However, while there are many objections to this proposition — further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text — it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8. While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8 — we should not eliminate anyone’s fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love.
Asked why Mr. McCain did not go to Capitol Hill after coming back to Washington to help with negotiations, [McCain adviser] Mr. Salter replied that “he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone.’’
After last night’s debate, John McCain went to his condo in Northern Virginia (one of eight or so houses he owns) and he’s been around there ever since. Why not head to the Hill to help with bailout negotiations? Well:
Asked why Mr. McCain did not go to Capitol Hill after coming back to Washington to help with negotiations, Mr. Salter replied that “he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone.’’
Which of course raises the question of why he had to pretend to suspend his campaign in order to rush physically to Washington last week.
During a House hearing on Thursday, Rep. Michele Bachmann pinned blame for financial crisis on President Clinton, “blacks,” and “other minorities.” To make her point, she read from an article written by Terry Jones in the right-wingpublication Investor’s Business Daily. Jones criticized the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and said Clinton was misguided for pushing “homeownership as a way to open the door for blacks and other minorities to enter the middle class.” Watch Bachmann’s speech, followed by sharp criticism from Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) here.
In a new letter to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) obtained by ThinkProgress, 31 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) call Bachmann’s claims “ridiculous” and ask Boehner whether her comments represent the views of the Republican Caucus:
It is clear from Rep. Bachmann’s comments that she believes that the bipartisan laws enacted over the past decade ensuring that minority communities have equal access to banking and other financial services are the cause of this financial situation. [...]
There is no evidence to support Rep. Bachmann’s assertion that “minorities” caused the current financial crisis. Laws designed to open opportunities for equal access to credit do not require banks or thrifts to make loans that are unsafe or unprofitable. In fact, laws like the CRA mandate exactly the opposite. [...] Additionally, research clearly shows that the majority of the predatory loans that have led us to this financial mess were originated by non-bank financial institutions and other entities that did NOT have a CRA obligation and lacked strong federal regulatory oversight. Shifting the blame for the current economic crisis to laws that allow equal access and opportunities to communities of color is ridiculous.
As members of the CBC, we simply ask if Rep. Bachmann’s position that it was lending to minority communities that caused the current financial crisis, represent the position of Republican Caucus?
The following table gives the power currently on-line, in Phase I (secured rights, exploration drilling), Phase II (confirmation being done), Phase III (final permits), and Phase IV (production drilling underway, facility under construction):
When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.
In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan’s case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the “four more years” option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test — not necessarily by “winning” the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.
I’ll just say I think McCain is playing with a bit of fire when he lets his contempt for Barack Obama show through so clearly. Those of us who follow politics obsessively are now well-informed about this aspect of the campaign, but most people probably don’t see it under ordinary circumstances. And whatever partisans on either side may think, or the fashionable “they both suck” cynics may say, surveys indicate that McCain and Obama are both popular and the key swing constituency is composed of people who have warm feelings toward both guys. That means, to me, that a negative, slashing, attacking approach is a totally reasonable approach but you’ve got to have the good. Sneering about how so-and-so “doesn’t understand” when he seems to understand just fine, and most people are predisposed to like him is a potential disaster.
Today, the Washington Post reveals more details about what happened during the White House meeting on Thursday between President Bush and top lawmakers. Despite indicating that his presence was pivotal in Washington for these bailout negotiations, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said almost nothing during the meeting with Bush:
Bush turned to McCain, who joked, “The longer I am around here, the more I respect seniority.” McCain then turned to Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to speak first.
Boehner was blunt. The plan Paulson laid out would not win the support of the vast majority of House Republicans. It had been improved on the edges, with an oversight board and caps on the compensation of participating executives. But it had to be changed at the core. He did not mention the insurance alternative, but Democrats did. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pressed Boehner hard, asking him if he really intended to scrap the deal and start again.
No, Boehner replied, he just wanted his members to have a voice. Obama then jumped in to turn the question on his rival: “What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?” he asked repeatedly. McCain did not answer.
McCain reportedly told his Senate colleages: “Just like Iraq, I’m not afraid to go it alone if I need to.”
When asked by the Washington Post whether McCain “will be able to spin the idea that he swooped in and saved the bailout bill,” House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) replied:
It depends on whether you guys get fooled or not and write that [bleep]. … Before McCain came in, we thought we were working. McCain comes in, it gets screwed up, now McCain leaves — I dunno, it’s like Jimmy Piersall.
Here’s a CAPAF analysis done months ago on the devastating impact that John McCain’s plans to cut taxes and then balance the budget entirely through spending cuts would have on poor Americans:
His tax cuts, meanwhile, would go overwhelmingly to the rich. And, strikingly, they would leave the bulk of the working poor with no help whatsoever. This is because McCain’s proposed cutbacks to “pork” would still leave him needing to slash $250 billion from the budget.
It’s a little terrifying to realize that I’m going to have to cover two more presidential debates. The research indicates that while debates don’t usually make a huge difference, they sometimes do and considering how few campaign effects can ever be shown to have a real impact on outcomes that makes them pretty darn important to cover. And yet: I usually find debates tedious. And while Bush-Gore pitted two pretty good debaters against each other and Bush-Kerry pitted a pretty good debater against a very good one, McCain-Obama is like a clash of the dwarfs. Looking back at the primaries, both men were distinctly unimpressive and managed to win their respective nominations through other means. The upshot is, in my view, just downright bad television.
Now, Biden-Palin — a matchup between Mr Gaffe and Ms Nonsense will at least be interesting because one or both of them could easily screw-up big-time. But McCain and Obama painfully telegraphing their potted zingers isn’t something I need to see more of.
In his May 2007 testimony, describing the infamous strong-arming of John Ashcroft done by Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales to reauthorize Bush’s surveillance program, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said he believed President Bush made a call to Ashcroft’s wife:
COMEY: Mrs. Ashcroft reported that a call had come through, and that as a result of that call Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales were on their way to the hospital to see Mr. Ashcroft.
SCHUMER: Do you have any idea who that call was from?
COMEY: I have some recollection that the call was from the president himself.
Days later, Bush dodged the question about his involvement in the matter, stating, “There’s a lot of speculation about what happened and what didn’t happen. I’m not going to talk about it.” Yesterday, however, Murray Waas wrote at The Atlantic that Alberto Gonzales is now telling investigators that Bush was directly involved:
According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit. … Gonzales has painted a picture of Bush as being very much involved when it came to his administration’s surveillance program.
The revelations come as Gonzales refused to tell the Senate in 2007 who sent him to the bedside of Ashcroft, repeatedly asserting, “We were there on behalf of the president of the United States.” Watch it, via TPM:
Vice President Cheney has also dodged whether he sent Gonzales and Card to the hospital, telling Larry King in July 2007, “I don’t recall that I was the one who sent them to the hospital.” “In describing Bush as having pressed him to engage in some of the more controversial actions regarding the warrantless surveillance program, Gonzales and his legal team are apparently attempting to lessen his own legal jeopardy,” Wass writes.