September 7, 2008

A Study in Contrasting Responses

Justin Katz

Put aside, for a moment, the very interesting fact that the article is one of an increasing number that place Obama in parallel with Palin and compare and contrast the pair's responses to the question of government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Obama:

"These entities are so big and they are so tied into the housing market that it is probably true that we have to take steps to make sure they don't just collapse," Obama told an audience in Terre Haute on Saturday.

But Obama added that the government needed to take steps to guard against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ultimately profiting from the government assistance.


"Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, they've gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers," Palin said. "The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help."

Note Obama's distancing of himself from the decision making — "probably true," "we have to take steps," and "don't just collapse" (with no notion of what they should be) — but with a touch of anti-corporate seasoning for good measure. Palin, on the other hand, jumps right into that aspect of the question over which the administration in which she'll play a role has a say, and she gives a direct and simple reason: "they've gotten too big and too expensive."

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Simple statements for simple minds

Posted by: phil at September 7, 2008 12:22 PM

Very simply put, Phil.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 7, 2008 8:35 PM

I didn't notice Obama distancing himself from the decision-making. I did notice him expressing an opinion on the action taken by the federal government.

I also noticed Palin ducking the issue completely. Instead of expressing an opinion on the takeover, she blathers about vague plans to make the entities more efficient. Who could be against making government more efficient? But what about the takeover?

Of course, if she ever subjected herself to a media interview with real journalists, perhaps that question would be posed to her. With less than 60 days until the election, we know next to nothing about this woman, other than the family story which the party trots out every other minute.

It is an outrage that the McCain camp is shielding her from answering questions. If she isn't ready to face the New York Times today, she certainly isn't ready to face Putin in January.

Posted by: Pragmatist at September 8, 2008 1:12 AM

Oh no. No, no, no.

See, that's the beauty of a distinctly left-leaning media, Pragmatist. They become the opposition research team for the Democrat candidate. We already know quite a bit about Gov Palin, including irrelevancies like the details of the divorce of two of her friends and the DWI her husband got at 22. [Now if only they would talk about the DWI which that trooper she wanted removed dodged ...]

And you can bet they have been digging furiously ever since. So relax, Pragmatist. Soon, thanks to our Democrat-leaning diligent media, you and the world will know everything there is to know about Gov Palin.

Posted by: Monique at September 8, 2008 8:03 AM

Wait a minute. The media frenzy is all McCain's fault. He chose a complete unknown to potentially be second in command of the most powerful nation in the history of mankind. And we have less than 60 days to find out who the hell she is and what she believes. That McCain make this irresponsible pick is indctment enough on his wacky judgment.

Yes, that nasty "liberal" media is at it again. Doing all of those unreasonable things like asking questions, following leads, and doing the vetting that McCain never did.

And perhaps Palin herself could help enlighten us all by actually speaking to the press. She is still in hiding. No doubt, getting a crash course on fundamentals like the difference between Sunnis and Shias. Great, just great.

Posted by: Pragmatist at September 8, 2008 12:09 PM

Gee, I remember being told all the time I was growing up (which has been more than quite a few years) that the United States was a great country, one in which anyone could become President. I guess they forgot to mention it doesn't also apply to Vice-President? Or is it just another of our old fashion notions that need to be tossed like yesterday's trash.

Posted by: bobc at September 8, 2008 12:53 PM

The truth is that the Democratic Party elected someone who until the campaign had been a complete unknown to potentially command the most powerful nation in the world. But I guess that’s different than what you’re referring to.

Also, I wonder if Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter (not to mention Bush), former Governors, were experts on foreign policy before they ran for President. Are you suggesting that no one whose only experience is Governor should be on a Presidential ticket? Or does that only apply to one party?

bobc, it does apply to Vice-President, and also Senator. Remember when a woman who had never previously held a political office ran for Senate with her only experience being married to the President? I guess that’s also not the same thing.

The only thing that has any merit is that Palin has not yet made the rounds of Sunday morning talk-shows and other network interviews. I truly believe she will have to do that soon enough.

Posted by: msteven at September 8, 2008 3:52 PM


Perhaps prior to posting, next time you will make some attempt to understand the line of posts and comments, since you apparently posted without having the slightest notion of the topic.

Nevertheless, I will repeat for you. The debate here was not over her qualifications, but her ducking of the media. Why hasn't she had a press conference? Interviews? Morning talk shows? Anything?

The answer is pretty obvious, isn't it? She isn't ready to face the press because she has rarely if ever expressed much of an opinion on any of the great national and international questions of the day: Iraq, the war on terror, the housing financing crisis, international trade, etc. etc. etc. And if she hasn't even expressed an opinion on Iraq in any substantive way yet, how can the McCain campaign ask the voters to take this pick seriously? Isn't it McCain who has made the surge a central reason for his election?

As to Obama, at least he has been vetted by the media now for more than a year, endured successfully a brutal primary, and stated positions on every topic imaginable. Obama went on O'Reilly's show. Is it too much to ask that before we vote, Sarah Palin answer some questions from the press?

Posted by: Pragmatist at September 8, 2008 5:12 PM

And one more point. Palin said that Freddie and Fannie are "too expensive to the taxpayers." Prior to the takeover, no government funds were used to run them. They are private entities established by Congress. What taxpayer cost is she talking about? Her ignorance of basic finance in this country is absolutely frightening.

Posted by: Pragmatist at September 9, 2008 10:54 AM

I was commenting on your second comment, not the first. Please try to understand the difference. When and if I comment on your first comment, you'll be duly informed. Perhaps even you can't keep track of the drivel you spew.

Posted by: bobc at September 9, 2008 11:23 AM

You're only half correct.

Fannie and Freddie can not be thought of as fully private entitities. You're correct about their origins. Fannie began as part of the New Deal and Freddie was created by Congress in 1970.

But both Fannie and Freddie have long benefited from federal guarantees of their outstanding obligations. Over the course of time, there was an increase in the amount of their outstanding, putting taxpayers on the line for those obligations.

A truly "private entity" wouldn't have been able to dominate in the U.S. mortgage market. Government sponsorhip was needed to do that.

Their government sponsorship allowed them to lower their borrowing costs below what a real private sector entity would have had to pay.

For years, Fannie and Freddie spent millions to protect themselves from increased government regulations, even though they benefited from special government status (y the way, Obama was one of the top recipients of Fannie and Freddie cash, receiving more money than all but two other members of Congress).

I think of Freddie and Fannie as being akin to Beacon Mutual. Yes, they're officially private, but in many respects, they're quasi-public.

Posted by: Anthony at September 9, 2008 5:58 PM
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