- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008


“Now that both campaigns have lost all of their credibility by distorting each other’s records and agendas, where does the 2008 presidential contest stand?” Stuart Rothenberg writes in Roll Call.

“I don’t have data on this, but I’m willing to bet that at this point in the race most voters don’t believe anything that they see or hear in Sen. Barack Obama’s (Ill.) and Sen. John McCain’s (Ariz.) TV ads, or from talking heads supporting the candidates. I know that I don’t,” Mr. Rothenberg said.

“I’m tired of the bizarre distortions and half-truths, and of the endless platitudes. McCain, the straight-talker, isn’t doing that anymore, and Obama is equally bad. Both are running blatantly misleading campaigns.

“So when I see an ad, the first thing I think about is how it might be a distortion. McCain wants the war in Iraq to last at least 100 years? Obama wants to teach sex ed to kindergartners? McCain’s Social Security plan would have cost senior citizens all of their retirement savings? Obama wants to raise everyone’s taxes?

“How stupid do they think we are? Pretty stupid, apparently.”


“The classic definition of a gaffe is when a politician accidentally tells the truth, and specialists like Joe Biden can work wonders with the form. On Tuesday Barack Obama’s running mate blew an easy question about coal, revealing volumes about liberal energy politics,” the Wall Street Journal said Thursday in an editorial.

“Working the rope line in Maumee, Ohio, the senator was asked by an environmentalist why he and Mr. Obama support ‘clean coal.’ ‘We’re not supporting clean coal,’ Mr. Biden responded. Then, riffing on China’s breakneck construction of new coal plants, he continued, ‘No coal plants here in America. Build them, if they’re going to build them, over there.’

“Coal happens to be the indispensable workhorse of the U.S. power system, providing about 50 percent of the country’s electricity. Many Democrats nonetheless despise coal — because of pollution before the era of scrubbers, but especially now because of carbon emissions. Al Gore favors an outright moratorium on coal-fired power in the name of climate change. Meanwhile, any scheme to tax and regulate carbon — like the cap-and-trade program backed by Mr. Obama and John McCain — would hit coal first and hardest, effectively banishing it from the U.S. energy mix.

“Mr. Biden, then, only stated an obvious if politically unutterable truth. The real costs of green ambitions won’t be paid by well-heeled coastal liberals, but will fall disproportionately on the Southern and Midwestern states that depend on coal for jobs and power. The blue-collar voters of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and so forth will get hurt most — notwithstanding Mr. Biden’s campaign reinvention as the scrapper from Scranton.”


“Reading the hyperventilation about John McCain’s proposal to put off the first presidential debate until the bill to address the financial crisis is solved, both pro and con, leads me to a stark conclusion: This presidential campaign has driven the political class in the United States to the brink of psychosis,” John Podhoretz writes in a blog at www.commentarymagazine.com.

“Calm down a little and you can see that, no matter what McCain intended by his ‘suspension’ of his campaign, what he is doing is relatively modest. He’s not going to have rallies for a few days and he’s not going to run television commercials, and he’s proposing that a debate scheduled a year ago before anyone could have imagined we would be in the midst of a political-legislative-fiscal earthquake be postponed — not canceled but postponed.

“The only people on earth who are actually damaged by such a postponement are the staff of Ole Miss, where it is to take place, and the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sat around for months trying to pick just the right dates. Otherwise, could it possibly matter that the first debate might take place not on Sept. 26 but on Oct. 2? And that the vice-presidential debate might have to move from Oct. 2 to, say, Oct. 7? And that the Oct. 7 debate be moved to Oct. 22? (Yes, there might be a baseball playoff game on Oct. 22. So?) …

“This cannot possibly be a major issue. But it is being treated as though it is an unprecedented move, a desperation ploy, a brilliant political stroke, a game-changer, a Hail Mary pass — pick your cliche. Why?

“Because just like the candidates themselves, the pundit class has been living with this race foremost in their minds since January 2007. That’s 20 months of pulse-taking, speech-watching, poll-studying, debate-sifting, strategy-analyzing intensity seven days a week. That really is unprecedented.”


“It’s a fact of life in Washington presidential politics: No matter how experienced you are when winning the White House, candidates and new presidents have only one source of battle-tested experts to choose from when setting new policy or hiring new Cabinet heads. And that’s whoever served in the previous administration of their party,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column at www.usnews.com.

“So, it should be no surprise that Sen. Barack Obama, who’s been working on his economic positions for months, has turned to the old Clinton team that brought the country great economic wealth, until the stock market collapsed when the Internet bubble popped,” Mr. Bedard said.

“The Clinton people he has been reaching out to for advice include former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, former economic adviser Laura Tyson, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, former Labor Secretary Bob Reich, and former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley. ‘These,’ says Obama’s able spokesman Robert Gibbs, are the ‘core of people he speaks to.’

“And a surprise visitor to his economic team has been former Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, dumped in 2002. Any of them could become part of Obama’s economic team should he win in November, with a lot of focus on Daley being Treasury secretary.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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