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October 03, 2008

Palin/Biden Debate

Grim's thoughts:

Of three focus groups, two said Sen. Biden won, but the third gave Gov. Palin a runaway victory. People listening to her found her intelligent, a regular American, and said 'she sounds like everybody.' She seems to have done that well.

It was clearly a major focus of the debate: I guess the Obama campaign figures that the one thing he can't do is seem like a regular guy, which he just isn't, so that's got to be Biden's job. The problem is, Sen. Biden has been in the Senate for more than three decades. Joe Biden tries to sound normal by naming places: "Scranton," "Katie's Diner." He speaks of "kitchen table issues." Sarah Palin sounds normal by talking about people, doing ordinary things.

It's clear that normal America is a place that Joe Biden visits, but that it is where Sarah Palin lives.

He has much more - fantastic review. Tigerhawk liveblogged the debate, and as always his take is well worth reading:

Biden is more knowledgeable and more polished, but we all knew that. Sarah Palin avoided any big screw ups, and her personality asserted itself in a much more attractive way than in the one-on-one inteviews that I have seen. I think she has effectively neutralized the risk in her nomination, although probably did not achieve huge gains for McCain. Is there "victory" in there somewhere?

Also, via The Armorer: hot, grrrrl on grrrl debate action!

election_fu.jpg

Men... you have to love 'em. Keepin' it real :p

What did I think of the debate? I would have liveblogged, but I passed out 2/3 of the way through the debate. Woke up this morning naked on a John Deere tractor, bitterly clinging to a King James Bible and a twelve gauge shotgun.

It's getting cold out there.

Which just goes to show you that there is such a thing as being too suggestible. It's never a good idea to agree to drink every time you hear the word, "Maverick".

Seriously, I thought Palin did what she needed to do, which was show that she can play with the big boys. It would be weird if the Governor of a western state with no federal experience were as well versed in foreign policy or the minutae of domestic issues as Joe Biden, who can leverage his long experience in the Senate. In many ways this was the mirror image of the McCain/Obama debate: Biden needed to score on points whereas Palin benefitted from being the newcomer. She only needed to look competent and credible, which she managed quite nicely. I think a lot of her critics will be surprised.

She wisely played to her strengths: her charm and her ability to connect to the average American, and avoided her greatest weakness (in depth knowledge of policy issues). It was smart of her not to appear defensive about this but after a while her caginess did start to wear a bit thin. There are only so many times you can do a Saudi Sweep from saving the whales back to energy independence.

She is really incredibly adept at getting under Biden's skin, though. About 1/3 of the way into the debate Joe's eyes went small and slitty and he got rattled. Biden is basically a decent man and he was the more experienced and prepared debater, but she was able to knock him off his stride several times and he became visibly nonplussed. That is huge.

His answer on Afghanistan is a great example. He was quite flustered when she called him out on his previous statements:

You also said that Barack Obama was not ready to be commander in chief. And I know again that you opposed the move he made to try to cut off funding for the troops and I respect you for that. I don't know how you can defend that position now but I know that you know especially with your son in the National Guard and I have great respect for your family also and the honor that you show our military. Barack Obama though, another story there. Anyone I think who can cut off funding for the troops after promising not to is another story.

Biden, on the other hand, is too slick by half. One wonders whether the average voter will figure out what a facile fibber he is? Any time I see fact after fact come tripping off someone's tongue, my spidey sense starts tingling.

It was buzzing like mad last night. Palin did a great job of stuffing Biden's previous positions in his face, but not so great a job of confronting him with Democratic complicity in the bailout crisis (which was, I think, perhaps the single most important thing she needed to do last night after establishing that she could hang with Biden).

She dropped that ball big time. I really hated her answer on the bailout - that silliness about predatory lenders forcing $300,000 mortgages down the throats of unsuspecting borrowers was arrant nonsense.

Pandering, and unworthy of the ticket. I'm sure the focus groups must have loved it, though. Still, it was wrong on so many levels.

She was great on energy, but went on too long and steered too many unrelated questions back to it. That dissipated some of the good effect of her answers.

Her answers on gay marriage and global warming should help her. I think they'll surprise many voters who truly believe that every time the moon waxes full, Sarah Palin can be found drinking the raw blood of freshly sacrificed lesbians from the skull of an endangered arctic timber wolf in a sacred grove of razed old growth redwoods.

Posted by Cassandra at October 3, 2008 05:51 AM

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Comments

I learned *that* lesson while watching Top Gun.

Ummmmm -- did they ever get away from that MiG?

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2008 09:32 AM

Palin, like ordinary people who relate to her, has the ability to adapt and overcome. That ability trumps Biden's comfort zone where he can weather-vane with the changing winds of circumstance while smiling smarmy with his photo-shopped white teeth.

In the vernacular of the street, shining off the "Silver wing on high", she knows how to identify and cut through the BS that passes for debate and public discourse these days. She reflects life in the flyover states as opposed to Home Depot/Katy's diner/Conductor on the train Biden. Obama and Biden play at having street creds. Palin lives it!

Posted by: vet66 at October 3, 2008 10:44 AM


Sarah Palin vs. Joe Biden: Comedy! Drama! Horror!

So to watch the debate at the State Theater with Michael Moore and 500 other people, 400 of them who will be voting Obama - Biden, was a lot like watching your College football team beat up on the opposition at your school's Homecoming game. The crowd roared virtually every time Palin rambled, forgetting for the moment that no one without understanding of complex policy issues should become the leader of the free world - the most powerful decision maker on earth.

See pics from the Great Debate Party at this link...

Posted by: GreatestAmerican at October 3, 2008 11:10 AM

It was a little strange listening to her blame the predatory lenders at the same time she was trumpeting personal responsibility. But the focus groups seemed to like it. It was a kind of generalized scolding that probably felt good to hear, given that most of us are still a little confused about whom to blame the most. There's a lot of "A plague on both your houses" going around. So I suppose Palin was wise to ignore specifics and concentrate on the idea of reform instead.

But if I didn't already strongly support Palin on many other specific issues, I would have found that part annoying.

Posted by: Texan99 at October 3, 2008 11:15 AM

One other point that just occured to me. Biden made the comment that he doesn't judge his colleagues on their motivation, only their judgment.

That is telling as it strikes at the heart of the current crisis. He is saying if your judgment is good you won't be held accountable for your motivation driven actions. Judgment is based on values. Motivation is amoral.

Posted by: vet66 at October 3, 2008 11:22 AM

My only disappointment about Gov. Palin last night was that she didn't attack Rep. Frank and Sen. Dodd about their complicit role in excusing Fred and Fan from responsibility for expanding sub-primes and Alt A mortgages.

However, if McCain doesn't make it, Palin could be the flag bearer in 2012 and she'll have a strong conservative following.

Posted by: OldGrouchy at October 3, 2008 02:46 PM

"Biden is more knowledgeable and more polished, but we all knew that."

I suppose that explains the fact that he said that we - and France - kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon:

Hezbollah

"Nobody – nobody – has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Not the United States. Not France. Not Israel. And not the Lebanese. Nobody.

Joe Biden has literally no idea what he’s talking about."

Not surprisingly, the MSM will simply overlook this "little oversight" and start making nasty comments about Palin's earrings.

"... a sacred grove of razed old growth redwoods."

Now that thar's whut I calls Writin' !!!!!

BillT: I saw Top Gun in a theater last night (classic movie series) - which lesson do you mean? I looked through our gracious host's post, but didn't see anything that fit.

From the MIG - I think so. A lot of planes fell out of the sky during that one. In the first encounter, they shot down a couple, then the rest headed for home.

I agree with Ebert's assessment: in the air, great movie. When people talk, it's slumber time.

Posted by: ZZMike at October 3, 2008 03:38 PM

I was all excited when she started her answer about global warming/climate change--I love it that she wanted to get away from the causes of it, whatever they may be, indicating that she wanted instead to talk about how to deal with the effects. I have been waiting for ANY policymaker to start talking about ADAPTING and planning for the effects of climate change, should they prove to be what is forecast.

But, no...after that tease, she just offered up more of the same lame cutting emissions and carbon stuff, cleaner energy, etc., which is a good idea for a clean planet, but basically just assumes that climate change is a result of human activity.

Surely I'm not the only one in the world who thinks climate change may be not only a natural cycle, but irreversible. And if that is the case, if we can't hope to stop it, what is our plan for adapting to its effects?

Posted by: April at October 3, 2008 03:42 PM

In their defense, the short answer format doesn't lend itself to thoughtful discourse. There really isn't enough time to formulate a well thought out answer.

If they want that, they really ought to give them the questions ahead of time. It isn't supposed to be a gotcha session, for Pete's sake. I'd rather see fewer questions and longer, better answers myself. IOW, I agree with you, April.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 3, 2008 03:47 PM

It was a little strange listening to her blame the predatory lenders at the same time she was trumpeting personal responsibility.

Being a politician has much in common with being a lawyer: the ability to weave two mutually exclusive concepts together into the same sentence without having one's head explode seems to go with the territory :p

Posted by: Cassandra at October 3, 2008 03:53 PM

...what is our plan for adapting to its effects?

The same old one we've used for the past umpty-millennia of changes: get out of the way of the glaciers when they advance and follow them when they retreat.

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2008 04:05 PM

Being a politician has much in common with being a lawyer: the ability to weave two mutually exclusive concepts together into the same sentence...

Actually, this concept isn't mutually exclusive.

Guilt is one thing that can be divided without being lessened. For example, in a conspiracy to commit murder, adding participants doesn't decrease the guilt of any of the parties.

So: the individuals who didn't act responsibly were wrong. The people who took advantage of them were also acting badly. Both are guilty.

Posted by: Grim at October 3, 2008 04:08 PM

Ha, exactly, Bill! But I'm thinking primarily about water, and how there is likely to be too little of it in the interior, and (supposedly) too much of it at the coasts. Can't we start developing some technology to desalinate coastal water more economically and get it to areas where there is a water crisis (which could actually be of use right now)? And by "we," I mean "you who are engineers," because I just have a liberal arts degree. :)

Posted by: April at October 3, 2008 05:00 PM

I are not an engineer, but I know that most of the drinking water for the Gulf States (as in, the Emirates, not LA, AL, or MS) is desalinated seawater and the Army's got a mobile reverse-osmosis system that works fairly well -- but the water tastes like rubber-coated canvas.

However, don't bet that there'll be drier continental interiors -- there are too many factors other than just warmer nights involved. F'r instance, there's been a subtle shift in the prevailing winds in sub-Saharan Africa, and we're starting to see grasslands replacing a lot of the stony desert in the southern Sahara. As in, hundreds of square miles in just the past couple of years.

Don't forget that the Sahara was a wet, semi-wooded *prairie* only a couple of thousand years ago.

Posted by: BillT at October 3, 2008 05:38 PM

BillT,
That was because of the monsoon lift from the southern Indian ocean that 'went away'. Actually, as the world 'warmed' after the last Ice Age, all that rain that used to transit Central Africa to the Sahara started falling further south.
The Egyptian Nile valley civilization is probably the aftermath of the civilization that inhabited what is now the Sahara. It started drying up about 8,000 years ago.

There is plenty of water in most places. It just has to be cleaned up (like take the salt out). The Arabs have an excess of cheap natural gas, which is used to fuel their de-salinization plants in the Gulf.
It takes energy to do that, so if we make electricity cheaper, it makes it easier to clean up water.
Answer: build more nuke plants.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 3, 2008 05:46 PM

I just thank God that we did kick Hezbollah out of Lebanon. Thank God for democrats. Thank God for the media otherwise many of us would still think Hezbollah was still in Lebanon.

Thanks Mike guy, I just remembered I heard that last night right before my wife asked me what I was laughing about.

Posted by: Pile On at October 3, 2008 07:11 PM

the VP debate was stunning. Palin did a decent job faking about 20% of the questions and didn't even bother answering the other 80%.

i couldn't help thinking of the end of the movie Billy Madison, when the debate moderator says to Adam Sandler, "Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

Posted by: movie fan at October 3, 2008 07:24 PM

Was Movie Fan watching the same debate as the rest of us?

Posted by: yak at October 3, 2008 11:54 PM

Was Movie Fan watching the same debate as the rest of us?


Waaall, movie fan was being just a tad hyperbolic, doggone it, but aside from that, the answer to your question is, "ya, y'betcha!"

Posted by: pogo at October 4, 2008 05:33 AM

The Egyptian Nile valley civilization is probably the aftermath of the civilization that inhabited what is now the Sahara.

And we're darned lucky about that. Can you imagine what the ME would be like with immortal Stygian sorcerers thrown into the mix? Crom 'n' Mitra, wotta mess...

Posted by: BillT at October 4, 2008 05:49 AM

At least we would know who Set's minions would be, given the copperheads.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 4, 2008 10:44 AM

think they'll surprise many voters who truly believe that every time the moon waxes full, Sarah Palin can be found drinking the raw blood of freshly sacrificed lesbians from the skull of an endangered arctic timber wolf in a sacred grove of razed old growth redwoods.

I had my doubts, Cass.

***********************

Two moments stick out in my mind.

1) When she winked at the camera.

2) When she talked about going to a soccer game and talking to parents.

Why do they stick out? Because I almost vomited.


Historian-
"Thirty plus years as a Washington insider is of no value for that office."

Uhhh, if experience isn't of value then what is?

11:08 PM By Red Son

Link

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 4, 2008 10:46 AM

Sarah Palin didn't sound like any "regular" American I know. She sounded like a regular American who was trying to emphasize her "regular" roots by faking the hick-est, most homespun, cheesiest accent and mannerisms I've ever seen a public figure have. And by doing that, she instantly marked herself as a regular politician who will do whatever they have to to win.

I'm sick of this whole "they sound like a regular American like us I could drink a beer with!" thing. I don't want a regular American to be president. I want someone who is smarter than most of us, better educated than us, more knowledgeable than us, more well-traveled, and able to speak clearly and intelligently without slang or fake swearing on any political topic you throw at them.

I don't want "average" Americans to be president. We should be putting our ABOVE average Americans in there.

Posted by: akinoluna - a female at October 4, 2008 02:12 PM

If you're from Montgomery County, Md. (which is just down the road from where I live, and where I went to high school for a few years) I rather doubt your idea of "regular" Americans would mesh with what a rural Alaskan sounds like, Akinoluna.

But if you look at a map of the US, most of it happens to be rural. This is a fact Blue staters just don't get.

And they can sneer all they want, but once you get out of the city, there is a whole other feel to America. I know - I've spent my entire life moving from one state to another and have lived in large cities and tiny hamlets.

It could not be more different. There really are two Americas. And they do not understand each other. And one of them, at least, looks down on the other with contempt.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 4, 2008 02:31 PM

And by the way, let me expand on that a bit.

As to the 'ordinary American' bit, Rod Blagojevich, Democratic Governor of Illinois, recently commented that he thought the people who are deriding Palin's experience as Governor of Alaska don't know what they're talking about.

His take is that you make exactly the same kind of decisions whether you are Governor of a large state or a small one, and they are REAL decisions with the power to directly affect people's lives in a very big way. Moreover, a governor is very visibly on the hook for her decisions, unlike legislators who can claim they were only one of a number of people who voted for a law.

I don't think there's any evidence that Palin talks any differently when she's not on camera. It sounds to me as though perhaps you need to think about your attitude about people who are from a different background than yours.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 4, 2008 02:37 PM

As to the "above average" and education bit, Akinoluna may find this link of interest:

His analysis ranked the candidates' speech on several other levels, too. Here's the breakdown:

Grade level: Biden, 7.8; Palin, 9.5 (Newspapers are typically written to a sixth-grade reading level.)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 4, 2008 02:44 PM

I don't want "average" Americans to be president.

Ummmm -- Sarah Palin isn't *running* for that office, Akinoluna. And one of my my sis-in-laws is Alaskan -- she sounds *exactly* like Governor Palin.

Posted by: BillT at October 4, 2008 03:01 PM

"I want someone who is smarter than most of us, better educated than us, more knowledgeable than us, more well-traveled, and able to speak clearly and intelligently without slang or fake swearing on any political topic you throw at them."

Another vote for the Cassandra/Grim ticket!

Posted by: Grim at October 4, 2008 03:05 PM

Drudge calls it a tossup between Cassandra/Grim and Winslow/Carmen. But you two are drawn better...

Posted by: BillT at October 4, 2008 03:48 PM

I think she has posed a fair question, and one I've often considered writing about: do we only want the intellectual elites governing us, or is a smart and talented 'ordinary American' of extraordinary gifts and/or character suited to the task?

And I would argue that by the time you win the nomination of a major party, you've mostly cleared that hurdle. It doesn't necessarily put you in the top 1% or whatever. But there have been some rather lousy Presidents - we don't know until they get into office.

So my question stands: is it intellectual prowess that makes a great president? Or leadership ability? Or emotional IQ - the ability to judge character and appoint an able Cabinet? The ability to inspire confidence and impose your vision upon others - to animate them to work toward a common cause? Or some other combination of qualities?

Do these qualities depend upon having a tony background and a fancy Harvard degree? Or can you come from humble origins and rise above them?

Posted by: Cassandra at October 4, 2008 03:49 PM

*taking the bait*

Excellent questions, all, and well-deserving of a separate post -- augmented with your usual eloquent elucidations, naturally...

Posted by: BillT at October 4, 2008 04:27 PM

Well, I've just watched the debate for the second time. I wondered if I thought she did well on Thursday only because we were afraid she was a dolt after Couric worked her magic on the CBS interviews. And I say, Palin Kicked Butt. The woman can think on her feet, and is decidedly more facile and likeable than Hillary could be after twelve years coaching in The Method by Lee Strasberg.

Palin has a way of teasing a little bit while removing your liver with her nail file. Joe Biden was quite taken by her for a lot of the debate - I think he found her hard not to like.

And her accent etc? Well, I'm from Idaho, and it sounds rather familiar. She would have gotten her speech and cadences from her parents, and then absorbed the hick Alaska stuff from her friends. And, as MathLad said, "She sounds like Dixie!" Dixie is our friend who was born in Alaska before it was a state, and has lived there her whole life. I hear a mixture.

I'll bet that she can speak with out droppin' her g's. I felt like she hicked it up a bit for the debate - her acceptance speech was not hicked up. So? If you listen to Barack Obama when he's got someone putting heat under him, like O'Reilly, he doesn't have time to remember to do the Black Preacher schtick he does for his Obamabots.

Cass asks what makes a successful president, emotional IQ, leadership ability, intellectual prowess, etc. I think that bravery and leadership ability is probably more important than intellectual prowess (witness Woodrow Wilson), but Palin has something else. It is the ability to get out and say, finally, that Barack Obama is not fit to be president because of his reckless talk about air strikes on defenseless Afghans, and today she's saying he's been palling around with terrorists. She is speaking the truth. They won't call her racist for it, either. I think it's like the kid finally saying the emperor has no clothes - someone has been wishing that someone else would say something, and now she has.

A friend of mine who loves astrology would say that Palin has "Venus Conjunct the Sun", which is the ability to bat your eyes and get what you want. (I think I'll email her and ask just that.) But she has something that lets her say the tough things without ruffling feathers. Yet.

Posted by: MathMom at October 4, 2008 04:49 PM

...do we only want the intellectual elites governing us, or is a smart and talented 'ordinary American' of extraordinary gifts and/or character suited to the task?

What's the difference between "elite" and those with "extraordinary gifts and/or character"? If it's only that they went to Harvard, forget it. Insofar as having an Ivy League degree is serving as a substitute for real "extraordinary gifts and/or character," I'm not at all interested.

This Obama fellow, for example -- if you look at his life story, you see a story of admission to the highest intellectual facilities we have. You see also almost no actual accomplishments. Based on his record as a "community organizer," state senator and Senator, I'd not vote for him to pick up dog doo in the park. I think he'd leave his duty undone while fulminating about 'social issues,' just as he has done in all his other jobs.

On the other hand, if someone of actual 'extraordinary gifts' has happened to go to the Ivy Leagues, I'll not hold it against him. Going to Harvard isn't a disqualification, so long as you can prove you're really worth something.

Posted by: Grim at October 4, 2008 05:26 PM

Well, which intellectual elites are we talking about here?

Years ago, in my wasted youth, I attended a University at which taught and researched a man who would eventually win the Nobel Prize, George A. Olah. I never knew him or met him (I might have passed him in the hall), but one of my older student friends had him for an advanced Organic chemistry class. If you read his biography (available on line), he is a pretty remarkable and wise man. Of course, he couldn't be elected president as he was born in Hungary, but he would surely be classified as an "intellectual elite", as he has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. But this is not the intellectual elite that we are looking for, is it?
I read an interesting comment on another blog today, in that while many people were chagrined by Sarah Palin's lack of "foreign policy knowledge", do any of the Presidential candidates have any real knowledge of say, how the Federal Reserve system works? That actually might be necessary at this point in time.

McCain has some experience in the old S & L industry (snicker) and Obama has learned some finance knowledge from Tony Rezko, but that is not quite the knowledge we should be looking for, I think.
There was Mitt Romney, who actually might know something about these matters, but frankly he had the feel of Wendell Wilkie about him, and the Republican party has steered away from him.

I look for intellectual elites in the elected politician class, and find a howling wilderness. Tom Coburn has an MD, which means at one time in his life he had to have had academic achievement in the +95% percentile. Howard Dean was a doctor, and look at how that turned out. There are a lot of lawyers in politics, which to me means squat; half the lawyers I have met should be taken out and shot.

So someone show me the intellectual elites that should be elected, or are electable, or that have stood for office. If Barack Obama is part of the intellectual elite, show me his college transcripts/grades from Occidental, Columbia and Harvard.
Oh, they haven't been released? Really?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 4, 2008 06:14 PM

Heh.

"Barack Obama is brilliant."

"Really? What were his grades?"

"They're unreleased. But he graduated with honors."

"Really? What were his grades?"

"I told you you can't see them. But he was President of the Harvard Law Review."

"Really? What did he publish?"

"Nothing. But he was offered tenure in his first term as a law professor."

"Really? On what basis?"

"That's not important. Then he went on to become a community organizer."

"Isn't that based on that Alinsky book, 'Rules for Radicals,' that was dedicated to Lucifer?"

"Rube. Then, he became a leading figure in Chicago's black community by running for the state sentate."

"Didn't he win by having a civil rights legend removed from the ballot, so he could run unopposed?"

"@#$# you. And then he ran for Congress."

"By stating that his participation in Bill Ayers' Chicago Annenberg Challenge was his main qualification, right?"

"$#$@ you! And then he won membership in the Senate."

"Wasn't his opponent derailed by a sex allegation, and so he only had to face non-native Alan Keyes for a few weeks before the election?"

"That's irrelevent. Now he's beaten Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination."

"Wasn't there a huge brouhaha about electoral fraud by his team in the caucus states, especially Texas?"

"You just don't shut up. Now, he'll be the greatest President ever."

Posted by: Grim at October 4, 2008 06:43 PM

One thing that really pisses me off about Obama, is that until he "transcended racial politics" I was hearing less all the time about racism in our country. It has been my observation that for years, people have been working quite well together regardless of skin shade.

Now we're all flinching again, can't say "blacklist" or "whitewash" for fear of offending someone.

Post-racial, my @$$. He has stirred up a lot of ugly cr@p that was almost gone. Jerk.

Posted by: MathMom at October 4, 2008 11:44 PM

"that silliness about predatory lenders forcing $300,000 mortgages down the throats of unsuspecting borrowers was arrant nonsense."


Well, I don't know if it was 300 thousand or 500 thousand or 200 thousand, but it was thousands of mortgages that were allowed to be made to borrowers that couldn't afford to tote the note and I suspect that most didn't really understand what they were getting into with the interest rates changing instead of fixed.


I have a good bud that is my banker, I've known him for over thirty years. He has told me many times how his bank will not lend to people that are bad credit risks and they still have people (because of illness or other life changing events) that can't make their house payments. His bank will usually work with them, direct them to someone who can help or just not kick them out of their house until every other possible alternative is tried.


In other words they are not "predatory lenders" because they will not allow someone to borrow money from them unless they have the credit history, assets, income and other factors that make them a good risk.


Countrywide (and thousands of other lenders) allowed people to get themselves into a loan that they knew at the time, that the borrowers most likely would not be able to handle later on.


Those are your "predatory lenders" that Gov. Palin was speaking of.


Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Posted by: Papa Ray at October 5, 2008 09:34 AM

Papa Ray, I have major problems with that whole line of crap.

When my husband was a brand new 1st Lt., USMC, we set out to buy a new house in Jacksonville NC.

At the time, interest rates were extremely high, and our lender put a lot of pressure on us to accept an adjustable rate mortgage. Now we were just kids at the time (24 years old is just a kid in my book - that is younger than either of my children, neither of whom owned their own house at that age and neither of whom had children. We already had 2.)

As it turned out, we couldn't afford the fixed rate loan. But we made damned sure we understood the terms of that loan before we signed on the dotted line and what we did was START SAVING so we could refinance as soon as we possibly could (and the rates went down, as they did shortly afterwards). We knew that that loan was a very risky proposition and we only signed KNOWING what we were doing and KNOWING that we had several months worth of mortgage payments in the bank.

That house did not turn out to be a good investment.

At the time we bought it, houses were turning over quickly and the land behind our house was supposed to be donated to the city by our developer for a park and a brand new elementary school. We did our research and thought we'd made a smart choice. Little did we know that the city would vote down the bond issue, forcing the developer to continue building on the land and flooding the market with houses just like ours.

Upshot: we were stuck with a great house that didn't appreciate in value very quickly. But we didn't lose money either and we had a great tax write-off for many, many years. So on balance, we probably broke even.

NO ONE knows better than a buyer what they can afford. It is the buyer's responsibility to figure out whether they can make the payments before signing a contract of sale - you never take on a debt (which is a solemn promise to repay) if you lack the ability to follow through.

I agree that some forms of loans are unconscionable.

But I have walked away from so many houses that I wanted so badly I could taste it because I know we can't really afford them, or more often, because although we can easily afford them now, if there were a change in our financial circumstances, we wouldn't be able to make the payments.

Our present home is about 40% of what we qualify for.

That's because we bought a home we could make the payments on using just my husband's military retirement and nothing else even though his active duty pay is more than that and I work full time also. We'd both love a bigger, nicer house. But we weren't willing to sign off on a bigger loan that presumed our income would always stay the same.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2008 09:56 AM

There are two components to a loan contract.

The buyer is the one who supplies the knowledge of what their income and ability to pay is, and only the buyer knows what his or her future plans are, regarding career mobility and prospects.

Having signed a HUGE debt instrument, don't you think it makes sense to make sure you both understand it and that your financial resources are sufficient to fulfill the promises you made? After all, the bank can't know whether you were telling the truth or not, and the terms of the loan are spelled out.

What many people in this area did was buy homes at the leading edge of what they could afford. For some of them, their housing payment far exceeded 30% of their take home pay.

Of course they got into trouble. Everyone knows you don't buy a house you can't afford.

It is one thing if you suffer a catastrophic life event. But as I drive around many of the neighborhoods in my area, people bought homes we walked away from, and they don't even have furniture inside or any curtains on the windows. Their cars are old and beat up.

What does this tell me? It tells me they bought on spec - they bought houses they couldn't afford hoping to turn them over and make a huge profit from the housing bubble.

I used to get mad all the time driving through neighborhoods like that, because I would love to have a HOME, but I wouldn't risk our financial security on a speculative investment like that. And now I am supposed to feel sorry for these people?

Well, I do, to a point. But they assumed that risk and now I am paying for it.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2008 10:07 AM

"NO ONE knows better than a buyer what they can afford. It is the buyer's responsibility to figure out whether they can make the payments before signing a contract of sale - you never take on a debt (which is a solemn promise to repay) if you lack the ability to follow through."

There are those that got loans, but mainly the loans I am refering to (and you will know about if you read what Countrywide and other lenders catered to, because of pressures from the Congress) are low income blacks, whites and latinos.

They got the loans pressured and not rejected by those lenders.

The rest of your comment only says what I said. Good risks who know and read the fine print, make good borrowers.

Yes, your right, many did fudge their income and other facts in order to buy only to sell at a profit. Then of course the bottom fell out on them too. But the lenders didn't take the time or trouble to check and verify those lenders as good risks. So they took advantage of others greed because of their greed.

Greed breeds greed. And it has finally caught up to everyone, except of course those in Congress that put the pressure on to loan to minorities and others that were not good credit risks.

Those congressvarmits are the ones that designed and sold this "bailout", they have not and will not suffer along with the thousands upon thousands of Americans who will suffer greatly.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Posted by: Papa Ray at October 5, 2008 10:37 AM

Those congressvarmits are the ones that designed and sold this "bailout", they have not and will not suffer along with the thousands upon thousands of Americans who will suffer greatly.

Like I said, I am fine with a bailout so long as I get the heads of the people responsible. Which means at the top, not the bottom.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 5, 2008 05:27 PM

Predatory lenders do exist. In any economic system where the risk gets socialized while the profits go to individuals, predators of all kinds crop up. They are the blade of the assassin, but not the person who gave the assassin the orders and the commission in the first place.

Predatory lenders are about the best Sarah Palin could link to, given the time she had. Any further up the chain and you would run into something called thinking, Cassandra. And you know as well as I do that a whole heck load of the people watching the VP debates were letting other people do their thinking for them.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 5, 2008 05:29 PM

Post-racial, my @$$. He has stirred up a lot of ugly cr@p that was almost gone. Jerk.

Posted by: MathMom at October 4, 2008 11:44 PM

Like Marxist revolutionaries said, you can't get an uprising until the middle class starts feeling the pinch of the proletariat. And if the middle class isn't suffering like the proletariat, then I guess that means we'll have to make them suffer in order for them to buy unto our solution to the problem.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 5, 2008 05:33 PM

Well, Ymarsakar, old chum, you make an interesting point, indeed. Though, as far as "talking the talk" and/versus "walking the walk" -- as far as actual effect (rather than mere words)-- it looks to be that GW will end up being the foremost Marxist that this country's political classes have ever produced. Under his steady hand, we've got (a) an America in deep financial crisis (a world, actually), (b) great suffering to substantial portions of the middle class (which inevitably will grow greater -- see (a), above), (c) a striking and highly troubling growth of disparity between rich and poor, and (d) what looks to be the downfall of the prominence and position of a grand old party. All this by a man whose administration was supposed to usher in the age of a permanent Republican majority. Oops.


After 8 foundational years of Clinton, and 8 of Bush, any serious conservative might well contemplate the possibility that the ultimate salvation of the Republican party (and indeed of America herself) may well depend upon a Democratic victory for the White House come this November. It may, simply, be the right time for a strategic withdrawal (although there's not much "choice" in the matter, at this point in time re: the executive (and none at all for the legislative))

Funny old world.

Posted by: pogo at October 5, 2008 08:38 PM

It may, simply, be the right time for a strategic withdrawal (although there's not much "choice" in the matter, at this point in time re: the executive (and none at all for the legislative))

I'm sure that'll feel good so long as somebody else suffers. But I wouldn't call that an honorable thing to do.

Funny old world.

A world that demands that US Marines help the Sunnis that once tried to kill and maim Marines instead of letting Al Qaeda continue to work over the Sunnis, is indeed a funny old world.

Solutions, compared to say the complaints of children, are funny like that.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 5, 2008 09:08 PM

I don't take your point on suffering and feelings and honor, etc.. But that's O.K.

I don't take the second point either, but that's O.K. too.

Posted by: pogo at October 5, 2008 09:26 PM

it looks to be that GW will end up being the foremost Marxist that this country's political classes have ever produced

It's too bad I didn't think of your response for that.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at October 5, 2008 10:12 PM

> Now we're all flinching again, can't say "blacklist" or "whitewash" for fear of offending someone.

Don't you DARE talk about votes falling down a black hole, either!!

.

Posted by: OBloodyhell at October 6, 2008 09:49 AM

> Well, I don't know if it was 300 thousand or 500 thousand or 200 thousand, but it was thousands of mortgages that were allowed to be made to borrowers that couldn't afford to tote the note and I suspect that most didn't really understand what they were getting into with the interest rates changing instead of fixed.


Then they should have taken the #$%%$^%^$% time to FIND OUT.

You don't sign a contract for hundreds of thousands of dollars if you don't know what you are doing. If you don't, you either learn or contact someone -- an attorney or accountant in this case -- and pay them to explain it to you.

Cripes, I'm a heck of a lot smarter than average, and have been told on more than one occasion that I got the jist of a contract right on my own -- but I'd STILL pay an attorney to go over any contract for that kind of money so I understood the ramifications of all of its parts.

You cannot protect inherently stupid people from inherent stupidity.

As Spencer said:
"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools"

Posted by: OBloodyhell at October 6, 2008 10:05 AM

> Surely I'm not the only one in the world who thinks climate change may be not only a natural cycle, but irreversible. And if that is the case, if we can't hope to stop it, what is our plan for adapting to its effects?

I do not yet believe that it is politically astute to be honest about the imbecility which is AGW. As such, I more than amply forgive anyone from expressing a position which I know to be stupid, as long as they haven't gone out of their way to convince me that they really mean it.

> Like I said, I am fine with a bailout so long as I get the heads of the people responsible. Which means at the top, not the bottom.

I don't have any problem with taking off their lower heads, too...

> it looks to be that GW will end up being the foremost Marxist that this country's political classes have ever produced.

pogo, the O/B will make GW look like a piker.

Posted by: OBloodyhell at October 6, 2008 10:13 AM

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