Wednesday, October 1, 2008

State of the race

“It stands to reason that the financial situation has been a campaign ‘moment’ that has favored . So far, its effect is similar to him winning the nomination in June or heading to Europe in July,” writes at

“An additional few points are worth noting,” Mr. Cost said.

“First, the number of undecided voters has increased in the last three weeks, from a low of 6.3 percent of the electorate on 9/8 to 8.8 percent [Monday] night.

“Second, the polls themselves have been very volatile this month. The Gallup tracking poll had a crazy week last week, and individual pollsters are disagreeing with each other quite a bit. …

“Third, there is a good subset of the electorate that claims to make up its mind in October or November. That might be hard for political junkies who have been following every twist and turn for 18 months to believe - but it’s true! In 1996, 30 percent of respondents claimed to make up their minds a day to a month before the election. In 2000, that number was also 30 percent. In 2004, 21 percent of the public made that claim.

“These three points indicate that caution is required in projecting the state of the race forward. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty out there. …

“What really matters is if, when, and how this financial situation resolves itself. It is fair to say that, on a purely political basis, McCain needs a resolution more than Obama. …

“Nothing else is getting through right now. McCain needs this to drop off the front page as a first step to recover the ground he has lost in the last 20 days.”

Who’s in charge?

“In 1933, inherited an economic crisis. He understood that his first job was to restore confidence, to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done,” writes in the New York Times.

“This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation, and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. Instead, by rejecting the rescue package on Monday, they have made the psychological climate much worse,” Mr. Brooks said.

” is completely out of juice, having squandered his influence with Republicans as well as Democrats. is a smart moneyman, but an inept legislator. He was told time and time again that House Republicans would not support his bill, and his response was to get down on bended knee before .

“House leaders of both parties got wrapped up in their own negotiations, but did it occur to any of them that it might be hard to pass a bill fairly described as a bailout to Wall Street? Was the media darling too busy to notice the 95 Democrats who opposed his bill? Pelosi´s fiery speech at the crucial moment didn´t actually kill this bill, but did she have to act like a Democratic fund-raiser at the most important moment of her career?

“And let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no - the authors of this revolt of the nihilists. They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.”


“America has survived a feckless political class in the past, and it will again after this week. But Monday’s crash and burn of the Paulson plan on Capitol Hill reveals a Washington elite that has earned every bit of the disdain that Americans have for it. This crowd can’t even make sausage,” the Wall Street Journal said Tuesday in an editorial.

“The 228-205 defeat reflects badly on all concerned, starting with the Democrats who run the House. The majority party is responsible for assembling a majority vote, and failed in that fundamental task.

“Her highly partisan speech on the floor - blaming ‘right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation’ for the financial distress - is no excuse for Republicans to vote no. But it is indicative of the way she has governed for the past two years - like without the charm. The cynics are saying Ms. Pelosi deliberately tanked the bill by giving 95 Democrats a pass, knowing failure would hurt , and given her track record we can see why people would believe it,” the newspaper said.

“House Republicans share the blame, and not only because they opposed the bill by about two-to-one, 133-65. Their immediate response was to say that many of their members turned against the bill at the last minute because Ms. Pelosi gave her nasty speech. So they are saying that Republicans chose to oppose something they think is in the national interest merely because of a partisan slight. Thank heaven these guys weren’t at Valley Forge.

“The vote is also a rebuke for, who could barely explain how his securities auctions would work even as he showed disdain for House Republicans. did his best to provide cover for the members, but he is a spent political force. One GOP member who supported the bill told us that before Mr. Paulson spoke to House Republicans last week, the whip count in favor was about 70; afterwards, it was closer to 20. You can’t ask Congress for $700 billion without more modesty and a better explanation for how it would be used.”

Three’s a charm

plans to announce Thursday that he will seek to ease the term limits law so can serve a third term, the New York Post reports.

The mayor’s decision - in the midst of the nation’s economic crisis - came after the Post reported Tuesday that , the leading advocate for term limits, would support Mr. Bloomberg if he sought a third term.

Mr. Bloomberg was expected to announce his decision Thursday morning, the newspaper said.

Mr. Bloomberg is not legally allowed to seek a third term, but he will propose revising the law. Mr. Bloomberg is expected to cite the city’s unfolding financial crisis as reason for him to stay in office.

cGreg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or

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