721 Days until Election Day

November 10, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"The decisive shift of public opinion came when the financial crisis hit. McCain approached it like a fighter pilot, denouncing Wall Street, suspending his campaign, threatening to skip the first debate. Obama approached it like a law professor, cool and detached. Voters preferred law professor to fighter pilot. This was a triumph of temperament, not policy."

– Michael Barone

MORNING UPDATE:

NATIONAL REVIEW…Bill Whittle wrote a great piece that helps summarize our challenge and opportunity…he said:

"On Tuesday, the Left – armed with the most attractive, eloquent, young, hip, and charismatic candidate I have seen with my adult eyes, a candidate shielded by a media so overtly that it can never be such a shield again, who appeared after eight years of a historically unpopular President, in the midst of two undefended wars and at the time of the worst financial crisis since the Depression and whose praises were sung by every movie, television, and musical icon without pause or challenge for 20 months . . . who ran against the oldest nominee in the country’s history, against a campaign rent with internal disarray and determined not to attack in the one area where attack could have succeeded, and who was out-spent no less than seven-to-one in a cycle where not a single debate question was unfavorable to his opponent – that historic victory, that perfect storm of opportunity . . . Yielded a result of 53 percent.

…The great lesson from Ronald Reagan was simply that we can and must gently educate as well as campaign, and explain our ideas with smiles on our faces and real joy in our hearts. For unlike the far-left radical who gained the presidency on Tuesday, we start with 150 million of the most free and intelligent and hard-working people in the history of the Earth at our backs, with a philosophy that – unlike theirs, which has resulted in 100 million dead in unmarked graves – has liberated and enriched more people and created more joy than any nation or combination of nations in our history.

And then we will begin, with a confident and happy heart, to examine how we have failed the American people in regard to making clear the moral and philosophical underpinnings of our philosophy. For anyone that fully understands these philosophies, presented calmly and with wit and humility, will come to our side and never leave.

We have tried, and failed. Tomorrow we will try again.

How can we lose, my friends? How can we lose, unless we give up?"

 

 

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TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.

 

 

 

Big 3’s hopes rest with Washington

U.S. automakers issue ultimatum to Congress: Bailout or bankruptcy.But GM, Ford must persuade taxpayers

America’s political leaders have a choice to make, and very soon:

Do they want the country to keep its own independent automakers, a hallmark of major economic power around the world? Or are they content to allow a once-in-a-century financial crisis to speed the collapse of Detroit’s automakers, a reckoning that would take far more than General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. or Chrysler LLC down with it?

If America, through its representatives in Congress, doubles down on Detroit, how can the automakers assure their newest shareholders that a new Detroit will be better and more profitable than the old one pleading for a federal bailout to avoid bankruptcy court, dismemberment or liquidation?

Talks On Big 3 Expected Monday Between Obama, Bush

POSTED: 5:35 pm EST November 9, 2008UPDATED: 7:12 pm EST November 9, 2008

DETROIT — The struggling automakers are expected to be high on the agenda for a meeting Monday between President-elect Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.

Ailing Detroit automakers General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler are looking for any kind of relief.

But talks between Obama and Bush to bail out the automakers could be stagnant at best. Bush is reluctant to sign a bill that would broaden use of the $700 billion rescue package.

 

GM cutbacks impacts more than the local plant

Posted: Nov 9, 2008 12:33 PM EST

General Motors just announced they’ll be cutting one shift at the Lansing’s Grand River Plant this is where they make the Cadallic CTS, STS, and SRX, a GM spokesperson says that will mean a loss of about 300 to 400 jobs but the impact will be felt far beyond those workers and far beyond the local plant.

Officials say it will also have an impact on suppliers that assembles engines that go right into the vehicles at the Grand River Plant. Officials say if GM is making fewer cars then they need fewer parts to go into those vehicles.

Why auto executives are ruling out going bankrupt

Slashing of jobs, shredding of benefits still would offer no guarantee of survival

BY JUSTIN HYDE • FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF • November 10, 2008

Over more than a century, Detroit’s autoworkers have survived two world wars, recessions and oil spikes, but a bankruptcy by a U.S. automaker would finally knock their destiny out of their hands.

Despite vows by top officials to avoid bankruptcy, fear is high that dwindling cash reserves could push one or more of Detroit’s three automakers into court protection within the next several months. Even a hypothetical glimpse of the consequences shows why executives insist bankruptcy is not an option.

The fallout would likely range from thousands of jobs cut at factories and offices to the slashing of jobs at suppliers and dealers, the shredding of benefits for workers and losses for investors and pension plans.

 

Funding for state roads in big trouble, so expect big changes

BY MATT HELMS • FREE PRESS COLUMNIST • November 10, 2008

Michigan drivers could be in for a lot of changes as the state grapples with funding its distressed transportation system.

Drivers could see increased fees for licenses and registration and a major overhaul of the state’s gas taxes. Toll lanes could be built, easing congestion by allowing people to pay for a faster commute. Counties could ask voters for tax increases to pay for local road improvements.

Those are among the suggestions that a statewide task force will release today, laying out the scope of Michigan’s transportation funding mess and scores of possibilities to raise money so the system doesn’t disintegrate.

Mich. gas tax, registration fees may have to rise

11/10/2008, 12:01 a.m. ESTBy DAVID EGGERTThe Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Gov. Jennifer Granholm and lawmakers should consider eliminating Michigan’s 19-cents-a-gallon gasoline tax and replacing it with a tax on the wholesale price of gas, according to a report being released Monday.

Swapping the taxes would let revenues rise or fall with changing fuel prices rather than tying gas revenues to consumption, which is falling as motorists drive more fuel-efficient cars or cut back on buying gas to cope with prices that at one point topped $4 per gallon.

Triumph of Temperament, Not Policy

Law professor vs fighter pilot.

By Michael Barone

The Democrats’ victory – and Barack Obama’s – was overdetermined and underdelivered.

Overdetermined: Huge majorities believe the country is on the wrong track and disapprove of George W. Bush; voters prefer generic Democrats over Republicans by 10 percent or more. But Obama beat John McCain by (at this writing) just 52 to 46 percent, running 2 points ahead of Bush in 2004 and 1 point behind George H.W. Bush in 1988. Democrats fell short of the 60 votes they need to stop filibusters in the Senate and made more modest gains in the House than the leading prognosticators expected.

To be sure, Obama ran a skillful campaign. Just as he capitalized on Hillary Clinton’s weakness in party caucuses (she won more votes and delegates than he did in primaries), so in the general election he used his unprecedented ability to raise money by breaking his promise to take federal funds and by disabling the address verification system that would have screened out many illegal credit card contributions.

Such actions by a Republican, as Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz has argued, would have gotten scathing coverage from mainstream media. Not so for Obama. His campaign outspent McCain’s vastly on ads and organization in target states. That probably switched 1 percent or 2 percent of the vote in five key states – Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana – which meant that Obama won a solid 364 electoral votes rather than a Bush-like thin majority of 278. All of which shows a certain ruthlessness. But ruthlessness is a useful quality for a president (see Roosevelt, Franklin; Reagan, Ronald).

Governors Know Best

After the celebrations of the success of Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the congressional Democrats, it is time to tip the hat to some other people — with names such as John Hoeven, Jon Huntsman, Jim Douglas and Mitch Daniels. They are Republicans reelected Tuesday as governors of North Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Indiana.

This week, at least 16 of the 21 Republican governors now in office will gather in Miami to assess the state of their party. If there is any hope for its future, they are the ones most likely to provide it. In a dreadful year for the GOP, when senators and representatives were falling wholesale, not one incumbent Republican governor lost.

 

A Political Postmortem

John McCain was a victim of financial panic.

By Charles Krauthammer

In my previous life, I witnessed far more difficult postmortems. This one is easy. The patient was fatally stricken on September 15 – caught in the rubble when the roof fell in (at Lehman Brothers, according to the police report) – although he did linger until his final, rather quiet demise on November 4.

In the excitement and decisiveness of Barack Obama’s victory, we forget that in the first weeks of September, John McCain was actually ahead. Then Lehman collapsed, and the financial system went off a cliff.

This was not just a meltdown but a panic. For an agonizing few days, there was a collapse of faith in the entire financial system – a run on banks, panicky money-market withdrawals, flights to safety, the impulse to hide one’s savings under a mattress.

Gorbachev calls on Obama to carry out ‘perestroika’ in the U.S.

MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said that the Obama administration in the United States needs far-reaching ‘perestroika’ reforms to overcome the financial crisis and restore balance in the world.

The term perestroika, meaning restructuring, was used by Gorbachev in the late 1980s to describe a series of reforms that abolished state planning in the Soviet Union.

In an interview with Italy’s La Stampa published on Friday, Gorbachev said President-elect Barack Obama needs to fundamentally change the misguided course followed by President George W. Bush over the past eight years.