair done “updo” a la Palin for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary last weekend. Scary part is she kinda looked like her — a compliment to both. My wife is MOR, some lib some con, former soccer mom now piano and show choir mom, part-time retail/marketing mom. My take: Palin’s political views seem to be a good match for McCain, but is she qualified? Dan Quayle was more qualified. Mr. Potatoe Head was more qualified than this Hockey Mom from East Bum Pluck Alaska.