The Torture of Hope?

Barack Obama says his tax policy is intended to “spread the wealth,” and Joe Biden says electing Barack Obama is guaranteed to produce an international crisis such as JFK faced. IOW, the closest thing to nuclear war we’ve ever seen. Joe rounds that out by saying Obama will need support because “it won’t be obvious that we are making the right response.”

To summarize, the top Democrats claim: If Obama is elected there will be socialist fiscal policy, and America’s enemies will be emboldened to attack a rookie who will appear to be making all the wrong moves.

It’s like Obama and Biden are Karl Rove plants. In a sane world the election would be over.

Clown Watch was interrupted by other duties and a potentially heavy load right after the VP debate when Biden confidently misstated a dozen or more “facts.”

After this, it’s over. McCain could never catch up.

The Winner

Buffoonery Joe

Clown Watch should probably have a special category for Joe Biden, he’s hard to keep up with.

Biden said that his own campaign’s ad criticizing John McCain’s computer use was “Terrible.” 2 bozos, with a 1 bozo deduction for honesty.

When the federal government announced the AIG bailout, Biden said it was a bad idea. The official campaign stance at the time was neither support for nor opposition to the bailout. 1 bozo.

In Ohio, Biden said he’s against clean-coal technology. That was Biden’s stance in the primaries, and opposed to the Obama campaign’s supposed current stance. 2 bozos. 1 for saying it in Ohio and 1 for contradicting The One.

Biden said that when the markets crashed in 1929, “Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’ ” FDR was first elected in 1932. No consumer television existed in 1929. A bozo for each, and a bonus bozo for ignorance. (3)

Biden says, “We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people… It’s time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help get America out of the rut.” 3 bozos, 1 for the first episode and 2 more for repeating it. (Previously mentioned here, but not tallied.)

Biden claimed the White House sent Undersecretary Of State William Burns to meet directly with Iranian officials in Tehran. Never happened. 2 bozos.

Biden quoted Admiral Mullen as saying the U.S. was not winning in Iraq. Biden: “Barack Obama has long recognized, unlike John [McCain], what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has recently said. This is not my quote, the quote from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He said ‘We are not winning in Iraq.’ Not, not Barack Obama, that’s a quote from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

In fact, in July, Mullen, addressing Obama’s plan that would remove all combat troops by a date certain, said, “I think the consequences could be very dangerous. I’m convinced that making reductions based on conditions on the ground are very important.” Mullen NEVER suggested we were not winning in Iraq.

3 bozos.

Joe “I’m the guy that originally wrote the “assault weapons” ban” Biden said that Obama “Ain’t taking my shotguns… If he tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem… I guarantee you Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns, so don’t buy that malarkey.” I believe this is probably true. For a privileged Washington DC insider, an over and under shotgun or 2 might survive Obama’s intentions to tax ammunition out of existence, ban all semi-automatic firearms and all handguns. It was stupid for Biden to remind us:

…[When] Obama was a state senator in Illinois, … he supported increasing federal excise taxes on guns and ammunition by 500 percent, banning compact handguns, limiting the frequency of gun purchases, banning the sale of guns (except antiques) at gun shows, charging a person with a felony offense if his gun were stolen and used in a crime, prohibiting people under age 21 from possessing guns, increasing the gun dealer licensing fee, prohibiting dealers from conducting business at gun shows or within five miles of a school or park, and banning police agencies from selling old service firearms to generate funds to buy new firearms for their officers.

When Obama says he supports the 2nd Amendment after he was against it, he’s simply lying about the meaning of the Amendment and the word “support.” So is Biden:

Biden has voted for, and actively pushed, major anti-gun bills, including those:

* Banning semi-automatic firearms;
* Banning hunting, sporting and self-defense ammunition;
* Banning magazines holding more than 10 rounds; and
* Imposing a waiting period on handgun sales.

Biden also voted against the law that prohibits lawsuits designed to bankrupt law-abiding firearm manufacturers and dealers. And he voted against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices who support the Second Amendment.

The Brady Campaign sums it up in a straightforward fashion: “Senator Biden has been a consistent supporter of the Brady Campaign.” According to the gun prohibition activist group, “Senator Biden was a key player in the fight for the federal assault weapons ban that passed in 1994. He also worked hard for passage of the Brady Law (sic).”

3 bozos. 2 for the reminder to check their 2nd Amendment crudentials, and 1 for clinging to his Beretta.
Total: 18

Obama: 104

McCain: 69

Clown watch update

Here are some more bozos for McCain on the credit crisis:

While Andrew Cuomo, McCain’s choice to replace Chris Cox as SEC head, was secretary of HUD he wanted Fannie Mae in the subprime market.

From a McCain speech: Fannie & Freddy were, “forcing mortgages on people who couldn’t afford them.”

Mr. McCain’s campaign manager adviser Rick Davis was paid $2 million as a lobbyist for Fannie and Freddie. This looks worse on McCain than Raines and Johnson do for Obama, even if they were consecutive Fannie CEO’s. McCain’s brand is damaged more.

3 bozos for Cuomo, 4 for the “forcing people to take mortgages” comment and 2 for Davis.

McCain 69.

Obama 86.

Comrades rejoice!

This week we have witnessed the nationalization of the largest insurance company in the world AND the assumption of an unknown amount of really bad debt (I’m guessing a trillion dollars) by the United States government. This means you.

In some ways this is poetic justice, since it’s the government that caused the problem, no matter what discussion of greed on Wall Street may issue forth from the Obama or McCain campaigns. This means you are experiencing poetic justice.

Americans have voted, over many years, for the people who created this mess. Americans don’t know their de Tocqueville.

The prospects for a successful democracy might be defined in modern terms as directly proportional to the percentage of informed citizens who look to their self-interest beyond the next paycheck divided by the percentage of all those who view themselves as “victims.” Call it the democracy/personal accountability acceptance ratio.

There is no country with a high rating, and ours continually degrades. This was a week where some vultures came home to roost.

As John McCain lurches from one contradictory position to another, forgetting even the minimal credentials he once had on economic issues, Barack Obama remains bereft even of “principles” among which to vacillate. The credit market crisis has been illuminating.

On the moderately statist wing, McCain’s deregulation credentials have been tossed under the bus in a fit of panic where he pretended calling for the firing of the SEC head actually contributed to discussing the problem. And where’s the guy standing up for his vote for GrammLeachBliley, a deregulation that arguably helped in the current crisis (see the 3 previous links)?

In the statist wheelhouse, Obama hasn’t had to distance himself from Franklin Raines (economic advisor) or Jim Johnson (resigned head of VP search committee), both former Fannie Mae CEOs. He hasn’t had to answer any questions about lobbyists, despite being recipient of the 3rd largest amount of Fannie/Freddie campaign contributions in his short and unexceptional career as Senator.

The Federal Reserve, the SEC, and especially Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac didn’t work right. We had sufficient regulation in place, but populist politics, not the market, trumped common sense.

For example, both McCain and Bush called for reform of Fannie and Freddie as early as 5 years ago.

Here’s the lead of a New York Times story on Sept. 11, 2003: “The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.”

Bush tried to act. Who stopped him? Congress, especially Democrats with their deep financial and patronage ties to the two government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie and Freddie.

“These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis,” said Rep. Barney Frank, then ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. “The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.”

It’s pretty clear who was on the right side of that debate.

As for presidential contender John McCain, just two years after Bush’s plan, McCain also called for badly needed reforms to prevent a crisis like the one we’re now in.

“If Congress does not act,” McCain said in 2005, “American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system and the economy as a whole.”

Sounds like McCain was spot on.

But his warnings, too, were ignored by Congress.

The “reform” that did occur was watered down by Barney Frank (see also), who has a lot to answer for.

While we’re on Democrats who have a lot to answer for, and while the entire mess can’t be blamed on the Carter era Community Reinvestment Act, that Democrat inspired law was the genesis of most of today’s credit market problems. It required lenders to issue the type of loans now defaulting. Add to that overly-cheap credit from the Federal Reserve for overly-long, laxity at the SEC in administering leveraging rules for Merrill, Goldman, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns, and Lehman, and frost it with cozy government “run” “lenders” encouraging corporatists like Angelo Mozilo.

There was plenty of “regulation,” but typically, it was a lack of regulation of politicians that caused the problems. Not the market. Not capitalism.

The regulation of politicians is provided for in the Constitution. It’s why they ignore and denigrate it. American’s populo-tropism enables them, and it’s at the bottom of this reality check. That’s why McCain and Obama both took refuge in Huey Long territory in a crisis. That’s where the votes are.

So, Obama and McCain each get 50 bozos for their stupid populist pandering.

Obama gets bonus bozos for Raines, Johnson (5 each), his $105,000 in campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie (2 each) and his redistributionist “tax-cut for 95% of the middle class” when only 40% of those he targets even pay taxes (5 for the socialism and 5 for the newspeak he applies to the term “tax-cut”).

McCain gets another 5 for pushing me back toward a 3rd party vote. He reminded me why I dislike him so much: When he self identifies with any problem, there’s no limit to his abandonment of principle – including the Constitution (which he’s seen fit to trash in the past). A call for regulation from John McCain is a call for the pragmatic suspension of civil rights.

He gets a 1 bozo reduction for calling for oversight 3 years ago that might have somewhat mitigated Fanron/Fredron.

McCain 60.

Obama 86.

Barney Frank Update 10:50 PM

And another from Arnold Kling.

Guns & Poses

At Michigan Taxes Too Much, jgillman notes that that guy on the radio lately telling us Barack Obama supports Second Amendment rights is a shill for gun-control fanatics: Ray Schoenke, the guy in the “Obama loves gun owners” advertisements..

It all depends on what the meaning of “rights” is, I guess. Obama’s actual agenda is examined here.

No surprise about Schoenke. The NRA has exposed this poseur many times over.

One example:

AHSA [American Hunters And Shooters Association] was created with the specific intent to provide political cover for anti-gun politicians by allowing them to claim support from a “sportsmen’s” group. In truth, the anti-gun credentials of AHSA’s leadership is well documented. For instance, AHSA president Ray Schoenke has a long history of giving political donations to some of the most anti-gun politicians, including Al Gore, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, Bill Clinton, Dianne Feinstein and Ted Kennedy. In 2000, Schoenke donated $5,000 to Handgun Control, Inc. (now the Brady Campaign) and the Ray and Holly Schoenke Foundation also made donations to the Brady Campaign. AHSA Board member John Rosenthal remains the leader of Stop Handgun Violence, the Massachusetts anti-gun group. And one of the leading organizers of AHSA is Bob Ricker, who has been a paid expert witness against gun manufacturers in a number of reckless lawsuits.

…While the NRA counts membership in the millions, AHSA can only claim a few hundred members and has done nothing to advance the issues important to sportsmen. On top of that, in its first foray into Second Amendment issues, AHSA chose to stand alongside one of the leading anti-gun politicians in America: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. AHSA supported Bloomberg’s effort to repeal the law that protects confidential law enforcement data from disclosure that threatens the privacy of gun owners and the safety of law enforcement officers—all so that Bloomberg could use the information in reckless lawsuits against the firearms industry…

If you doubt he’s actually anti-Second Amendment, Schoenke’s bona fides include regular participation at the Huffington Post.

Definitely a 2 bozo achievement for Obama.

Obama 12.

McCain 6.

Riskophiliacs Anonymous

They’re both out of touch, and they both think we’re ignorant. Unfortunately, they’re right about many of us.

While Barack Obama and John McCain try to out-populist each other by blaming the current financial crisis on the “greedy people” they practically forced to make bad loans by A) always bailing the assholes out, and B) supporting federal policies encouraging loans to people who could not pay them back; there is some unsettling anti-populist news for Obama from the Onion:
Portrayal Of Obama As Elitist Hailed As Step Forward For African Americans

I’m waiting for Charlie Gibson to ask either of these dolts what association tulips have with economics. It’s a hell of a lot clearer than the “Bush Doctrine.”

The Obama and McCain camps each get 4 bozos today.

Obama gets 1 extra for the MSM participation in his BS, and McCain gets 1 extra for the Keating 5 and another for pushing Sarbanes-Oxley.

Obama 10. McCain 6.

Broken imbed fixed. 24-Sep

Clown watch

Today, TOC inaugurates “Clown watch,” a sporadic examination of foolishness, gaffes and blunders from our major party Presidential campaigns.

I had been intending to start this awhile ago, but didn’t get around to it. This delay, as we will see, benefits the Dem/MSM axis. If it had started earlier that team would have established a lead likely to have been insurmountable.

TOC reserves the right to modify how this is scored, but some examples will illustrate how the Dem/MSM bloc would have obtained a commanding lead. One “bozo” is assigned for each gaffe. Repetitions of the gaffe by the gaffer, or official surrogate, earn double the previous score for each day the original mistake is repeated/defended.

For example, Obama’s “properly inflated tires would save more oil than we’d get from drilling,” earns a bozo for when he first said it and then 2 bozos for repeating it. Then 4 bozos for repeating it again.

Additional bozos are given when the MSM picks up the gaffe and heavily defends it. A bozo for each story would be excessive, and in any case too much work to track, so this score will be somewhat subjective. In our example, I give the MSM 2 bozos for keeping this story alive and 2 more bozos for ignoring objective refutations. (Where it is simply a matter of policy interpretation, semantics or exaggeration, no points will be awarded.)

For the tire inflation episode, then, the Dem/MSM team would have received 11 bozos.

For Obama’s “lipstick on a pig” remark: 1 bozo for being unable to recognize the problem when he said it (despite rabid cheers from the crowd) and 2 for repeating it on David Letterman. 1 “above and beyond the call” bozo for describing the “logic” of the comparison to Letterman.

On the GOP side we’d award 1 bozo to McCain for not knowing how many houses he has and none to the MSM. There were McCain defenders, but not among the MSM.

On Charlie Gibson’s “Bush doctrine” gotcha, the MSM would get 1 bozo and Sarah Palin 1/2 (As Charles Krauthammer notes, there’s good reason she asked for clarification, but stating some version of the Bush doctrine would have been better.)

This brings us to today’s inaugural award; 1 bozo to Obama’s campaign ad criticizing John McCain for being unable to send an email. The intent of the ad seems to be to paint McCain as an antediluvian Luddite for whom younger people should be embarrassed to vote. If younger people had ever actually voted in the numbers the Dems keep predicting, there might be some logic to it. However, young apathetics independents (Who else will be swayed to vote for Obama because McCain doesn’t use email?) appear no more likely to vote in 2008 than has been true historically. Worse, the probability is that the ad will alienate older, more likely voters who do not use email.

That, however, is far from the end of it. It is true that McCain does not email. However, as noted in this Forbes story from May 2000, it’s not because he’s technologically ignorant.

Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.

McCain also can’t comb his own hair or tie his shoes because of the torture he suffered 40 years ago. That would have made an even better ad, right? Go for the “disdain for old cripples” demographic.

The same Google search the technically superior Obama campaign failed to run would further have revealed McCain was instrumental in defining internet campaigning. Forbes again:

McCain himself was convinced early on that the Internet had to play a critical role in the campaign. Time and again it allowed him to leverage his money and his organization. “In the Virginia primary,” McCain told me, “we needed a lot of petitions signed to get on the ballot. We had the form available to download off the Internet and got 17,000 signatures with very little trouble.”

Again, this is from McCain’s 2000 campaign. So, the ad is fundamentally wrong in its criticism of McCain’s technology savvy, it insults his service to the United States by poking fun at disability and reveals Obama’s sloppy ignorance. 2 bozos to Obama. I’m restraining myself.

Finally, because of Sarah Palin, Obama was forced to respond to the executive experience question by claiming that running his own campaign proved his mettle. Further, since he has always contended that his judgment makes him a viable President, he gets points for contradicting his own message twice in one ad. He can’t throw himself under the bus, can he?

As of today: Obama – 4 bozos. McCain – 0.

Suggestions for this feature are welcome.

H/T Powerline