- The Washington Times - Friday, October 24, 2008

COMMENTARY:

So intense have the Republicans’ suspicions of their Democratic rivals become in the last weeks of this presidential race that they are now accusing the delightful Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, of withholding the results of his brain scans from his recently released medical records.

Their charge is false. The results of those brain scans are spread across several pages of the senator’s records for all to see. Admittedly those pages appear to be blank, but what did the Republicans expect? Have they not been listening to the great man’s solemnities on the campaign trail?

In an interview with his fellow airhead, CBS’ Katie Couric, late in September, the senior senator from Delaware expressed his firm belief that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was president of the United States in 1929 and that in that illusory year FDR had at his command a large and apparently receptive television audience. Ha, ha, ha - and the mainstream moron media insist Mr. Biden’s opponent, Gov. Sarah Palin “stumbled” when she was interviewed by CBS’ cutie. Stumble, Mrs. Palin might, but Mr. Biden fell head over heels and has continued to do so.

There have been his repeated bold intimations that while flying over Afghanistan in a helicopter he was forced down by enemy fire. Actually, the threat was from inclement weather. Or savor this: Despite being caught years ago plagiarizing a British Labor Party leader’s public recollections of life in the Welsh coal mines, Mr. Biden has again rather incautiously recalled being a coal miner himself. His recollection is in error. In his only debate with Mrs. Palin he asseverated that the United States “drove Hezbollah out of Lebanon” - a complete nonsense. Most deliciously, this month he yawped: “The No. 1 job facing the middle class, and it happens to be as Barack says, a three letter word, jobs, j-o-b-s, jobs.” Possibly the senator’s handlers have told him to avoid four-letter words on the campaign trail. At any rate, for those of us who enjoy a laugh, Mr. Biden’s campaign has been a picnic.

Now he is apparently collaborating with the McCain-Palin campaign in stressing Sen. Barack H. Obama’s inexperience. “We’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy,” Mr. Biden warned, referring to his running mate, Mr. Obama, the least experienced presidential nominee of either the 20th or the 21st century. Oh wait, I forgot Wendell Willkie, “the barefoot boy from Wall Street” who ran against FDR, the television pioneer.

That the gaffable Mr. Biden has not become the laughingstock of this campaign is astonishing. Equally astonishing it the fact that Mr. Obama’s inexperience - though there have been a few beautiful gaffes from him too - has not become an issue. Instead, members of the media and their fellow Democrats have made a vexed issue out of the perfectly normal - albeit abnormally charming - Mrs. Palin. The claim is that she lacks the experience to be president. So too does the Prophet Obama.

The media’s coverage of this election has been the shoddiest I have ever seen. The country has been walloped by a financial crisis almost wholly created by the Democrats’ relaxation of mortgage lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers. It is a matter of record that the Republican nominee attempted to tighten those regulations.

The Democrats’ intrusion into the markets began in 1977 with their vaunted Community Reinvestment Act, encouraging bank loans to low- and moderate-income families. In 1995, the law was expanded, leading to an 80 percent increase in such loans.

Along with this, beginning in 1992 Congress imposed on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase what we now know as subprime mortgages - that is to say, risky mortgages. In 1996, the Clinton administration’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), enthralled as ever to the Democrats’ urge for social engineering, ordered Fannie and Freddie to assist home purchases by low-income earners seeking homes in higher-income neighborhoods - more subprime mortgages!

HUD expanded this project in 2000. Also in 1996 HUD began targeting the number of such mortgages, requiring that 12 percent of Fannie and Freddie’s mortgages assist low-income home purchasers in higher income neighborhoods. In 2000 the share was increased to 20 percent.

The consequence of all the Democrats’ meddling with real estate markets and with established regulations was that these subprime mortgages were secreted into bundles of mortgage packages and sold all over the world. Now we see a crisis and magically it is blamed on Sen. John McCain’s party. The answer is to elect Sen. Barack Obama and his lovable sidekick to the White House.

Yet, as readers of this column read last week, the chair of Mr. Obama’s finance committee, Penny Pritzker, gutted her own bank with subprime loans and has had to pay $460 million in penalties. Moreover, Wall Street abounds with Obama supporters who prospered on these subprime dealings.

What? What is this? Change the subject to Sarah Palin - you betcha!

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute.