- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCAIN’S GAFFE

“What is John McCain thinking?” John Fund asks at www.opinionjournal.com.

“First, Mr. McCain takes a wild swing by saying as president he would have fired Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, for ‘betraying the public trust.’ It turns out a president doesn’t have the statutory authority to do that, and Mr. Cox has been a political asset in dealing with the financial meltdown of last week. Indeed, the day after his call for Mr. Cox’s firing, Mr. McCain retreated and called him ‘a good man,’ ” Mr. Fund said.

“Now Mr. McCain has compounded his error by floating the name of Andrew Cuomo, the pugilistic Democratic New York attorney general, as his possible nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. McCain told CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ that Mr. Cuomo had ‘respect’ and ‘prestige,’ praising his tenure as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Clinton administration.

“Mr. McCain must be looking at a different record than I am. Mr. Cuomo was a political grandstander at HUD, ranging far afield to file frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. He also spent taxpayer money to hire such firms as Booz Allen Hamilton, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young to paper over [foul-ups] at his agency.

“Among the problems created by Mr. Cuomo while at HUD were what the liberal Village Voice called last month ‘a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country’s current crisis.’

“A Voice investigation found that Mr. Cuomo ‘took actions that - in combination with many other factors - helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded “kickbacks” to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.’ ”

DANGEROUS MANTRA

“If Barack Obama loses the 2008 election, liberal hell will break loose,” Dennis Prager writes in Human Events.

“Seven weeks before the 2008 presidential election, liberals are warning America that if Barack Obama loses, it is because Americans are racist. Of course, that this means that Democrats (and independents) are racist, since Republicans will vote Republican regardless of the race of the Democrat, is an irony apparently lost on the Democrats making these charges,” Mr. Prager said.

“That an Obama loss will be due to racism is becoming as normative a liberal belief as ‘Bush Lied, People Died,’ a belief that has generated intense rage among many liberals. But ‘Obama lost because of white racism’ will be even more enraging. Rage over the Iraq War has largely focused on President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. But if Obama loses, liberal rage will focus on millions of fellow Americans and on American society.

“And it could become a rage the likes of which America has not seen in a long time, if ever. It will first and foremost come from within black America. The deep emotional connection that nearly every black American has to an Obama victory is difficult for even empathetic non-blacks to measure. A major evangelical pastor told me that even evangelical black pastors who share every conservative value with white evangelical pastors, including pro-life views on abortion, will vote for Obama. They feel their very dignity is on the line.

“That is why the growing chorus - already nearing unanimity - of liberal commentators and politicians ascribing an Obama loss to American racism is so dangerous.”

SENATE KEYS

“Nine Republican-held Senate seats continue to be at great risk, giving Democrats at least a theoretical possibility of getting to 60 seats after the November elections,” Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

“Increasingly, it appears that three seats could well determine whether the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee can reach that magic number: North Carolina, Minnesota and Mississippi.

“Republican nominees in five GOP Senate seats are now running behind their Democratic opponents in at least some public polling: former Gov. Jim Gilmore in Virginia, Rep. Steve Pearce in New Mexico, former Rep. Bob Schaffer in Colorado, Sen. Ted Stevens in Alaska and Sen. John Sununu in New Hampshire.

“One other GOP incumbent, Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, appears to be in a difficult race with challenger Jeff Merkley, Democrat, based both on some limited polling and Smith’s campaign decisions.

“Two Republicans under attack, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, appear to be comfortably ahead and likely to win.

“That leaves races involving Sens. Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina, Norm Coleman in Minnesota and Roger Wicker of Mississippi as the three most critical that will decide how close Senate Democrats get to 60 seats in the next Congress.”

KEEPING IT CLOSE

“Time, like the New York Times, is pretty much an extension of the Obama campaign, so it must have caused great gnashing of teeth around the magazine to read Jay Newton-Small’s piece recognizing that Obama is rolling up the carpet in state after state he has spent millions on,” Hugh Hewitt writes in a blog at www.townhall.com.

“It is already clear that 10 states hold the keys to the White House, and that McCain and Palin are doing very well in two of them, Florida and Ohio, while Obama struggles to hold on to blue states Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin and McCain tries to keep Colorado, Iowa, Nevada and New Mexico red. Dems are shaking their heads that after all this hype and fundraising and with a fresh round of economic woes, Obama hasn’t pulled away. Chris Cillizza has the latest round of state polls, and in only one of them - Wisconsin - is Obama currently outside the margin of error,” Mr. Hewitt said.

“Dems see a situation where the rookie Obama can stumble and hemorrhage support in a single news cycle while the veteran McCain just keeps it close or stays a point or two ahead in key states and wins at the close. It isn’t what they expected. It wasn’t what they were promised. It is why they are so much more nervous than the GOP.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or e-mail.


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