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Thread: Barack Obama, not John McCain, shows steady hand in economic crisis

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Default Barack Obama, not John McCain, shows steady hand in economic crisis

    Obama, Not McCain, Shows Steady Hand in Crisis: Albert R. Hunt

    Commentary by Albert R. Hunt
    Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- For the first time since 1932 a presidential election is taking place in the midst of a genuine financial crisis. The reaction of the candidates was revealing.
    John McCain, railing against the ``greed and corruption'' of Wall Street, won the first round of the sound-bite war. He came out with a television commercial on the ``crisis'' early on Monday of last week, and over the next three days gave more than a dozen broadcast interviews. He and running mate Sarah Palin would reform Wall Street and regulate the nefarious fat cats that caused this fiasco.
    It was a great start. It then went downhill as he stumbled over his record of championing deregulation, claimed the economy was fundamentally strong, and flip-flopped over the government takeover of American International Group Inc.
    For his part, Barack Obama didn't come across as passionately outraged and wasn't as omnipresent or as specific.
    More revealing, though, was to whom both candidates turned on that panic-ridden morning of Sept. 15, and how the messages evolved before and after that day.
    McCain called Martin Feldstein, the well-known Republican economist and Reagan administration adviser, John Taylor of Stanford University, who served in President George W. Bush's Treasury and Carly Fiorina, once the chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co.
    Obama called former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, and former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Larry Summers.
    It was a mismatch.
    Towering Volcker
    Feldstein, for all his intellect, was ineffective in the Reagan administration; then-White House deputy chief of staffDick Darman cut him out of important action. Volcker, first at the Treasury and then as chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a towering figure in every way.
    Taylor is a well-regarded academic. In four years as undersecretary of the Treasury, he left few footprints. Summers, as both deputy secretary and secretary, left a lot.
    Fiorina is smart and quick; to put it charitably, Rubin will forget more about financial markets than she'll ever know.
    When it comes to governance, and either Democrat Obama or Republican McCain will inherit this miserable financial mess, the best guide is who they talked to, what they said, where they've been, and how knowledgeable they are.
    Obama's record and earlier speeches belie some of his more populist rhetoric. Yet they also suggest, as do his advisers, a much more activist government role than is likely under a McCain-Palin administration.
    Comfortable With Subject
    Obama called for the overhaul of the financial-regulatory system and tougher enforcement well before this past week's traumas.
    Detached observers who watched him last week, especially in a Bloomberg Television interview, were taken by how conversant and comfortable he was on the subject, despite his thin record. Few detached observers came away with that impression watching the Arizona senator.
    Much of the re-regulatory fever focuses on the Federal Reserve and any new agencies created to clean up the fiasco. Central, however, will be a more vigorous Securities and Exchange Commission, or whatever holds that investor-protection function.
    McCain displayed a sudden interest in the SEC last week when he demanded that Chairman Chris Cox be fired. When his campaign was asked if the senator had ever criticized the current commission's performance before, they failed to respond.
    All For Obama
    Tellingly, three former SEC chairmen, a Democrat, Arthur Levitt, and two Republicans, David Ruder and Bill Donaldson, have endorsed Obama. Levitt is a board member of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.
    Donaldson, who was tapped by Bush to head the SEC, says Obama called him last year about the financial-regulatory problems. He has never heard from McCain.
    ``Obama has been talking about the need for better financial regulation well before this crisis hit and has done some real thinking about it,'' says Donaldson, a lifelong Republican. ``McCain comes across as someone who suddenly realized changes have to be made.''
    There is a case for McCain: it's if you believe in less regulation, that the government should get out of the way and let the markets work their will.
    No `Real Understanding'
    ``I don't think anyone who wants to increase the burden of government regulation and high taxes has any real understanding of economics,'' McCain said this spring at an Inez, Kentucky, town hall meeting, where he also declared ``the fundamentals of our economy are good.''
    Until recently, he repeatedly invoked Ronald Reagan's calls for less regulation. He voted for the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley corporate-governance regulations -- then last year said he regretted that vote.
    McCain isn't averse to some regulations. He has strongly championed a greater federal role in campaign finance, tobacco and boxing. In each case, he saw a clear villain -- special- interest money, a tobacco product that puts profits ahead of lives, and unscrupulous boxing promoters.
    There has been little evidence that prior to last week he ever put financial firms in this category. Although he assailed excessive corporate compensation last week, McCain has opposed a tepid House-passed bill that would give corporate shareholders the right to cast a non-binding vote on compensation of top executives.
    Turning to Gramm
    The person he has turned to most for counsel on such matters is his ex-Senate colleague Phil Gramm. Gramm is a political Gordon Gekko, a brainy economist with a Darwinian view of markets and public policy.
    It's not easy to remember what the financial world looked like 10 days ago much less 10 months ago. Decisions that will be reached after this election will be the most important since the 1930s.
    Obama, as more than a few Democrats are complaining, hasn't been as quick, sharp -- or demagogic -- as they would like. McCain has been beset by deeper difficulties: an inchoate and inconsistent message that seems to reflect political exigencies more than principled convictions.
    On the financial crisis, last week belonged to Obama.
    (Albert R. Hunt is the executive editor for Washington at Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
    Obama, Not McCain, Shows Steady Hand in Crisis
    At least Obama was actually taking an interest in the economy before the shit hit the fan. But McCain has Sarah Palin to consult with.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    she can see the economy fom her house ya'll
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    ^^ And we know she's giving him GREAT pointers, since she's so well-versed on everything else in this big cruel world.

    That Carly Fiorina didn't exactly help Mccain's case either.

    I do like how Obama comes across as really collected all the time, not like he's going to lose his shit any second and talk about Bomb, bomb, bombing countries with insane leaders at their head.

    It's much more comforting than say, someone who thinks Spain is in Latin America.

    Poor Espana. They probably hate us even more now.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I wish obama would get more pissed off though.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Obama can't really get too pissed off. If he does, he'll get painted as the 'angry black man.' He needs to remain calm, but stay tough and keep hammering McCain.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    ^^ Right. But I do hope Mccain pulls one of his RAGE stints soon, as he's apt to do! HAHAHAHA

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    ^^I'm waiting for that. Hopefully, it'll be during the debates.

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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    Obama can't really get too pissed off. If he does, he'll get painted as the 'angry black man.' He needs to remain calm, but stay tough and keep hammering McCain.
    I agree. He needs to show calm, fair, thoughtful leadership. You know, what has been missing in Washington for 8 years.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingcap72 View Post
    ^^I'm waiting for that. Hopefully, it'll be during the debates.

    Me, too. Hee hee. We're so bad, King.

    ::Rubbing hands together, raising eyebrows mischeviously::

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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmmdee View Post
    Me, too. Hee hee. We're so bad, King.

    ::Rubbing hands together, raising eyebrows mischeviously::
    But it feels so right to be bad, C. It feels so right.

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    Elite Member cmmdee's Avatar
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    ^^ You're right!

    Muahahahahahahaha!

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    Elite Member cupcake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    I wish obama would get more pissed off though.
    I want to see him stutter and shake his finger
    My grace is sufficient for you, for my my strength is made perfect in weakness...I love you dad!
    Rip Mom

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    Elite Member tkdgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupcake View Post
    I want to see him stutter and shake his finger
    How about yell at an old lady in a townhall? Yep, its on YouTube.

    A government big enough to give you everything you want,
    is strong enough to take everything you have. ~Thomas Jefferson

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    Elite Member ana-mish-ana's Avatar
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    Why did he yell at her ? lol
    Was this the sweetie thing?

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