Thursday, February 14, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

[D]eep down, I don't believe that Obama is going to change Washington, eliminate lobbying, etc. I wish he wouldn't tell me things that I can't possibly believe--and moreover that I can't really understand anyone believing. He might be the best president; he might even make Washington work a little better, though I kind of doubt it. But he isn't going to transform American politics in the utopian way his speech implies. No one who has dried out behind the ears could reasonably believe that he has this power. So why is he saying he does?

As a possible first Madame President, Hillary Clinton is a flawed science experiment because you can’t take Bill Clinton out of the equation.


Since the Iowa caucuses, I've been feeling the Hillary tug. Most of the women I've talked to in the last couple of months have felt it, too: Even if they weren't sure they'd vote for Hillary, they were rooting for her on some level. They wanted her to make a strong showing. They didn't want the girl who worked hard to lose willy-nilly to the guy who waltzed in. Those feelings must have helped bring more women than men to the polls in state after state, almost always in favor of Hillary.

But you know what? The tug doesn't feel the same to me now. I wonder if that's true for other Democratic women who could have gone either way, too. . . .

But she doesn't have to be the nominee, or the president, to have come through. She hung in there past every other contender, save one. She made it to the finals, the last round, overtime—whatever sports metaphor you want to use. I don't mean to suggest that she's done. But if she loses for good in the next weeks or months, she loses with dignity and heft and heart. And she'd leave us feeling, in a way I know I've never felt before, that a woman can be elected president. We already owe her. We'd owe her for that, too. Even if we don't owe her, or give her, our votes.


Clinton's argument to Super Delegates is that since she is more capable of taking those large states, she should be the nominee. Most of Obama’s victories have come in states that will probably not go Democratic in the fall. The true test, Clinton will plead, of who is most electable — and that will be the criteria most of the Super Delegates will be weighing — comes in those states where most Democratic voters are concentrated; the large states on both coasts.

It is a compelling argument and probably the only one she has left. But Obama will have his own counter-argument. It is he who will have won the large majority of primaries and primary votes. It would be undemocratic, he will say, to choose a candidate who finished second when the people spoke but was handed the nomination by a quirk in party rules.

The question we should ask ourselves now is does this country need a fashionable president or a courageous one?


For McCain to win in this current anti-incumbent, anti-Republican climate of war and economic uncertainty, everything will have to break right — the base will have to make a choice for the better, not the best, alternative and soon cool the rhetoric; the VP choice will have to be inspired; independents and moderates will have to be convinced that McCain’s unique life-story and national security fides trump all else; and he will have to wage an effective campaign, hope his opponents don’t, and trust that Iraq will continue to improve while the economy is stabilized.


The reality is that for Ron Paul to rule out a third-party run is a tragic error. Paul’s presidential campaign galvanized so much energy and enthusiasm that, at times, it mimicked the dimensions and depth of a real mass movement, that is, of a serious effort to recapture the GOP from the neoconservatives and inaugurate a new era on the Right.


As the Bush administration announced a fresh plan to aid homeowners overburdened by their mortgages, initial figures suggest much-touted earlier efforts have done little to help most troubled borrowers.

An earlier plan, brokered in December by the Treasury Department, called for the mortgage industry to freeze interest rates or expedite refinancing for potentially hundreds of thousands of subprime borrowers, so long as they were current on their payments. In a companion move, the administration announced a toll-free number for homeowners, but the hotline has provided counseling to just 36,000 borrowers in the past two months, and representatives have suggested loan workouts for fewer than 10,000 of them -- a small fraction of borrowers in need...

The preliminary numbers throw into sharp relief the difficulty of finding a workable solution to the housing crisis, with hundreds of billions of dollars in potentially troubled loans flowing through the financial system and foreclosures hitting recent highs. Adjustable rates on some two million subprime mortgages are expected to rise in the next two years, raising the specter of further delinquencies and more financial turmoil.


Cartoon by Jeff Danziger/New York Times Syndicate

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