I have a new mini-article in Salon, “A can’t-lose debate strategy for Joe Biden.” It explains how Biden can win the debate and score big points with independents by bringing up clean energy and global warming as much as possible. This may require more message discipline than the Dem VP nominee has. The article ends by noting, “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Biden must not screw up.”
The Senate approves the deal heartily. The “sweeteners” used to (a) bolster support in the Senate, and (b) give House members a pretext for changing their mind are, as is the nature of these things, something of a mixed bag. Raising the FDIC cap is a no-brainer and really should be done even if there were no bank panic as the $100,000 figure hasn’t been adjusted for inflation in a long time. Indeed, they should probably index it to inflation.
The Senate voted 74-25 tonight to approve a $700 billion plan to stabilize U.S. financial markets. The plan gained additional support with the inclusion of an “increase in Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation coverage of bank deposits, from $100,000 to $250,000, as well as extensions of popular tax credits and a freeze on the expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax.” The issue now goes back to the House, which failed to pass the bailout on Monday.
Both Sens. Obama and McCain voted for the legislation.
In response to Kevin’s question it’s because the conservative movement is, at this point, 85 percent dullards and 10 percent clever charlatans.
So to be clear on the McCain campaign’s official view of Sarah Palin, she doesn’t have what it takes to do interviews with the mainstream media. They’re too mean and unfair. But she does have what it takes to negotiate an international treaty or see the country through a banking crisis. Talk to Wolf Blitzer? No can do. Help make sure that an India-Pakistan border crisis doesn’t become a nuclear war resulting in the deaths of tens of millions? Sure. She’s up to it.
Pentagon Report: 37% Of Iraqis Feel Safe Outside Their Homes, 24% Have ‘Confidence’ In Foreign Troops
Yesterday, the Pentagon released its Quarterly Report to Congress on Iraq. “While security has improved dramatically, the fundamental character of the conflict in Iraq remains unchanged — a communal struggle for power and resources,” the report said.
Buried on page 28 of the report, the Pentagon notes, “Iraqis’ perception of the security situation is a mixed bag.” According to research from August 2008, “73% of Iraqis described the security situation in their neighborhoods as calm,” a 12 point increase from November 2007.
Of particular note, however, is the disparity between Iraqi’s sense of security in their own neighborhoods and their sense of security outside their neighborhoods. Seventy-four percent feel “safe and secure” in their neighborhoods but only 37 percent feel safe traveling outside of their neighborhoods:
The disparity suggests that Iraqis are increasingly confined to their own neighborhoods as a result of sectarian tensions. A new study released by UCLA concluded that ethnic violence was the primary factor in reducing violence in Iraq, conclusions also echoed by the GAO. Indeed, Baghdad is now a “city of shadows” characterized by blast walls separating Shi’a and Sunni.
The report adds that as of August, 84 percent of Iraqis had confidence in the Iraqi Army to protect them from threats and 81 percent in the Iraqi Police. Far fewer have “confidence” in foreign troops:
Confidence in the Multi-National Forces, armed groups, and militias was much lower at 24%, 11%, and 11%, respectively.
Tonight, CBS’s Katie Couric released her latest interviews with Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), during which she asked both of them about Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court. Palin could not identify any other Supreme Court case she disagreed with, but said as Vice President she “wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things” anyway:
Couric: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
Palin: Well, let’s see. There’s, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …
Couric: Can you think of any?
Palin: Well, I could think of, any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
Answering the same question, Biden discussed the Supreme Court case overturning the Violence Against Women Act.
If I may state the obvious, the fact that Gwen Ifill apparently has a forthcoming book titled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama is a huge advantage for Sarah Palin. If you look at the demographic breakdowns of any poll, you could probably count on one hand the number of college educated African-American women who are favorably disposed toward Palin. But because of the book, and because Ifill has a reputation as a professional to maintain, she’s now in a situation where she’ll bend over backwards to avoid appearing too hard on Palin.
Meanwhile, if you watch Palin’s interviews you’ll see that she’s perfectly capable of parrying an initial question with some nonsense and then shifting to her pre-prepared talking points. What was so devastating about the Katie Couric interview is that Couric would gently — very gently — prod Palin with follow-ups that revealed she doesn’t know anything about anything. But with this cloud of suspicion hanging over her, Ifill will probably treat Palin with kid gloves and she’ll be able to turn in the sort of competent performances she offered on the Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity shows.
“We have argued for five years now that efforts to build the clean energy economy needed to be centrally defined around energy independence not global warming.”
[Those who have had enough of CP vs. Shellenberger & Norhaus can skip this post, but I think this is a very important messaging discussion.]
My critique of S&N has elicited from Nordhaus a sentence that encapsulates our differences, cuts through all the “barbs,” and makes clear just how dangerously wrong they are. Ted wrote here yesterday:
The McCain-Palin campaign recently clarified Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) remark from last week that “Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America.” The campaign told CBS News, “Russian incursions…inside the air defense identification zone have occurred.” But as the Associated Press reports today, no such incursions have occurred ‘in recent years’:
The air defense identification zone, almost completely over water, extends 12-mile past the perimeter of the United States. … However, no Russian military planes have been flying even into that zone, said Maj. Allen Herritage, a spokesman for the Alaska region of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, at Elmendorf Air Force Base. “To be very clear, there has not been any incursion in U.S. airspace in recent years,” Herritage said.
Responding to Herritage’s statement, Palin’s foreign policy adviser Steve Biegun said that Palin was trying to point out that the “geographical location of Alaska has unique attributes,” unlike “many states in the union.”