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Monday, September 08, 2008

 

Sarah's Got Charisma!

In my last post, I listed the reasons why both VP picks made no sense, but clearly, I "misunderestimated" Governor Palin, and a blogger has to own up when wrong. Her lack of experience aside, the Governor's performance last Wednesday at the convention was a home run, clearly out of the ball park, and I expect her to deliver that stump speech to near-perfection from here to November. Furthermore, the timing was fortuitous for the GOP since with only two months to the election, (and less for the millions voting early and by absentee ballot), Mrs. Palin will still be a fresh, attractive face and the inevitable ennui the public might develop will not take hold by then.

The Dems panic was palpable from the day of her selection, as the left-wing bloggers went into overdrive to ferret out every possible negative and inconsistency in her story. Since they went over the top by getting into very personal issues, the criticisms only served to do what Senator McCain had been unable to do all year - unite the party behind the ticket, and much more strongly than the Dems were able to do with their own party divisions in Denver.

Furthermore, the Dems desperate efforts to undermine the "Hockey Mom" have mostly been called. For example, the Dems complained that the jet sold on E-bay resulted in a $600,000 capital loss for the state, but the purchase price was a sunk cost and irrelevant, and the costs of maintenance, fuel, etc. represented real savings. The true stories are related in Friday's WSJ column by Kimberly Strassel, and I urge Palin doubters to read it and discover the real and amazing tale of how she dismantled the GOP machine and its too cozy relationship with big oil.

As for the ridiculous criticism involving her pregnant 17 year old daughter, perhaps the MoveOn.org crowd should consider that Mr. Obama was born into similar circumstances, and for those worried about her ability to do the job with a young family, consider that no such criticism was made about Senator Biden when he was a single Dad. Talk about a double standard. Of course the left wing feminists probably don't consider the Governor a real woman, certainly not a feminist, because by definition, such person can not have a conservative orientation. This is the same mentality that does not consider Justice Thomas a real black man since his views are off the liberal reservation.

No matter. The nation, or at least 55% of it is in love, that's all there is to it, you only have to look at the pictures of the post campaign rally in Michigan and the other stops to come, to see it. She's a Kennedy - like rock star, and though it's usually a mistake to say this time is different, this could be the election where finally the VP choice makes a difference. If nothing else, it turned the GOP convention into a ratings buster, and got Senator McCain a larger and more attentive TV audience than he would have had otherwise. And he came through with a pretty good, workmanlike speech, at least for him. The polls show the campaign got a bigger convention boost than the Dems did, and I'm not sure it won't have some real staying power.

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By the way, if you watched the increasingly liberal leaning MSNBC convention coverage, Chris Matthews and especially Keith Olbermann panned the McCain speech, something you would expect from Olbermann, but the performance of Matthews was especially grating. He has moved further and further left to the point he no longer has anchor credibility, and apparently the NBC brass finally saw it that way too, since both Matthews and Olbermann were demoted today. That leaves David Gregory, who at least tries to bury his left-leaning tendencies, to anchor the campaign events the rest of the way.

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By the way, another fun take on the Palin speech was Peggy Noonan's column in the WSJ weekend edition. Some of her better quotes:

"The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick" is pure American and goes straight into Bartlett's. This is the authentic sound of the American mama, of every mother you know at school, who joins the board, reads the books, heads the committee and gets the show on the road. These women make large portions of America work.

She seemed...a refutation to all the men of Washington...who make rules others have to live by but they don't...who mandate work rules from which they exempt Congress...She has lived her expressed values. She has said yes to a Down syndrome child.

No one has really laid a glove on Mr. Obama before, not in this campaign and maybe not in his life. But Palin really damaged him. She took him square on, fearlessly...she showed no awkwardness connected to race, or racial history. A small town mayor is kind of like a community organizer except you have actual responsibilities. He wrote two memoirs but never authored a major bill...This was powerful coming from Baberaham Lincoln, as she's been called.

The media overstepped...How?..By offending people by going so immediately and so personally into issues surrounding Mrs. Palin's family. They did not overstep by digging, by deep reporting, by investigating Palin's professional record.

This new (media) war on new turf is not good, and carries the potential of great harm. Everyone really ought to stop, breathe deep, and think.

John McCain also made a speech. It was flat.
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Meanwhile, Mr. Obama also made a speech the week before last, which the reporters generally described as electric, but I can't remember seeing a significant quote from it. Does anyone have the foggiest recollection of what he said? I have been blogging that the Dems were likely to have their Dukakis moment after their convention. I think it arrived last Wednesday night.
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The other big story over the weekend was the Treasury's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, bailing out bondholders but washing out common and preferred equity holders. Though this may have forestalled greater financial collapse, there will be significant second and third order effects. We've got quite a ways to go before the bursting of the mortgage bubble is fully played out.

This will also be a political story, since the two GSE's were creatures of Congress, particularly Democrats like Barney Frank, who pocketed huge lobbying contributions from them and generally looked the other way while their executives leveraged their quasi - government guarantees (now real) to pocket huge compensation and provide outsize dividends to shareholders. Incredibly, the two fired CEO's are going to receive seven figure severance packages...for what?

The WSJ edtorial page has been railing against this GSE structure (private profits, public guarantees) for years, and has taken a lot of abuse for its position, despite the overcompensation of GSE execs, the accounting scandals, etc. Seems to me the WSJ had it right all along. Meanwhile, the fact is that Senator Obama accepted over $100,000 in campaign contributions from Fannie and Fred in recent years, while Senator McCain did not take a dime. They just couldn't get to him, complained a GSE lobbyist.

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On Sept. 2, I bought 1500 shares of Sirius - XM Radio at 1.34 - I live in hope. On Sept. 3, I sold 200 shares of Conrad at 12.25, originally purchased 2/9/05 for
2.25. Today, I sold the rest of my Long's Drug position - more on that next post.

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