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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yes, I Watched The Debate

Very disappointing. I've never been a strong supporter of either candidate, although I did feel a first flush of hope in Obama. But last night Obama looked like such a fool that I can no longer pretend to myself that he is an alternative.

I still don't feel much hope in McCain, and I suppose I'm so disappointed because my vote for McCain will be mostly prompted by Fear Of Obama.

I think Obama's a very decent man who wants to do good. Last night I was badly shaken when he didn't even seem to understand the import and focus of Lehrer's importunate questions about how the bailout would change Obama's policy suggestions. 700 billion is a lot of money, and even if eventually it pays off, in the short term it adds a very substantial chunk to borrowings. This was the exchange (transcript of debate here):
LEHRER: All right. All right, speaking of things that both of you want, another lead question, and it has to do with the rescue -- the financial rescue thing that we started -- started asking about.

And what -- and the first answer is to you, Senator Obama. As president, as a result of whatever financial rescue plan comes about and the billion, $700 billion, whatever it is it's going to cost, what are you going to have to give up, in terms of the priorities that you would bring as president of the United States, as a result of having to pay for the financial rescue plan?

OBAMA: Well, there are a range of things that are probably going to have to be delayed. We don't yet know what our tax revenues are going to be. The economy is slowing down, so it's hard to anticipate right now what the budget is going to look like next year.

But there's no doubt that we're not going to be able to do everything that I think needs to be done. There are some things that I think have to be done.

We have to have energy independence, so I've put forward a plan to make sure that, in 10 years' time, we have freed ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil by increasing production at home, but most importantly by starting to invest in alternative energy, solar, wind, biodiesel, making sure that we're developing the fuel-efficient cars of the future right here in the United States, in Ohio and Michigan, instead of Japan and South Korea.

We have to fix our health care system, which is putting an enormous burden on families. Just -- a report just came out that the average deductible went up 30 percent on American families.

They are getting crushed, and many of them are going bankrupt as a consequence of health care. I'm meeting folks all over the country. We have to do that now, because it will actually make our businesses and our families better off.

The third thing we have to do is we've got to make sure that we're competing in education. We've got to invest in science and technology. China had a space launch and a space walk. We've got to make sure that our children are keeping pace in math and in science.

And one of the things I think we have to do is make sure that college is affordable for every young person in America.

And I also think that we're going to have to rebuild our infrastructure, which is falling behind, our roads, our bridges, but also broadband lines that reach into rural communities.

Also, making sure that we have a new electricity grid to get the alternative energy to population centers that are using them.

So there are some -- some things that we've got to do structurally to make sure that we can compete in this global economy. We can't shortchange those things. We've got to eliminate programs that don't work, and we've got to make sure that the programs that we do have are more efficient and cost less.

LEHRER: Are you -- what priorities would you adjust, as president, Senator McCain, because of the -- because of the financial bailout cost?

MCCAIN: Look, we, no matter what, we've got to cut spending. We have -- as I said, we've let government get completely out of control.

Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.

The point -- the point is -- the point is, we need to examine every agency of government.

First of all, by the way, I'd eliminate ethanol subsidies. I oppose ethanol subsidies.

I think that we have to return -- particularly in defense spending, which is the largest part of our appropriations -- we have to do away with cost-plus contracts. We now have defense systems that the costs are completely out of control.

We tried to build a little ship called the Littoral Combat Ship that was supposed to cost $140 million, ended up costing $400 million, and we still haven't done it.

So we need to have fixed-cost contracts. We need very badly to understand that defense spending is very important and vital, particularly in the new challenges we face in the world, but we have to get a lot of the cost overruns under control.

I know how to do that.

MCCAIN: I saved the taxpayers $6.8 billion by fighting a contract that was negotiated between Boeing and DOD that was completely wrong. And we fixed it and we killed it and the people ended up in federal prison so I know how to do this because I've been involved these issues for many, many years. But I think that we have to examine every agency of government and find out those that are doing their job and keep them and find out those that aren't and eliminate them and we'll have to scrub every agency of government.

LEHRER: But if I hear the two of you correctly neither one of you is suggesting any major changes in what you want to do as president as a result of the financial bailout? Is that what you're saying?

OBAMA: No. As I said before, Jim, there are going to be things that end up having to be ...

LEHRER: Like what?

OBAMA: ... deferred and delayed. Well, look, I want to make sure that we are investing in energy in order to free ourselves from the dependence on foreign oil. That is a big project. That is a multi-year project.

LEHRER: Not willing to give that up?

OBAMA: Not willing to give up the need to do it but there may be individual components that we can't do. But John is right we have to make cuts. We right now give $15 billion every year as subsidies to private insurers under the Medicare system. Doesn't work any better through the private insurers. They just skim off $15 billion. That was a give away and part of the reason is because lobbyists are able to shape how Medicare works.

They did it on the Medicaid prescription drug bill and we have to change the culture. Tom -- or John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly that's just me opposing George Bush's wrong headed policies since I've been in Congress but I think it is that it is also important to recognize I work with Tom Coburn, the most conservative, one of the most conservative Republicans who John already mentioned to set up what we call a Google for government saying we'll list every dollar of federal spending to make sure that the taxpayer can take a look and see who, in fact, is promoting some of these spending projects that John's been railing about.

LEHRER: What I'm trying to get at this is this. Excuse me if I may, senator. Trying to get at that you all -- one of you is going to be the president of the United States come January. At the -- in the middle of a huge financial crisis that is yet to be resolved. And what I'm trying to get at is how this is going to affect you not in very specific -- small ways but in major ways and the approach to take as to the presidency.

MCCAIN: How about a spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs.

LEHRER: Spending freeze?

MCCAIN: I think we ought to seriously consider with the exceptions the caring of veterans national defense and several other vital issues.

LEHRER: Would you go for that?

OBAMA: The problem with a spending freeze is you're using a hatchet where you need a scalpel. There are some programs that are very important that are under funded. I went to increase early childhood education and the notion that we should freeze that when there may be, for example, this Medicare subsidy doesn't make sense.

Let me tell you another place to look for some savings. We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus. It seems to me that if we're going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad, that we have to look at bringing that war to a close.

MCCAIN: Look, we are sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don't like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations. We have to have wind, tide, solar, natural gas, flex fuel cars and all that but we also have to have offshore drilling and we also have to have nuclear power.

Senator Obama opposes both storing and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. You can't get there from here and the fact is that we can create 700,000 jobs by building constructing 45 new nuclear power plants by the year 2030. Nuclear power is not only important as far as eliminating our dependence on foreign oil but it's also responsibility as far as climate change is concerned and the issue I have been involved in for many, many years and I'm proud of the work of the work that I've done there along with President Clinton.

LEHRER: Before we go to another lead question. Let me figure out a way to ask the same question in a slightly different way here. Are you -- are you willing to acknowledge both of you that this financial crisis is going to affect the way you rule the country as president of the United States beyond the kinds of things that you have already -- I mean, is it a major move? Is it going to have a major affect?

OBAMA: There's no doubt it will affect our budgets. There is no doubt about it. Not only -- Even if we get all $700 billion back, let's assume the markets recover, we' holding assets long enough that eventually taxpayers get it back and that happened during the Great Depression when Roosevelt purchased a whole bunch of homes, over time, home values went back up and in fact government made a profit. If we're lucky and do it right, that could potentially happen but in the short term there's an outlay and we may not see that money for a while.

And because of the economy's slowing down, I think we can also expect less tax revenue so there's no doubt that as president I'm go doing have to make some tough decision.

The only point I want to make is this, that in order to make the tough decisions we have to know what our values are and who we're fighting for and our priorities and if we are spending $300 billion on tax cuts for people who don't need them and weren't even asking for them, and we are leaving out health care which is crushing on people all across the country, then I think we have made a bad decision and I want to make sure we're not shortchanging our long term priorities.
I noticed this in Obama's books as well, especially the second. He'll often discuss an issue, apparently showing a great range of empathy for both sides and state a real objection, and then he'll ignore that and go on to state his position.

That may work for issues such as his position on abortion, but economics is a matter of hard parameters. Obama doesn't seem able or willing to comprehend that, or do the hard work to assemble any reasonable policy position. I don't think he's able to do this.

The next president - any conceivable president - will have a very hard time of it. Pretty much all the wiggle room is gone. After last night, I literally believe that Obama isn't capable of understanding it. Maybe he's not very bright. Maybe he just dislikes quantitative thinking. But for whatever reason, his current stated policies are an exercise in fantasy.

Next year's priorities need to run along the lines of making sure that poor people in the US have enough to eat. To be babbling about expanding early childhood education?

McCain did not impress me, but he appeared to understand that we have our butts in a tight crack and are going to be facing some very rough circumstances.

Anyone who watched last night's debate and can still consider voting for Obama loses my respect. There's a limit to how far one can defy reality and live. That man is currently outside the parameters of the land of the living. It's probably due to inexperience.

Hi MaxedoutMama,

Firstly, I really enjoy your blog posts. They are so insightful, especially in regards to the current financial situation we find ourselves in.

As far as your comment on both candidates not understanding how dire the situation is, I think it is clear that--since neither are economists or money managers--it is hard to expect that they understand what is going on w/o some education from their advisors.

Having said that, I think Obama has a better slate of advisors who are qualified and pragmatic. I am betting that this translates into economic policies that are less populist and more rational. Bloomberg seems to agree.

His team includes:
Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Warren Buffett and Austan Goolsbee. Maybe Austan Goolsbee is less fiscally disciplined (i don't know), but its hard to argue Paul Volcker is not.--or that this team lacks experience.

Contrast that to McCain's advisors: Carly Fiorina who had a disastrous tenure as CEO of HP or Phil Gramm, a career politician with an undistinguished record as an academic at a state university.

I do agree with your concerns, however. Whoever gets into office will have to face reality very quickly and make some tough decisions to get the US through this mess. However, I prefer to have the likes of Volcker, Rubin or Summers guiding that as opposed to Fiorina or Gramm.
Anonymous seems to know very little about Phil Gramm. Gramm was an economics professor at Texas A&M. He ran for Congress as a Democrat. But, when the Democrats opposed Reagan's supply side economics, Gramm resigned his Congressional seat and ran for it as a Republican. He felt it was unfair to his constituents to simply change parties. Later he ran for Senator and won.

Anonymous is wrong to claim Phil Gramm is merely a career politician.

My own fear is that Obama is too stupid to recognize the advice of his team of economic advisors, deferring instead to his natural left wing beliefs and friends. And for the life of me I can't figure out why Volcker would would ever take on the role as advisor to a fool such as this. Maybe it was for the money, which I doubt he needs, or maybe he recognizes that these questions are above the pay grade of this candidate.

Also, in defense of Phil Gramm, he was one of the main architects of Reagan's very successful economics plan. With him in the Senate, Reaganomics would never have survived. Brilliant man and someone who earned respect.

Big John

I appreciate your trhoughtful analysis. In spite of good intentions, I didn't do quite so well.
"As a concerned Christian conservative economist and totally not part of Obamas astroturfing campaign I am very concern (and christian) that John McCain is old and drinks the blood of babies and [insert obama talking point here]"

Isn't it weird how many anonymous readers come out of the closet to post when you say anything bad about dear leader, MoM? Its almost as if there's an army of losers trolling the internet for the slightest scent of Obama critism.

I think Obama should just step aside and let Buffet or Volker run for president. If a person can't bring any of their own knowledge to the table and must rely on a set of advisors, what is the point of having a president? Seems like its been boiled down to a sales-man of other people's ideas. You can almost see the puppet strings attached to Obama.

I think McCain is a bit crazy and has a teen-angst like problem with authority, which explains why he goes against his own party so often. But at least that mean he will question everything. its still a crappy election but the more I see of Obama the more I really want him to not be president, especially with a democrat congress.
John and second Anon - Gramm often irritates me, but he's not a political flack. However, there are a lot of good people in the world who are often wrong, or wrong in a particular set of circumstances. Gramm has seemed not to be grasping reality all this year.

However, regardless of the advisors, last night McCain seemed to grasp the gravity of the mess. He looked scared and he was taking pains to reassure people about eventual prospects, which probably means he's very scared indeed. His suggestion about freezing the budget ex entitlements, VA and defense at least shows that he realizes what a cash bind the US will be in. So he's at least got the tip of one oar in the water.

Therefore my conclusion is that either McCain has a better group of advisors than Obama, or McCain is much better at understanding and assimilating what they tell him. Either could be true, or perhaps it's just that Obama has too many advisors.

So regardless of what one thinks of the advisors, somehow McCain is aware of the problem, which is the first prerequisite in dealing with it.

First Anon - advisors don't do you any good if you lack the internal ability to incorporate and recognize their advice. Last night Obama seemed to demonstrate that lack.

Obama's been involved in this whole bailout furor. He was involved in at least one central meeting over the issue. And then he came out and basically babbled? Not only didn't he have his oars in the water, he appeared to believe that by turning around and blowing he was going to be able to get somewhere.

It may well be that he just isn't capable of assimilating the bad news in a useful manner. I am still startled - so was Lehrer - you could see him do a doubletake. I cannot fathom the mind of a person that gets the information that Obama did and does not get at least some of the parameters from it.

Obama might be quite a good president in prosperity. I think it would be torturous for him in the current circumstances.

There is also a pattern about this. Obama truly is rather flexible in his approach to issues, and tries hard to see the other person's view. It's a great asset to him, and I am sure it has helped his political career immensely. But on many of the contentious policy issues that have hard parameters he appears not to understand that they are truly immovable parameters.

For example, Obama's current position on nuclear power is one that essentially blocks the US from developing much more, and he backs alternative sources. Now no nation has successfully developed alternatives to the large extent he recommends, but if we are going to try, it must be an all-out effort. You can't build all the wind farms or solar without a massive - truly massive - investment in a widespread, very large capacity new system of transmission lines. That system would require government funding and federal enabling legislaton. One of the things last night that bothered me is that he thought we could delay part of that. We can't - it's all or nothing.

So Obama contradicted himself last night about energy policy.

I have been used to thinking of McCain as an economic nudnik, but last night he clearly got it. The US is now forced by economic exigency to produce much more energy domestically. Our economy is buckling under the strain of oil imports; it's a national security and military vulnerability, and now it's an economic must.

Obama seemed clueless. If he's got such good advisors, WHAT ARE THEY TELLING HIM? WHAT IS HE HEARING?

At this point, I think leftwing or rightwing ideology is irrelevant. Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont, grasps that his constituents are genuinely in danger from energy and food costs. If Obama had shown that awareness, I'd be a lot more comfortable. You can get to a workable answer from either stance, if you follow it honestly and thoroughly. Last night Obama showed rather clearly that he isn't doing that.
Bob - I actually checked what you had to say this morning, and I laughed long and loudly. If I were not so worried I would probably sign on to your interpretation, especially the bit about IQ points.

YT - I think McCain is a bit crazy and has a teen-angst like problem with authority, which explains why he goes against his own party so often.

He strikes me as a bit of a flake as well. He looked old, crotchety and set in his ways. Still, he at least comprehends that like, man, a thing has happened, and since that thing has happened, other things now cannot happen.

Every time I envision voting for McCain something in me hears a fire alarm. After last night, Obama is setting up way more of a clamor; it's like listening to 20 ambulance sirens, and they drown out the home fire alarm McCain triggers.

As for Obama and a Dem Congress, in the days of a better Dem leadership he might do better. But no, we've got Pelosi going around talking about switching over to natural gas as a way to stop using fossil fuels. Lord save me. Lord give her a brain. It would take a miracle. Reid isn't much better.

What a mess.
But last night Obama looked like such a fool that I can no longer pretend to myself that he is an alternative.

Exactly. Not so much a fool as unseasoned. Should he survive a few years on the Senate back bench and rise to a position of leadership with experience in the trenches and in reelections he can have his Teddy Kennedy moment. McCain no great shakes but won't make any newbie mistakes. Hmmmm, shadow of FDR or shadow of Reagan?
" Last night I was badly shaken when he didn't even seem to understand the import and focus of Lehrer's importunate questions about how the bailout would change Obama's policy suggestions."

You're the fool.

He understood the question perfectly well, just as McCain did.

There was no political upside to answering that question truthfully, and so both men dodged it.

And Rob Dawg, how do you keep a straight face when you write this:

"McCain no great shakes but won't make any newbie mistakes."

Can you think of one or two mistakes McCain has made in the last couple of years?

Sure, they won't be "newbie" mistakes, but, ah, there sure have been some whoppers, haven't there?

Or are you just going to turn a blind eye to them?

And if you're concerned about newbie mistakes, how do you feel about Sarah Palin taking over as president?

Oh, I see, you'll just ignore that.
Hey, what did World Net Daily say about the debate?

Oh shit!

Rush isn't on Saturdays!

What will you do?!

How will you think?

Oh, by the way, it looks like independents thought Obama did better 60% to 40%, or so.

But you all are independents, right? You're the World Net Daily independent-types right?
A couple of questions to you fair-minded independents:

1. If Obama couldn't pronounce the name of the President of Iran last night, you would have let that go, rigth? I mean, you wouldn't have made a big deal out of that, correct?

2. If Obama had identified the President of Pakistan "Kidari" instead of "Zardari", you would've let that go without comment, right?

3. If Obama had refused to look at McCain last night, that wouldn't have been worth mentioning, right?

4. If Obama had suddenly announced the suspension of his campaign in order to rescue the bail out talks last week, that would have merited nary a word, right?

You all look at things on the merits, right? You're fair. Balanced. Truthful.

So MoM writes:

"But last night Obama looked like such a fool that I can no longer pretend to myself that he is an alternative."

So, what word would you use to describe this?

Couric: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

Palin: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.
You know what's funny?

Obama is inexperienced. He looks different. Got a funny name. He's one letter away from Osama.

He shouldn't even be in the race.

And yet he is.

That tells you how bad your guy is.

What? Oh, he's not your guy?

Why? Because he said Robertson and Falwell were nuts in 2000? Because of the 'ol immigration thing? Not an evangelical?

Well, whatever it is, your side is in sorry shape. Bush at 19% approval. Republicans running up astronomical deficits. Oh, and that war -- hasn't gone so well, huh?

And then there's Palin. It's hilarious how only a few on your side can muster the courage to state the obvious: the empress has no clue. Bible Spice for VP!

It's gonna be a sight to see the factions go at it after the election. The Bible Thumpers vs. the Neocons vs. the Supply Siders.

You're done.

Bush to McCain to Palin. Sounds like the end of the line.

Couldn't happen to a nicer crowd.

Love your blog.

You know, in all fairness, none of them can produce an excel sheet to list out line item cost one by one, and put a funding priority on them. I doubt Bush can do that either.

They each name spendings that they will put above others. I think that is the best you can get them to answer something like this.
Well, I just now had a chance to come read your opinion about last night. You made it very clear how you feel and why. I tell you, MoM, this elections is a very tough, tough choice. We have big question marks about both parties as well. I Also can't seem to get comfortable with the idea of Palin being President of the United States should something happen to McCain either. This whole election is problematic for us. I keep hoping that by asking experts of their opinions, they would enlighten us to something we don't know yet. Well, that has not happened and you know, I don't think it is going to.

Thanks again for your input.
Read it now on World Net Daily!

- Backlash to Obama officials squelching political speech!

- Prosecutors for Obama hunting for lying ads!

- Missouri governor: 'Obama using police-state tactics'!

So, MoM, to paraphrase your last lines:

"Anyone who links to World Net Daily and can still considers posting political views loses my respect. There's a limit to how far one can defy reality and live. This woman is currently outside the parameters of the land of the living. It's probably due to nuttiness."

You should consider taking down the World Net Daily link.

It would hide your nuttiness better.

I mean, it's kinda like, you know, a dead give away.

But your call.

The nutty echo chamber in here is kinda cozy . . . you know, for unstable people and all.

Guess MoM's opinion is not widely shares.

"A new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows 46% of people who watched Friday night's presidential debate say Democrat Barack Obama did a better job than Republican John McCain; 34% said McCain did better.

Obama scored even better -- 52%-35% -- when debate-watchers were asked which candidate offered the best proposals for change to solve the country's problems."
Its very alarming to see the attempts at drowning out discourse people like teri undertake when their candidate is criticized.

Whats going to happen under an Obama presidency and democratic congress? The MoveOn democrats dragging people off to re-education camp for speaking in public?

Those crazies spouting warnings of far-left rule are starting to sound sane.

You are very perceptive.

Re-education camps are listed on page 48 of the Democratic Party platform. They plan to phase them in gradually, starting with the end of the alphabet, so sorry to tell you this, but you'll probably be one of the first.

But look at the bright side: You won't have to worry about the mortgage or traffic or gas prices anymore.

Then again, they probably won't allow Rush broadcasts, so maybe you should start cutting back on your EIB fix -- you know, come down slowly so it's not such a shock in the camps.

A word from a grandfather type who can remember the shock in Dewey's camp in 1948...

Get A Life. Stop being a shill. Send back Soros's check. Consider that the Bradley Effect lives. Don't worry: you will graduate from high school...

Read MoM's essays for content...then comment. Eye a few graphs.

In the meantime, don't take up valuable bandwidth until you come up with something more or less your own.

Good Ole Charlie
Charlie says:

"Consider that the Bradley Effect lives."

So, Charlie, I should consider that white people say that they will vote for a black man, but then many of them don't?

I should take into consideration that racism is alive and well?

And you're proud of that?

What would Jesus say, Charlie, what would Jesus say?
Hey Teri, you want to know what Jesus would say?

He'd say, "I'm a white guy. And all my fishermen buddies are white guys. And I'm not going to apologize for being a white guy. And if I don't want to vote for a Black Roman Centurion guy, then I don't have to. And if I don't want to vote for Osama Bin Ladan, then I don't have to, even though he's kind of white but not really."

That's what Jesus would say. Jesus was white and he was proud of being white. And he was proud of being born again. And if some Black guy wants to come and tell Jesus that he has to vote for him because he's Black, then Jesus will just tell him to go to hell, because white guys have rights too.

Want to know something else, Teri? Jesus would kick your ass because Jesus didn't take shit from punk ass democrats.
Maybe I'm wrong on that last part. Jesus would probably turn the other cheek. But if you made him really mad like the moneychangers, then he'd kick your ass for sure.
Clemente my man, do you think I'm frightened by your Chuck Norris/Jesus?

I've got George Soros covering my back.

And you know what George Soros is spending his billions on right now as we so comfortably chat electronically?

Mercenaries. Yeah, he's building a mercenary army of Black Panthers and Union Anarchists. And he's training an undercover army of MoveOn.org spies -- they're moving into your exurbs and small towns right NOW!

Watch out for the re-education camps!

Charlie writes:

"Read MoM's essays for content...then comment."

World Net Daily.

Just can't get past it, Charlie. World Net Daily is sitting over there on the right hand side. Like a blinking neon sign: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here.

When I read MoM's "essays", I see the tentacles of World Net Daily (and Rush and Fox).

Do you people realize that actual conservative and Republican leaders -- those folks at the top of the pyramid -- laugh at the Rush/World Net Daily crowd?

You realize that, do you not?

They laugh at you.

That's not to say that they don't appreciate the utility of Fox and Rush and WND. And they use them, yes they do.

But behind closed doors they laugh at you.

Take Karl Rove. He's not an evangelical -- but he'll use those that are. He's not a dogmatic, fearful Fox/WND clone -- but he'll gladly use them for gain.

Rove doesn't respect you.

But here you are, playing along in a game you don't even understand.

You're sheep bleating away. Protect us from the bad men, oh leaders. Protect us from the danger. Baaaahhhh.

Read MoM's essays you suggest? Why? To join your little cult?

No thanks.

I'm not afraid, so I wouldn't fit in.
Here's a question for you World Net Daily readers: Do you realize that George Bush is president, not Barack Obama?

WND is obsessed with Obama and his "squelching political speech" through "police state tactics."

You do realize that Bush controls the federal government, right? Billions and billions of dollars in expenditures, millions of employees, right?

Obama has what? No executive authority. He's got a couple of thousand employees if you count volunteers and a couple of million in weekly operating budget.

And yet, according to WND, Obama has these vast powers, these nefarious plots.

Has it occurred to you WND readers that Obama's power comes from:

1. George Bush, he of the 19% approval rating and 5 year, $10 billion per month war


2. Words spoken right out in the open?

That's his power. It's right in front of your noses.

But WND has to go for the vast conspiracy, the black arts.

WND is still running the same script from 1998 -- Bill Clinton and Janet Reno and their jack booted thugs.

And you clowns are buying it.

You're living in a world that does not exist.

In a word, you're pathetic.
"I still don't feel much hope in McCain, and I suppose I'm so disappointed because my vote for McCain will be mostly prompted by Fear Of Obama."

It seems that your instinct (fear) may be preparing to protect you from calamity.

What are you doing wasting your time on this thread.

You know I'm paying you to pedal our line somewhere that gets some hits. So get your ass over to Paterico or Hot Air or Little Green Footballs where you get some eyeballs. You're wasting your time here with these bitter clingers.

Good one. That was at least clever.

But you got me thinking: How could I get paid doing this stuff?

There's an endless supply of ignorance out there in the nutty-sphere. If I can tap into that, I'm a wealthy man.

In the mean time, I'll just practice here, with you nice Christian folk.

Which brings up a question: If you're truly Christians, why do you support torture?

I'm just having a hard time picturing Jesus saying, "Well, yeah, strip him down and throw him in a hole -- he's a terrorist."

But what do I know. You all know all about Jesus' love, right?
Hi Teri,

I am Anonymous #1. While I feel that Obama is more qualified based on his advisors that surround him (and his ability to listen to them), I do not think you are adding anything to the discourse here.

Please, lets have a serious conversation. The country and the world are going through dire straits.

The readers of this blog are very intelligent and so far, your posts are not constructive.

To answer the Phil Gramm supporters. Yes. He was a professor. However, he was a third rate professor. He did not author any substantive papers as an academician and to another commenter's point, he does seem a bit out of his depth concerning financial systems--which are at the core of this current crisis. On the republican side Greg Mankiw would have been a much better choice as an advisor. Or perhaps Becker.

While Reagan should be credited for his flexibility, particularly in his latter years as president, we must acknowledge that he benefited immensely from Volcker's concerted actions to halt inflation during the Carter administration along w/ other favorable external events. However, we must also remember that Reagan was not much of a fiscal conservative. Some of this had to do w/ the hangovers from the economy but there were many defense programs like Star wars which were ineffective and costly, resulting in an enormous deficit for his time.
Anonymous #1 writes:

"Please, lets have a serious conversation. The country and the world are going through dire straits. "

I agree. The country is in dire straits.

But I disagree with this statement of yours:

"The readers of this blog are very intelligent and so far, your posts are not constructive."

Your views are intelligent, constructive and reality-based. I commend you.

But look at what MoM originally wrote:

"After last night, I literally believe that Obama isn't capable of understanding it. Maybe he's not very bright. "

So, Obama is not very bright. She actually writes this. She's an ardent Palin supporter and she writes that Obama isn't very bright. If you disagree with him, fine, no problem. But to try to argue that Obama is not bright -- that puts you on the fringe. You're just not credible when you say things like that.

Later, we get this nugget:

"Anyone who watched last night's debate and can still consider voting for Obama loses my respect. There's a limit to how far one can defy reality and live. That man is currently outside the parameters of the land of the living. It's probably due to inexperience."

Outside the land of the living? What does that mean? That is emotion speaking.

As far as me being constructive, well, that's just not my objective, now is it?

Constructively engaging the World Net Daily crowd is, needless to say, a pointless task.

Please go away and let the adults talk.

You're a bore...hate to say it kid...but you remind me of people I have flunked. And enjoyed the doing of same.

Do something with your life, guy (or gal...whatever). Try growing up and acquiring wisdom: you might even like it.

I not feeding your trollish nature anymore. Please go away.

Side to MoM: can't you dump this jerk??

No hard feelin's though.

Good Ole Charlie
The comments of this "teri" are clearly not mine ;)

Isn't it interesting that you can't find a blog where you attempt to have a discussion about Obama's qualifications without getting the sorts of comments we are seeing here today? Exactly what is it that they are afraid of?
We're afraid of you, Teri.

Very afraid.

(Oh, and we're afraid of Palin, too.)
A few folks put together an estimation of Mr. Obama's IQ from some reported test scores and it was around 112 to 114 if I recall correctly. That was based on some SAT correlation to IQ. Mind you this is from a recollection of a study; I cannot find said study or recall the methodology they used, but my recollection was the effort was pretty careful and they came at the problem from three different approaches. An IQ in that range is not stupid, being just short of one standard deviation above the norm. That would place Mr. Obama ahead of approximately 83~84 percent of the population.

So he is by no means stupid and perhaps MOM might want to rethink her comments. Perhaps she means he has spent so much time disassociated from working life that he no longer sees that there are real implications to actions? Perhaps she means that he has spent so much time in the realm of ideas and running for office that he associates expressing an idea with actual implementation of said idea? I suspect many reading this column have known folks like that, who were well educated but never got out of working for non-profits or the like. Smart but without a clue. I seem to recall a column by Maxed-Out-Mama that discussed the entire post modern approach his associates have. She might have an argument there. He has spent much of his time running for office, not really doing a lot of legislative work or a real job. I know he was a community organizer and spent some time in a research-paper mill, but both of these positions are long on ideas and short on really having to deliver a result at the end of the day.
Teri, I think you raised some good points. That said, going for the personal attack is not a good approach. It is the method used by bullies and those that cannot stand up to an issue based argument. Snarky comments do not help your cause, they only make you sound angry and allow those that disagree to ignore your posting as troll. It is far better to use dispassionate reason to show where MOM has erred. You will most likely do much better. That said I still think you raised some valid points.
Mr. Sensitive writes:

"A few folks put together an estimation of Mr. Obama's IQ from some reported test scores and it was around 112 to 114 if I recall correctly."

Mr. S.,

Have you noticed other people on the web and in blogs backing up their claims with a url -- you know, showing their work?

It's a really good way to go. I'd recommend it.

I'm sure you're a perfectly trustworthy anonymous person, but maybe next time you could cite the source of your assertions.

I could not find the original article which used three methods of estimating his IQ. One was the average LSAT scores of students at his law school, (highest estimate) the second method was a comparison of the affirmative action scores for folks admitted in the time he went to school (middle score) the final one was to compare the family background of both families and make an estimate from that data (lowest score because of father). Even the lowest estimate had his intelligence at above normal (over 100). It would seem it is no longer posted, or it was a magazine article. I seem to recall reading it before August, I thought it was on the net, but might have been left on my desk at work.

Here is what I did find in a quick two minute search. I was hoping to find articles that reflected the three approaches used above. I was able to find two.

Estimate of 116
Estimate of between 130 and 148
Article that makes conjectures that his IQ is not so high based on father and response

Hope that helps with the estimate sources. Note that he is very likely above average intelligence. How much is subject to debate, but an estimate of 112~116 does not seem to be an unreasonable lower bound.
Actually the careful concealment of his scores tends to place an upper limit on his score. Were he up in the 130 to 148 range it is most likely his test scores would have been published, as the democrats seem to like to publish SAT scores when it is in their favor. A fair number of the democratic pundit base is from a scholastic background and this sort of thing is important to these folks, it is likely that his high school SAT scores are not phenomenal.
Given that George Bushes SAT score was 1206 which correlates to around 125, it is likely that though bright, Mr. Obama’s score in high school was lower. There is a general trend in the media to paint George Bush as a stupid fellow, it is a subject of much merrymaking on the left. Having to admit that Mr. Obama had lower scorers would be an embarrassment. Mr. Obama’s scores seem to indicate he is a smart fellow, well above the average, the only reason for Mr. Obama’s scores not to be published is that they are lower that George Bushes. So the estimate of 112~116 (Vox Popoli seems to give a slightly higher score than the article I read) is about as good as can be done with the current data. That would indicate Mr. Obama is brighter than about 85 percent of the population at a minimum.

Now teri, I expect that if you are going to be intellectually honest you will in a similar manner provide net sources for all of your assertions in the future. I note you have failed to do so at times and while I was able to follow your line of argument, I think others might have taken your frenetic statements as a sign of a being a troll or worse. If you go head to head with these right wingers with evidence, I am sure you will get much better results.
Listen, when I use the word stupid, I don't mean having low IQ. Unfortunately, some people with rip-roaring IQs can be very stupid. In fact, most of what I have been covering here for the last few years are the incredibly stupid deeds of very intelligent people, the construction of vast and complex means of justifying those deeds, and the wretched end results. Stupidity hurts!

When I use the word stupid, I mean not using your brains. Granted, I have limited experience, but as far as I can see, in some individuals a lot of brain power is diverted to creating justifications for their own wishes, so they use their native wits to defeat themselves.

As for Obama's intelligence, he's surely got more than enough for the presidency. I've read his books; he doesn't think like a person with little brain power nor does he perceive the world that way. He likes to use his mind to perceive and wander through world iews; he may not like to use his mind to then use those perceptions to walk down a decision tree when it involves quantitative parameters.

My hunch, although only time will tell, is that his effective stupidity here is a function of lack of experience as Rob Dawg suggests.

I also think he might end up being a decent president in a prosperous time. Unfortunately our current situation requires facing a lot of unpleasant truths and just doggedly getting through it.

I would have liked to see Lieberman running this time. I'm still stuck on the concept that we need to recover a politics that pays more attention to the needs of the average citizen.

I'm still shocked by the debate, and after a few days I'm even more disturbed.
"He likes to use his mind to perceive and wander through world iews; he may not like to use his mind to then use those perceptions to walk down a decision tree when it involves quantitative parameters."

"wander through world views"

What in the holy hell does that mean exactly? Could you be more insipid?

"he may not like to use his mind to then use those perceptions to walk down a decision tree when it involves quantitative parameters."


So, how did he take down the Clinton machine? You think this guy is just making it up on the fly? Have you read anything about the guy and his organization? About their philosophy? About their approach?

He and his top dogs are into game theory big time.

Your ignorance is showing again.

Look, you're just not very good at this politics thing. Stick with charts.

And seriously, World Net Daily is like a millstone hung around the neck of your blog's credibility.

Although if WND ran more exposes of Bat Boy! and Hitler Alive in Fresno! that would be cool.
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