Obama takes it to McCain

Here’s a YouTube of a Keith Olbermann show. KO isn’t my favourite kind of guy – a kind of leftish of centre Bill O’Reilly from what I’ve seen – though nowhere near as obnoxious as BO. Anyway, this has an interesting interview with Paul Krugman but what got my interest is a grab of Obama really letting McCain have it. And they said he couldn’t do this kind of aggression. Well you have to do it to try to assert some sanity on an American election in the age of the Movement Republicans and Fox News. Looked good to me.

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21 Responses to Obama takes it to McCain

  1. From a classical liberal point of view it is hard to be partisan in any election, especially in the US where there appears to be bipartisan support for every kind of intervention and big government. But still you have to be grateful for moments of sanity, like the attempt to get real about regulating Fannie and Freddie in 2005.

    Well, almost.

    What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

    Different World

    If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

    But the bill didn’t become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn’t even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

    Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that’s worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.

  2. Chris Lloyd says:

    The key claims are: “The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets….
    If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different.:

    I would need to read the bill before I could accept that. I suspect that it is not true or Senator McCain would be shouting it from the rooftops. But please get back to Troppo if you can add some meat to this comment.

    BTW: Kevin Hassett, the source of the abvoe quote, is from the American Enterprise Institute, he advises Dubya and he once famously predicted that the DOW would reach 36000 by 2004.

  3. Fleeced says:

    lol… KO is merely, “leftish of centre?”

  4. Sorry Fleeced – I should have said ‘commo’

  5. JC says:

    Nic

    Not for nothing but Olbermann was recently banned by the NBC management from ever doing a news cast for his abuse of guests and co-workers that didn’t agree with his views as well as for being too polemical. He’s now only ever allowed to do his opinion show.

    Suggesting he’s leftish of centre is perhaps putting it a little mild.

    Don’t you think he sounds a little how one imagine a Soviet newscaster would have sounded like?

    I like it how Krugamn’s first instinct in the interview was the head towards lying but then caught himself in time.

    KO asked Krugs if Lehman was a government bailout. He immediate response was to say “yea” it was. lol.

  6. JC says:

    Nic

    If youre looking for a middle of the road, decent US news program to watch with an intelligent leftie running it, you cant go past Bill Lehrers PBS Newshour. Its the best program in its format in the world.

  7. NPOV says:

    From my time back in the U.S. back in February/March, PBS Newshour was the only show I thought even deserved the term “News”. The term “market failure” comes to mind. It seems astonishingly that in a country of at least 100 million well-educated adults, none of the commercial channels feel there’s any money to made out of producing quality news programs.

  8. JC says:

    N

    It’s the opposite of market failure. The market is segmenting/segmented to offer people what they think they want. Believe it or not most people find daily political news pretty dull.

    it’s the diehards on both side that want the polemical stuff and the raw meat.

    It’s a very segmented market over there. So segmented that you even have comedy news and the naked news hour (or 1/2 and hour). Ever seen naked news? It’s funnier than the John Stewart show. There’s a chick in the nud talking about a multi-car crash of a train derailment.

  9. NPOV says:

    I have to say reading that Hasset article, it seems fairly plausible that blocking that bill may well have been the difference between Fannie/Freddie Mac collapsing, but to suggest the entire financial crisis (the death of Bear Stearns, Merryl Lynch, Lehmann Brothers, and near-death of AIG) can be blamed squarely on the blocking of that one bill is pretty absurd – those companies have to take a fair whack of the responsibility for buying up so much bad debt, which there were hardly forced to do, by any means. Further, F&F Mac have been around since the 1930s – so why would they suddenly need stricter regulation in 2005 to prevent collapse? But it is mildly amusing to see even an AEI mouthpiece arguing that the current woes on Wall St are due to insufficient regulation.

  10. JC,

    To ‘ish’ or not to ‘ish’. This is the great question of this thread. I’m getting increasingly irritated with myself for being drawn into this nonsense, but there you go – I’ve only got myself to blame!

    I appreciate the psychology of your position. KO pisses you off – a lot – and so you object to moderate statements about him. The only time I’ve seen KO in full flight I agreed with most of his agro, but thought it absurdly demagogic. It wasn’t for me.

    The statement was however a statement about his political orientation, not his manners. It’s true that I’m not an expert on KO’s views, but no-one’s very left wing these days, and very few people in the mainstream have ever been very left wing – perhaps one of the strengths of American politics at least until approximately the 1980s when movement Republicanism seems to have had as corrosive effect on the political centre and political mores of the place as slavery, reconstruction and the KKK did for the culture of the South.

    Still, given the little I’ve seen of him it’s entirely possible that I was wrong about KO, that he’s not ‘leftish‘ of centre but . . . gasp just plain left of centre. But I doubt that was your point really.

  11. NPOV says:

    JC, except that commercial stations in Australia generally produce reasonable quality news, which I understand is mostly the case in the UK too.

    And there is a market failure, because PBS is *only* TV station offering quality news – and PBS is heavily taxpayer subsidised. I would’ve assumed that you would prefer to see that subsidisation disappear, which would leave the 8 million Americans that watch it at least once a week with…what exactly?

  12. NPOV says:

    Oh and I’ll also say many school students find school pretty boring :-)

    I think a case could be made for mandating higher quality news services from commercial stations. The costs of having an ignorant public surely outweigh the costs of restricting the liberty of commercial TV stations to label whatever they like as “News”, just as we accept that they outweight of the costs of restricting the liberty of children to spend their entire childhood doing whatever they like.

  13. FDB says:

    NPOV – naturally, if PBS were defunded, then some enterprising sort would painstakingly build a credible network of dedicated journalists, instruct them to report on the issues of the day without fear or favour, then kick back and watch the truckloads of cash roll in. Just like if we sell the ABC.

  14. FDB says:

    NPOV – are you suggesting some kind of Media-Watch-with-teeth arrangement?

  15. JC says:

    Nic:

    No, KO doesn’t really piss me off as I don’t watch him. Honestly the only times I have ever seen him was when Ken P once mentioned him and now you. I also don’t watch O’Reilly for the same reasons. They’re boringly predictable.

    From what I have read of Olbermann he would hardly fit into any centrist mold unless of course the center has suddenly taken a hard left turn :-)

    S

    till, given the little Ive seen of him its entirely possible that I was wrong about KO, that hes not leftish of centre but . . . gasp just plain left of centre. But I doubt that was your point really.

    Dunno what he is in person but he does seem to push a pretty hard left line.

    ————-

    JC, except that commercial stations in Australia generally produce reasonable quality news, which I understand is mostly the case in the UK too.

    I really don’t think you can say that, N.

    The ABC’s evening news with Dan Rather was actually quite good. ABC’s Lateline was excellent and commercial Sunday morning current affairs programs were well put together. I think ” Sunday” is now headed by former Clinton staffer George Stephenopoulos and is actually very good.

    And there is a market failure, because PBS is *only* TV station offering quality news – and PBS is heavily taxpayer subsidised.

    No, it’s one program that you and I like that is subsidized but not “heavily” so. There’s matching funding dollar for dollar.

    I wouldve assumed that you would prefer to see that subsidisation disappear, which would leave the 8 million Americans that watch it at least once a week withwhat exactly?

    Well of course. I think there shouldn’t be a cent going into state funding of any programming. That goes without saying. Jim Lehrer’s show would also do well on cable or free to air. To imply it would disappear without state funding is being more than a little pessimistic.

  16. JC says:

    I think a case could be made for mandating higher quality news services from commercial stations.

    So naked news hour could fit into that category? Ever seen it? Funnily enough the news is actually of good “quality”.

  17. JC says:

    N;

    you shouldn’t confuse local affiliate news programs with nationally syndicated ones in the US. The nationally syndicated are actually of pretty high quality.

  18. NPOV says:

    “Jim Lehrers show would also do well on cable or free to air”

    And your evidence for this is?

    And while for you it may “go without saying” that the state shouldn’t be putting a cent towards any programming, for me it would go without saying that stations who rely on funding from advertising can’t be trusted to provide decent quality, objective news. State-funded channels in Western democracies are generally freely critical of the entity that funds them – the same cannot be said of commercial stations.

  19. JC says:

    Jim Lehrers show would also do well on cable or free to air

    And your evidence for this is?

    His audience numbers, N.

    At PBS, the audience for the NewsHour With Jim Lehrer continued to show somewhat more stability than the commercial networks, but also some weakness.21

    The NewsHour, an hour-long broadcast that began in 1983 and now seen each weekday on more than 300 PBS stations, attracted approximately 2.2 million viewers a night during the 2006-07 season, according to data from the NewsHour research department. That number remains unchanged from the previous season.

    With 2 million people watching, although not big, would easily get him a slot on cable.

    And while for you it may go without saying that the state shouldnt be putting a cent towards any programming, for me it would go without saying that stations who rely on funding from advertising cant be trusted to provide decent quality, objective news.

    So you don’ read any papers then? And you shouldn’t be reading this blog because it carries advertising.

    State-funded channels in Western democracies are generally freely critical of the entity that funds them – the same cannot be said of commercial stations.

    Yea, especially here…. from a green party perspective :-)

  20. rog says:

    Its easy enough to check on McCain and the bill

  21. NPOV says:

    JC, papers don’t rely solely on advertising, the advertising they do rely on is generally more varied, and they have a market that is to a significant extent based on their reputation for decent journalism.
    But as it is, no, I often don’t trust newspapers to provide objective stories on their major advertising sectors. For instance, more than once it’s been fairly obvious that stories in The Age go out of their way not to offend the automobile and property industries too much.

    And if the was the slightest evidence that were the Green Party to somehow get itself into power and the ABC was clearly not showing the same level of criticism towards its policies and governance as it has to the ALP or Liberal parties, then I would be first person to write in and complain. It would also be pretty close to a recipe for making itself irrelevant.

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