Politics

The Angry Candidate

Why John McCain's aggressive new tactics won't work

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DAVENPORT, IOWA—If the presidential campaign were the lead-up to a World Wrestling Entertainment smackdown, John McCain would be winning. A former high-school wrestler, he's been making the most of the chance to show his withering contempt for the other guy.

At a town hall meeting on Friday in Minnesota, McCain had taken a surprising tack. When a woman in the audience said that Barack Obama "is an Arab" (presumably meaning "Muslim"), McCain said it wasn't so. Responding to a questioner who was "scared" by Obama, McCain assured him, "Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don't have to be scared of as president of the United States"—a statement that sparked boos.

Today, McCain is intent on making sure any boos are directed at his opponent. He slams him for voting for pork barrel projects, planning to raise taxes, and "insider dealing."

That's just a warmup for his most contemptuous jibe. "He's even questioned my truthfulness," says McCain, his voice marinated in acid, "and let me reply in the plainest terms I know: I don't need lessons on telling the truth to the American people, and were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn't seek it from a Chicago politician."

Of course many voters may think there is no important ethical difference between a Chicago politician and a Washington politician, which is what McCain has been for more than a quarter of a century. The accusations of dissembling have come not only from the Obama campaign, but from independent monitors that even McCain invokes when convenient.

And if the GOP campaign is trying to distance itself from those who harbor dark suspicions about Obama's religion, someone didn't get the memo. Before McCain's arrival at today's rally, a local clergyman delivered an invocation that instructed the Almighty on His handling of the coming election.

"There are millions of people around this world praying to their god—whether it's Hindu, Buddha, Allah—that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons," said Rev. Arnold Conrad. "And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation because they're going to think that their god is bigger than you if that happens."

No one seems to think it's strange or inappropriate to portray the election as a choice between Jehovah and Allah. Maybe the audience is too busy pondering some discomfiting questions: If McCain loses, is it because God wanted him to lose? Or is it because one of those other gods is running the show?

This hostile note is in keeping with the tone struck by the candidate. Several senators, including some in his own party, have complained of his explosive temper, and he has even acknowledged that his hothead reputation has some basis. But today, McCain is advertising it as an asset during a time of economic trouble. He sounds madder than John Edwards on a bad hair day.

"One thing I hear from Americans at every stop is that they're angry," he says. "They're angry. THEY'RE ANGRY." He then lists the things they are angry about, including the failures of Wall Street. "You're angry," he declares, "and I'm angry too." But he sounds more like someone hacked off about trailing in the polls rather than someone infuriated by what he calls "greed, corruption and incompetence."

Part of the problem is that Republicans can't really bring off denunciations of greed. Ordinarily, they treat it, with sound insight, not as a mortal sin but as a powerful natural drive that capitalism harnesses for the benefit of all.

They are more convincing when excoriating governmental failure. This time, that's also a problematic sell, since the failures of the past eight years are generally blamed, fairly or not, on a president who heads McCain's own party.

But the real question McCain's performance raises is this: Assuming Americans are mad, does that mean they are looking for a president who revels in his anger? Right now a lot of people are feeling scared, bewildered, and even lost. But rather than seek a leader who shares those feelings, they probably would like one who can alleviate them.

If voters want a president who is angry, McCain may win. If they prefer a president who will remove the causes of their anger, his exhibition of outrage will encourage them to look elsewhere.

COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  1. But rather than seek a leader who shares those feelings, they probably would like one who can alleviate them.

    And that would be…?

  2. “But if they prefer a president who will remove the causes of their anger, his exhibition of outrage will encourage them to look elsewhere.”

    Anyone stupid enough to believe that a president can “remove the causes of their anger” is too stupid to be voting in the first place.

  3. Gil —

    You certainly harbor many interesting opinions about the stupidity of people not yourself.

  4. The “incredible lightness of being” where we all circle and float off to the cloud of harmonic balance? Yes, remove the causes of anger and submit, dear ones, for THIS is the way.

  5. Remove their causes of anger?

    Sorry, I gotta laugh about that too. That’s pretty new age and zen yoga sounding.

    Ohm, dude.

  6. That is the last straw!

  7. I definitely would prefer a President who was angry.

    I just want someone angry about different things than McCain is angry about.

    The thing I don’t trust about Obama the most is his lack of anger. As soon as he is inaugurated, when he should be launching himself immediately into the task of bringing about a reckoning of the many crimes and deceptions of the Bush administration, I imagine he will not be angry enough to do so, and will instead hand us some high-sounding crap about healing and whatnot. That’s the day I stop bashing the GOP and start bashing Obama.

  8. Everyone knows the best way out of an economic crisis is to raise taxes and restrict free trade. That’s why I’m voting for Barack Obama.

    No, really. ACORN has me registered in all 50 states!

  9. I’ll be voting for Obama as Smoot AND Hawley.

    Boo-yah!

  10. Someone seriously need to tranquilize Guy. You know, take away the causes of his anger, or barring that, his ability to feel any. His whining is getting on my nerves.

    The thing I don’t trust about Obama the most is his lack of anger. As soon as he is inaugurated, when he should be launching himself immediately into the task of bringing about a reckoning of the many crimes and deceptions of the Bush administration, I imagine he will not be angry enough to do so, and will instead hand us some high-sounding crap about healing and whatnot. That’s the day I stop bashing the GOP and start bashing Obama.

    I think you mistake not being easily provoked as not being angry. Maybe I’m missing my guess, but I’d guess that Obama is every bit as pissed at Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin as every other liberal democrat in the universe. Unlike many others, though, he has a spooky preternatural ability to conceal his anger and appear placid.

  11. The American people want a president who can alleviate the causes of their anger and open their chakras to awaken their positive psychospiritual energies. Pretty sure.

  12. Right now a lot of people are feeling scared, bewildered, and even lost. But rather than seek a leader who shares those feelings, they probably would like one who can alleviate them.

    Winning strategy: Kick Sarah Palin off the ticket and nominate Trigg’s pacifier!

  13. He’s not so much angry as crotchety.

  14. For all the goofing, I’d be willing to bet that most Americans want a president who communes daily with the Space Jesus. So let’s not throw stones haphazardly.

    And I can say honestly I still don’t get “Trig”. Did they name the poor kid after a division of mathematics?

  15. Elemenope,

    Lay off Guy. I share his anger at the lack of hot female welders.

  16. Republicans can only hope that Obama plays to the looney left and spends his political capital refighting battles from 2003. Further, if he did and God forbid that there is another major terrorist attack, the Republican slogan would be “if only Obama had spent as much time defending the country as he did trying to payback the Bush Administration, this wouldn’t have happened”.

    Since I don’t think Obama is clinically insane or politically suicidal, I seriously doubt he will spend one moment trying to cause a reconing for the Bush administration. Further, if he does win, he will be responsible for something and the thought of having another 9-11 pinned on him will clarify his thoughts. He didn’t vote to reauthorize FISA for nothing. Obama will take and use every power the Bush Administration has and maybe a few more since he won’t have to worry about the media or Congress hassling him about it.

    If you are looking for paybacks to Bush fluffy, you need to go back on the Thorazine.

  17. Abdul,

    Damn you! I read your post and winced at remembering Pascal’s triangle.

  18. Lmnop,

    All kidding aside, the Palin’s chose “Trig” because it is a phonetic rendering of the Norse word for “strength.”

  19. “Right now a lot of people are feeling scared, bewildered, and even lost. But rather than seek a leader who shares those feelings, they probably would like one who can alleviate them.”

    What a bunch of elitist bullshit that is. Yes people are scared bewildered, lost, they need big daddy government to come save them. No one other than a few journalists are scared bewildered or lost. It is a recession. We have had them before we will have them again. The best thing any politician could say or do would be to tell dumb asses in the media who say things like that to shut up.

  20. John,

    It’s sort of a ritual among statists. They remember with nostaglia FDR and his fireside chats not his utter incompetence with “fixing” the economy.

  21. The American people want a president who will pet them when they’re fussy and turn the sink on every so often when they get thirsty.

  22. That is true NAGA. One of the worst things about our government is the idea that a leader must do “something” and if he is not it is clearly due to incompetance. People and the media in particular refuse to understand that sometimes there is nothing to be done or that one option is the least bad of the all the options. There must always be a perfect painless sollution to any problem.

  23. Right there with your pulse on the finger of America, John.

    I’m sure military lawyers aren’t scared about their jobs.

    It’s always the media, isn’t it? Do you ever do any research about public opinion before spouting off?

  24. Big Daddy Government, you mean like the one who signs your checks?

  25. Yes Joe, I have worked for the govenment so I must believe that the government is the sollution to all problems. No one who beleives in limited government can ever accept a government paycheck. Just like no one who is a statist can ever work in the private sector.

  26. Another content free column from Chapman. And this one includes yet another invocation of the patently false trope that Republicans are pro capitalism and anti big-government. That twists my colon every time. But it did contain this gem:

    Before McCain’s arrival at today’s rally, a local clergyman delivered an invocation that instructed the Almighty on His handling of the coming election.

    Anyone who’s ever heard a Military Chaplin deliver an invocation can relate. Is there any greater hubris than declaring one’s self to be without fault and commanding the almighty to do your bidding?

  27. All kidding aside, the Palin’s chose “Trig” because it is a phonetic rendering of the Norse word for “strength.”

    That was the missing piece. Thanks, Abdul.

    Lay off Guy. I share his anger at the lack of hot female welders.

    I’ll try to be nicer. Ooh, but he’s just such a douche! It makes it so hard. And besides, he blocked me a while ago so it’s not like my poisonous words ever reach his beady little eyes.

  28. joe,

    Isn’t it a bit early to do battle?

  29. Hey, John, some information about public opinion that isn’t pulled from your navel.

    http://www.latimes.com/media/acrobat/2008-10/42897536.pdf

    But be warned: this polling was conducted by TEH MEDIA.

  30. “Anyone who’s ever heard a Military Chaplin deliver an invocation can relate. Is there any greater hubris than declaring one’s self to be without fault and commanding the almighty to do your bidding?”

    I hate that to. The only thing worse is when people do it for really unimportant stuff like sports. “I thank God for giving me this victory.” What does that make the other side? The unbelievers? Just once I would like to hear someone go full monte on it and talk about how God helped him defeat the heratic Red Sox. The only person who ever got the subject right was Lincoln in the Second Inagural Address.

  31. If you will excuse me Joe, I have to go out and earn my government paycheck and see if I can help someone who is scared, bewildered and lost.

  32. John, you dope, didn’t I just say I didn’t expect satisfaction from an Obama administration, and was preparing to hate him for it?

    And by the way, once ensconced in the Oval Office there would be no need to “fight political battles” or anything else to take the appropriate steps to deal with the Bush administration. Just about everything that needs doing on that score is well within the discretionary powers of the President.

    1. Announce that the Justice Department will no longer claim national security exemptions to discovery for lawsuits filed over events that took place during the Bush administration, except in exceptional circumstances.

    2. Turn over all Executive Branch material that has been the subject of ignored subpoenas.

    3. Respond to all FOIA requests that have been ignored or denied by the Bush administration.

    4. Refer instances of missing or deleted material, like emails, to the Justice Department for prosecution.

    5. Re-open the Abu Ghraib investigation and launch a simultaneous investigation into the role of American intelligence and military personnel in abuses at Afghan prisons.

    6. Make public all Executive Branch material dealing with the rendition program.

    7. Make public all Executive Branch material dealing with the Pentagon’s military analyst program.

    8. Make public all records dealing with possible violations of the Hatch Act by Karl Rove and his aides.

    9. Appoint an Attorney General with a great, big “Appoint Special Prosecutor” stamp and lots of ink.

    This would take me literally an afternoon if I was in his shoes, and other than Senate approval for my AG pick I wouldn’t have to “fight” anyone to do any of it.

    And spare me the “Oh, 2003 is so long ago,” crap. If I hadn’t filed a tax return in 2003 the government would still take an interest in my action. That means they can take an interest in the actions of the Bush administration, too.

  33. Elemenope,

    Guy blocked you? Word? If he did, he’s a pussy.

  34. Maybe I’m missing my guess, but I’d guess that Obama is every bit as pissed at Bush/Cheney/McCain/Palin as every other liberal democrat in the universe. Unlike many others, though, he has a spooky preternatural ability to conceal his anger and appear placid.

    I think you have way, way too much faith that Obama will go after a guy who held the same job as him. Presidents do not like to set precedents where they can get fucked by the guy who comes after them.

    Bush will get to go become proconsul like every other President. Count on it. I just wonder which province he will be given to abuse.

  35. Anyone who’s ever heard a Military Chaplin deliver an invocation can relate. Is there any greater hubris than declaring one’s self to be without fault and commanding the almighty to do your bidding?

    The only greater hubris is then following your instructions to the Almighty by interpreting *all future events* as if He has listened and agreed.

    I always thought at the very least someone should throw a “please” somewhere in “God Bless America”.

  36. Yes Joe, I have worked for the govenment so I must believe that the government is the sollution to all problems.

    Whiff!

    Let me put it more plainly: you have more job security during a bad economy than most Americans, so your personal feelings aren’t going to be a good measure of public opinion.

    Your personal experience is too far removed from regular people for you to be able to relate to them.

  37. Your personal experience is too far removed from regular people for you to be able to relate to them.

    Yeah I’m talking to you, stranger on the internet!

  38. He blocked you, El? It might soon become a H&R badge of honor.

  39. It’s sort of a ritual among statists. They remember with nostaglia FDR and his fireside chats not his utter incompetence with “fixing” the economy.

    It’s much worse than that. I doubt any actually remember the fireside chats. But the remember The New Deal and his “utter incompetence with fixing the economy” has been, and continues to be, enshrined as “Hoover’s inaction gave us the Great Depression, and FDR cleaned up the mess with his massive reorganization of government that finally took care of the average Joe.”

  40. Oh, and I left one really easy thing out:

    10. Invite everyone who resigned their commission or position rather than participate in our activities at Guantanamo to the White House for a barbecue, and say to them, “Tell me everything. Oh, and by the way, you guys just became my advisory panel on intelligence reform. Pick up your name tags on the way out.”

  41. Fluffy,

    If he did all of that, then he couldn’t do any of the stuff Bush did. That is not going to happen. I don’t say that as a slam on Obama. In fact just the opposite. The guy is not crazy. He will be just as concerned about there being a terror attack on his watch as Bush is.

    You are wrong about ABu Garib. The abuses happened in Bagram and various other places around the world. Abu Garib really was a bunch of morons on the night shift. More importantly, you are dreaming if you don’t think Obama will render people to other states, just like Clinton and Bush have, or let the CIA do various deeds. The only difference between the two will be that you won’t hear as much about what Obama does because the media won’t have a political axe to grind about it. If anything it might be a little worse because there will be less danger of ever being held accountable for it. What, are the Republicans going to come in 2012 and go after Obama for doing what they did? I think not.

  42. Guy blocked you? Word? If he did, he’s a pussy.

    Word. I couldn’t believe it either.

    I think you have way, way too much faith that Obama will go after a guy who held the same job as him. Presidents do not like to set precedents where they can get fucked by the guy who comes after them.

    Oh, I think the only war crimes/accountability moments for any of these fuckers will occur in no location other than possibly the movies. And I certainly don’t think Obama is in a good position to rain fiery retribution upon his erstwhile political enemies. That never goes over well, even when they *do* deserve it.

    My point was only that it is silly to think Obama is not deeply angered by the goings on in the White House the past eight years. He has just honed his public persona down to this slippery Zen bastard who could smile his way through a concentration camp, and that is throwing people a bit.

  43. Actually I think sports is the only appropriate venue to invoke the name of God or gods for victory. Invoking probably ficticious dieties is a risky maneuver and should only be done when the outcome really does not matter.

    Applying God and faith into international politics, well, that gets dicey very quickly.

  44. Hogan,

    John is a career military lawyer, and hardly a stranger.

  45. Warren,

    My apologies. They remember he gave fireside chats. Not their substance. Better?

  46. If you’re scared, bewildered, and lost without the help of Big Brother you are a pathetic excuse for a human being. Americans need to start sacking the hell up.

  47. phalkor,

    Baal will be displeased by your comments. Make sacrifice to appease him or face his wrath!

  48. Naga Sadow,

    Perhaps I can work near a port, where they keep most of the hot female welders.

    Oh, that “pussy” comment? How about delivering that one in person.

  49. But if they prefer a president who will remove the causes of their anger, his exhibition of outrage will encourage them to look elsewhere.

    All joking of how New Agey this sounds aside, it’s a good point. For example, after 9-11, did people want a president that was scared like them or did they want a president that would go out and destroy the people that scared them here. Same goes for the current economic crisis. People don’t want a person that’s mad like them, they want someone that can fix. Granted, neither of these two can, the president is relatively powerless in this case. However, only one person is carrying themselves like they will. That person is not Johnny Mac.

  50. Actually I think sports is the only appropriate venue to invoke the name of God or gods for victory.

    “Dear Lord, thank you for giving this game your undivided attention. We’ll try to be brief so you can return your energies to the movement of the stars and the condemnation of the Jews. Please hand us an easy victory. I’m not saying that if we lose we’ll turn away. But do you really want to take that risk? And finally, just as you cured the blind, thank you for curing this team of the blind. Oh, and, uh, forgive me for that thing I did with the thing. Amen.”

  51. Hogan,

    I don’t think joe and John can be described as strangers at this point. They talk to each other more than they do their own spouses.

  52. Guy,

    I stand by my comment . . . on the internet of course. I’m what I like to call “bullshit” polite in real life. We are all trollish at times but to block someone is positively pussyish(real word?).

  53. “Oh, that “pussy” comment? How about delivering that one in person.”

    It’s on!!!!!

  54. My point was only that it is silly to think Obama is not deeply angered by the goings on in the White House the past eight years. He has just honed his public persona down to this slippery Zen bastard who could smile his way through a concentration camp, and that is throwing people a bit.

    Well, I don’t really believe that Obama gives a shit about much more than securing his own career and power. I am skeptical that politicians actually get worked up over other politicians abusing their power, seeing as that’s why one becomes a politician in the first place.

  55. Naga,

    This is a small matter, but that’s no reason not to get all nit picky. In this age of video I don’t thing there’s much nostalgia for the fireside chats. You have a point that they enjoy a better reputation than they deserve. FDR called them “fireside chats” but when I actually listened to a couple they sounded more like Orwellian propaganda.

    What is still venerated, and I’d say 99 out of a hundred working journalists subscribe to, is; The New Deal policies that put the government in control of all industries, “got America working again”.

    The idea that the New Deal extended and deepened the Depression is something that’s only whispered in back alleys and basements.

  56. Oh, that “pussy” comment? How about delivering that one in person.

    Am I the only one who thought this was a come-on?

  57. I agree with you Epi, it is all an act. Further, politicians understand the reality of power. Obama knows good and well that he would have done some of the same things Bush did had he been President. I have been around more than a few politicals in the last year and it is amazing how genial they are to each other in private. It really is all a game in public. That actually is a good thing. The last thing we would want is some angry KOS diarist or his rightwing equivelent in a position of responsibility. Rage is something reserved for people who are not responsible for anything.

  58. My point was only that it is silly to think Obama is not deeply angered by the goings on in the White House the past eight years. He has just honed his public persona down to this slippery Zen bastard who could smile his way through a concentration camp, and that is throwing people a bit.

    I think that maybe a black guy who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii learns pretty early how to keep his head while people throw things at it.

  59. NS,

    I am sure you can manage to find where this has been talked about before. Plenty of people utilize blocking, some just scroll past the folks they find that rarely contribute anything they want to bother with.

    Gonna have a fit about my not owning any Chompsky or Lennin in my home too?

    Oh, if you are unwilling deliver a “pussy” comment like that in person then you must be looking in a mirror.

  60. “The idea that the New Deal extended and deepened the Depression is something that’s only whispered in back alleys and basements.”

    No just history books that journalists don’t read and economics classes journalists didn’t take in college.

  61. Warren,

    Hmmmmm . . . acknowledged. I’m pretty sure your knowledge of the Great Depression is better than mine anyway. I’m good at summarizing not getting into as you put it “nit picky” details.

  62. Actually I think sports is the only appropriate venue to invoke the name of God or gods for victory.

    I think that shouting “Nike!” at a football game might send an unintended message.

  63. It’s cold in here.

    We may die.

    But at least its puuuuuuuure.

  64. *points at Guy*

    CYBER BULLYING! CYBER BULLYING!

    Relax. Take a breather. Have a cigarette.

  65. “Gonna have a fit about my not owning any Chompsky or Lennin in my home too?”

    You talkin’ Lenin or Lennon, Guy? Or both?

  66. “No, really. ACORN has me registered in all 50 states!”

    Not a problem unless you actually show up in all 50 states to vote.

  67. I wonder if it counts as lashon hara if the offended party isn’t technically present only because he is busy plugging up his ears and screaming at the top of his lungs “I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!”

    Where’s a rabbi when you need one?

  68. The idea that the New Deal extended and deepened the Depression is something that’s only whispered in back alleys and basements.

    Not true at all. It’s something that’s hotly debated. Also, it’s only certain aspect of the New Deal that made things worse. I’m sure that few here would advocate repealing the FDIC (one of the best things to come out of the New Deal as far as economic stability goes). lumping it all together is as mindless as saying “guns bad.”

    I have been around more than a few politicals in the last year and it is amazing how genial they are to each other in private. It really is all a game in public.

    As Reagan said re: Tip O’Neill, “before 6 PM it’s all politics,” they were good friends “after 6 PM.” Though I would say they’re probably less amicable than they used to be because they spend less time in DC socializing, sending their kids to the same schools and the like. At the end of the day, they’re not opponents, but coworkers trying to solve the same problems. Having them fight is counterproductive.

  69. Elemenope,

    Well it is a thread on “anger” and its role on the candidate.

  70. You talkin’ Lenin or Lennon, Guy? Or both?

    Either/both. However, I do have a favorite Marx.

  71. Well it is a thread on “anger” and its role on the candidate.

    Then I think we *really* need a rabbi. And probably a Jesuit.

  72. Also, it’s only certain aspect of the New Deal that made things worse.

    It’s hardly controversial that the price-fixing, central-planning efforts of the early New Deal were ineffective or counterproductive. FDR acknowledged that himself, and repealed them.

    Actually, it would be tough to think of a president before or since who was so willing to repudiate policies he had put in place himself.

  73. Having them fight is counterproductive.

    Unless they are collaborating to do something *really stupid*. Which, frankly, happens more often than not.

  74. Mo,

    The Congressional staffers are the only exception to that. They are real assholes on both sides. There are staffers that are almost parodies of themselves.

  75. FDR acknowledged that himself, and the Supreme Court eviscerated repealed them.

    You left out a part.

  76. “I agree with you Epi, it is all an act. Further, politicians understand the reality of power. Obama knows good and well that he would have done some of the same things Bush did had he been President. I have been around more than a few politicals in the last year and it is amazing how genial they are to each other in private. It really is all a game in public. That actually is a good thing. The last thing we would want is some angry KOS diarist or his rightwing equivelent in a position of responsibility. Rage is something reserved for people who are not responsible for anything.”

    Which is more logical: believing that what a candidate says he or she is going to do and how he or she says it–or taking an analytical and interpretive angle in which we hypothesize on what they might really mean and how they really feel behind closed doors? If you agree with the latter, please remember not to drink your bong water.

    As far as who any spiritual being supports and why one candidate will win . . . I sacrificed a few live chickens in front of Joe Boo months ago, and my evil plot will soon see fruition.

  77. Which is more logical: believing that what a candidate says he or she is going to do and how he or she says it–or taking an analytical and interpretive angle in which we hypothesize on what they might really mean and how they really feel behind closed doors?:

    Look at what they do not just what they say. Obama voted for FISA, wants to bomb Pakistan, and is nothing if not a politician. Maybe Obama is nuts and will ignore poltical reality. But I doubt it.

  78. What is still venerated, and I’d say 99 out of a hundred working journalists subscribe to, is; The New Deal policies that put the government in control of all industries, “got America working again”.

    Not exactly. It’s deeper than “getting America working.” My Grandfather encouraged all kinds of dissent; even welcomed my Objectivist cousin’s opinions despite being more or less a socialist himself. The only exception was FDR. His reasoning was “when FDR got elected, we got to eat again.” He was a hero to the people who lived through the Depression.

    Also, he screwed the country’s economy up, but those social welfare programs and economic controls he put in place did pacify an awful lot of people who otherwise probably would have started demanding much stronger measures. 25% unemployment is where Communist Revolutions started becoming likely. The New Deal probably saved Capitalism in the US.

  79. Elemenope,

    Some of them were struck down by the Supreme Court, but others were dismantled by the Democrats themselves.

  80. Oh, that “pussy” comment? How about delivering that one in person.

    get off it, susan sarandon. move to fucking italy already.

  81. Shem,

    Which was his stated intent from the beginning. That is, “saving capitalism from itself”, which should really be read “saving capitalism from socialism”. People are pacified by bread, and for good reason. There is little incentive to upset the apple cart so long as you get enough apples. Once people starve, there is much less to lose from revolution.

    Some of them were struck down by the Supreme Court, but others were dismantled by the Democrats themselves.

    True enough, but that was as much a political tack as it was honest chagrin at previous error. They were getting *slapped around* by SCOTUS, and wanted to avoid prolonging the confrontation while they were destined to lose.

  82. Winning strategy: Kick Sarah Palin off the ticket and nominate Trigg’s pacifier!

    A binky? McBama’s already offered the American people the real thing — a huge government teat.

    “Gimme gimme gimme. Do for me, do for me.” Americans have no dignity anymore. It’s embarrassing.

  83. I’m sure that few here would advocate repealing the FDIC (one of the best things to come out of the New Deal as far as economic stability goes). lumping it all together is as mindless as saying “guns bad.”

    Well, joe, the existence of the FDIC did mean that banks no longer competed on the basis of actual perceived soundness or solvency. [And they did compete on that basis at one time.]

    If you aren’t going to compete on soundness, you can only compete on service and yield.

    And I don’t know about you, but “A banking system where depositors perceive all banks to be equally sound, and where the banks compete on who can take the most risks to improve yield without failing,” sounds a wee bit familiar to me.

    The FDIC has been pretty good at insulating us from bank failures, to this point in time. So the risks and the moral hazard it introduces into the system has been offset by the fact that it has been able to buy out any failures. But that might not always be the case – if the failures get big enough, the FDIC would be overwhelmed.

  84. That should read “actual or perceived…”

  85. True, Fluffy, but that would have to be one mighty collapse.

    Even in these straits, I’m gonna go with “not bloody likely”.

  86. Fluffy,

    1. I didn’t write that.

    2. Given the complete absence of bank runs over the past seven decades, and the catastrophic damage they used to do, I don’t think that losing “Fear that I might lose the money I put in a bank” has been much of a problem overall.

    And I don’t know about you, but “A banking system where depositors perceive all banks to be equally sound, and where the banks compete on who can take the most risks to improve yield without failing,” sounds a wee bit familiar to me. You can make a lot of things sound similar if you leave out the details that make them different.

    if the failures get big enough, the FDIC would be overwhelmed. Hence, the capitalization requirements and other regulations that have made the banking sector so much more stable than the rest of the financial sector during this crisis.

  87. They remember with nostaglia FDR and his fireside chats not his utter incompetence with “fixing” the economy.

    They were too busy celebrating how he lied us into an unnecessary war that killed millions of people and invaded a country that had not even attacked us.

  88. It’s funny how people who were actually there don’t “remember” something as well as people born fifty years later.

  89. They remember with nostaglia FDR and his fireside chats not his utter incompetence with “fixing” the economy.

    They were too busy celebrating how he lied us into an unnecessary war that killed millions of people and invaded a country that had not even attacked us.

    If there were a competition for non sequitors, this would be the winner, hands down.

  90. It’s funny how people who were actually there don’t “remember” something as well as people born fifty years later.

    I’m not up on all the libertarian arguments that FDR caused or exacerbated the Depression, so I won’t defend them specifically. I will argue, however, that events are often understood much better after a few years have passed than while they are occurring.

  91. I will argue, however, that events are often understood much better after a few years have passed than while they are occurring.

    And for economic ones, I’d say it takes a decade or so. The disappointing thing about the Depression is that critical research didn’t begin appearing immediately afterward, and now we lack a good deal of context. Really, pre-WW2 financial research is generally very sparse, so I don’t buy the idea that anyone grasps the big picture of what happened several generations ago and never happened again.

    I have my own assumptions about the current government response, that we’ll eventually realize that the recent interventions were largely ineffectual and, if anything, merely helped introduce more volatility. After all, equity markets have tended to rise on anticipation and fall after the numbers fail to meet expectations, and there’s been a lot of strategic behavior in the markets.

  92. Just a little humility, and a little less contempt for the people who were actually there, is all I’m looking for.

  93. Just a little humility, and a little less contempt for the people who were actually there, is all I’m looking for.

    While we’re looking for things that won’t happen, I want to see an understanding that the economic numbers aren’t terribly useful in explaining how people were viewing events. Which, given the fact that it’s people who drive the political process, not numbers, is far more important than the economic specifics.

  94. Just to bring this thread back on topic, I think the problem is not John McCain’s anger, it’s that John McCain doesn’t do anger well. He doesn’t have the voice for it. He sounds like the old grump who sits on his porch in slippers just waiting for some kid to step on his property so he can yell, “You punks stay off my lawn!”

    He needs to bring his voice down about an 1/2 an octave, look Obama directly in the eyes and say, “The problem with your relationship with William Ayers, Senator Obama, is simply that you were able to spend long hours with him–in his home, even–without punching him in the face!”

  95. There have been quite a number of articles here trashing John McCain.

    Is this because the Reason staff want to deflect some votes from McCain to whatever clown-shod no-hope loser is running on the Libertarian ticket?

  96. Joe, there has been just a bit of inflation over the past 7 decades. What cost $100 in 1937 would cost $1429.95 in 2007, and even more today. Also, today more than ever, the FDIC is looking like it, too, is headed for bailout-ville. I’m just glad so many resources were directed against 100% backed systems competing with the Federal Reserve while Wall Street leveraged. Yet-another example of Bush just going right along with those eeeeevil libertarian gold bug types.

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