Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Totally puzzled

Weird thoughts:

Okay, when we started this shindig, I thought - fine, McCain's a moderate Republican and I'm a centrist. That's not too bad. Then he swung right, and although I disagreed (you zigged when you should have zagged) I understood he was trying for his conservative base. I just thought he went a tad too far - didya have to say we could be there for 100 years? You couldn't have just kept to the "until the job is done" line? Still, he was hitting his war record hard, and zinging Obama on not wearing flag pins, and I pretty much understood the game plan.

Then he brought Palin in, and I still thought I knew where he was going. Risky, I thought, trying to one-up the Dems at their own game, but she is female and demonstrably more conservative. So long as she's competent . . . . oookaaay. Perhaps not so much. Did anyone do their homework?

Then he started flying off the board, and not in his celebrated, mavericky kind of way, more in a WTF are you doing way. The whole swinging back and forth between the fundamentals of the economy are sound and we're in the Worst. Crisis. Ever. Between we all have to stop campaigning now and fix this, and "eh, I'm available by phone." That really got me wondering. Then in that first debate. He made a few points, but did that creepy "I'm not going to look at you" thing. And didn't wear a flag pin. Stupid point, I know, but I thought "Could no one have slapped one on him, given the big hoopla he made of it earlier? He just looks senile." Now we have a second debate, and we again have the minor weird stuff like no flag pin, and WTF was up with his refusal to shake Obama's hand afterward, palming him off on Cindy? But the big thing that has me going "huh?!" is his bit about buying up all the bad mortgages. I mean, empirically, whether you agree with it or not, the Republican line has been that: 1) Dems created rules in Freddie and Fannie that forced lenders to open up markets to un-credit-worthy buyers in the name of affirmative action for the poor. 2) Un-credit-worthy people bought more and bigger houses than they could afford. 3) It's a matter of fixing the Dem's stupid socialist housing ideas which should never have allowed these people to get these loans in the first place. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, McCain is doing a 180 on this and saying we all have to buy up all these bad loans and re-write them so that the people can stay in these houses, which the Republicans have been maintaining that they shouldn't have in the first place. Huh?

I'm not bitching about the point, actually I think it's remarkably pragmatic of him. If banks foreclose on these houses, the most they're going to get is what they can sell them for. Why not rewrite it down to that amount and save the expense of switching hands and the decline in the neighborhood you get when you have an abandoned property? But it's, like, the polar opposite of what he's been saying. I'm curious as to what free market advocates think of this one. Royce? Good idea to appeal to the public or very stupid move?

I'm thinking the latter, myself, unless all his conservative base have changed their minds without my looking. I think that he will alienate his base, who will think he's proposing a bailout on top of a bailout, and not pick up the slack from Obama's base because, frankly, they'll view it as an anomaly. The idiot dials that they had on MSNBC showed Republican voters' approval of McCain tanking down below Democrat's approval of him on that one, so I'm pretty sure I'm calling this one right. And the talking heads seem to think it's to grab media attention. I know any coverage is good, but having people speculate whether you're flip-flopping (which isn't a bad thing if you've been wrong but everyone else seems to think it is) or senile isn't probably the best press.

Regardless, I like the point - as I said, I'm a pragmatist. I just wish we could've included it in the original bailout (or did we? I'm hearing two stories) rather than that tax cut for practice arrows.

But I'm totally puzzled. No pin, no handshake - those who look for "body language" won't like it. Decent points in debating, if you're in agreement with him you should generally like his stuff, but then throw in this weird twist. Huh.

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