The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Dr. Evil wants Ten Trillion Dollars

Let's review.

President Clinton, the "tax-and-spend" Democrat, left office with a $122 billion surplus.

President Bush, the "conservative" Republican, is on track to leave office with a $10,000 billion debt. I say $10,000 billion because "$10 trillion" seems smaller than "$10,000,000,000,000" but is in fact the same number.

Or put another way: Clinton, +$122,000,000,000; Bush, (-$10,000,000,000,000).

More personally: Clinton left every American with $428.07 in Government surplus; Bush will leave each of us $33,000 in debt[1].

President Clinton had a Republican (i.e., hostile) Congress for 6 out of 8 years. President Bush has had a Republican (i.e., friendly) Congress for 6 out of 8 years.

So, tell me again, which party uses your money more responsibly? Are you better off than you were 4 years ago? Eight? Are you angry yet?

Polls open in 35 days and 4 hours.

[1] I used population figures of 295 million for 2000 and 305 million for 2008, which probably gives Dubya the benefit of the estimate.

Just a reminder

Polls open in five weeks (and a few hours).

If you have a few extra bucks, you may want to donate to your party's congressional or senatorial committees, particularly if you're annoyed with today's vote. You can also harrangue your neighbors: check out FundRace to see who's giving what to whom.

And the rain washed down

I remember, back in the halcyon days of last week, when a certain (very) senior Senator from Arizona swooped in to save the bailout plan. Well, today, with 60% of Democrats voting for it and 67% of Republicans voting against it, I'd say he did everything he could.

But 778 points? Ouch. Good work, Johnny Boy.

In a moment of historic import in the Capitol and on Wall Street, the House of Representatives voted on Monday to reject a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry. The vote came in stunning defiance of President Bush and Congressional leaders of both parties, who said the bailout was needed to prevent a widespread financial collapse.

The vote against the measure was 228 to 205, with 133 Republicans joining 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans.

Then Krugman: We are a banana republic with nukes:

So what we now have is non-functional government in the face of a major crisis, because Congress includes a quorum of crazies and nobody trusts the White House an inch.

Interesting times. Kind of like 1931.

Update (via James Fallows): The Obama-Biden campaign released a statement:

This is a moment of national crisis, and today’s inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to join together and act in a way that prevents an economic catastrophe. Every American should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point, but now that we are here, the stability of our entire economy depends on us taking immediate action to ease this crisis.

Where are the grown-ups?

Economist Paul Krugman today chastises just about everyone involved in the bailout meltdown this week:

[T]he grown-up thing is to do something to rescue the financial system. The big question is, are there any grown-ups around — and will they be able to take charge?


[T]here do seem to be some adults in Congress, ready to do something to help us get through this crisis. But the adults are not yet in charge.

On a related note, I commend to everyone Frederick Allen's Only Yesterday, published in 1932. It's a quick read, and if you lived through the last 10 years, it will seem eerily familiar. (Someone at UVA has put the entire book online, as it may now be in the public domain.)

Sorkin imagines Obama and Bartlet

I don't read Maureen Dowd much any more, but yesterday she gave her column to Aaron Sorkin. Not bad:

BARTLET: Well ... let me think. ...We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know ... I’m a little angry.

OBAMA: What would you do?


Good advice, too.

Morford on McCain's better half

Mark Morford thinks she-who-will-no-longer-be-named-on-this-blog-because-she's-not-running-for-President is per se an insult to women's rights, and I have to agree:

[Thinking women] say: You've got to be kidding me. They say: This is what we get? This could be our historic role model? Two hundred years (OK, more like 2000) of struggle, only to have this nasty caricature of femininity try to hijack and mock and undermine it all?


WTF? Could it be true? Are cadres of formerly Obama-leaning white women really so enchanted by [her] gender and motherhood status that they openly ignore the fact that she basically wants to shove women's rights back about five decades? Can it be so simple, crude, sad?

But again, let us all remember, her purpose is to distract voters from the inconvenient fact that McCain is long past his "sell-by" date, and should under no circumstances be allowed anywhere near the nuclear launch codes, just in case he mistakes another NATO leader for Che Guevara.

Fundamentally sound Hoover

Via Krugman, a good description of how the Bush-McCain economic program resemples the Coolidge-Hoover program that caused the Great Depression:

The real cause [of the Depression] was the collapse of the banking system, which followed the crash in part because Hoover believed strong fundamentals would protect the economy from disaster.

For the likes of Hoover and McCain, asserting the strength of fundamentals is shorthand for saying that business leaders, with maybe a little cheerleading, can sort out the crisis and that Congress should not try to regulate their behavior. It's too soon to know if McCain will be proved right (I doubt it), but Hoover certainly turned out to be wrong.

At the time, Sen. Robert Wagner, a New York Democrat, characterized Hoover's response to the crisis as "the time-worn Republican policy: to do nothing and when the pressure becomes irresistible to do as little as possible." In fairness, Hoover didn't quite "do nothing," but he followed a script that may sound familiar to students of the modern Republican Party.

Why does the name "Santayana" keep popping up in my head? (Third quote from the bottom, perhaps?)