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Today's question

What if John McCain had been elected president. Does anyone think that the team he'd be assembling now would be more conservative than Obama's thus far? This is a serious question, not facetious at all. I had expected that Obama would try to govern from the center, but so far he has exceeded my expectations on that point. And as for McCain, I like the old coot, but it's all to believable to imagine his bending over backwards to put together such a "team of rivals" that it would effectively cripple his ability to govern. I have to admit, the answer to this question isn't obvious to me. What do y'all think?


I don't think a McCain administration would be any LESS Keynesian or any MORE Conservative than Bush's last six Keynesian years or the incoming Obama administration.

In fact, I believe that McCain would probably have tabbed a number of more Left-of-Center Cabinet picks to prove his "maverick" (a/k/a anti-Conservative) credentials.

Barack Obama won, largely by running a "Moderate Suburban-oriented" campaign - supporting the NSA surveillance program, low taxes, gun rights and even opposed gay Marriage.

Obama actually ran to the Right of McCain who never endorsed ANY Conservative principles, he let his proxys (Palin and Joe "the plumber" Wurzelburger) make those, while he mostly stayed clear of those issues.

At this point, the Obama administration is NOT looking much like the Carter administration...at least NOT at this juncture. Rahm Emanuel is a devout Clinton-Centrist. Clinton was one of two Supply Side Presidents of the last four...ONLY Reagan and Clinton were ardent Free Traders and Supply Siders. Both Bush's, while globalists and Free Traders were NOT really Supply Siders at all.

You COULD argue that Emanuel is MORE Conservative, in many respects, than many Republicans...certainly more so than the likes of Dennis Hastert and John McCain.

While Rahm Emanuel is a partisan pit bull, he's also an anti-terror hawk and one of the architects of the rise of the Conservative "Blue Dog" Democrat since 2006. Interestingly enough Emanuel alienated Chicago peace activists, who'd lobbied his office to reverse course on the Iraq war, by among other things engineering a run by Tammy Duckworth - an Iraq war veteran with no political experience - against grassroots, Democrat and anti-war candidate Christine Cegelis for in Illinois' 6th District in 2006.

Obama’s economic team, Summers and Geithner are very market-oriented and Janet Napolitano was an unexpected pleasant surprise, almost as much as Eric Holder and Leon Panetta have, so far, been the only real unpleasant ones.

Part of this is probably due to the fact that Obama, like Emanuel is more a pragmatist than an idealist. It’s not hard to read the current American political landscape. TWO major ballot initiatives this year, like the THREE in 2006, ALL went the Conservatives way as did all but one (Amendment 46 in CO. 50.4% to 49.6%) this year.

Another part of it is that right now, Barack Obama is as straight-jacketed by economic considerations as are Mayor Bloomberg in NYC and Governor Patterson in NYS!

NYC is already laying off workers. Chicago's teacher's pension is one of the most underfunded and vulnerable in the nation and NYS is already looking at $15 BILLION budget deficit starting this coming July.

Should Obama raise Capital gains rates, and/or hike income taxes on the highest income earners that will not only INCREASE unemployment by stifling investment, but it will drastically REDUCE federal tax revenues and skyrocket the national debt even more....should the debt grow much higher, the fed will be sorely tempted to inflate its way out of it, by paying that debt back with cheaper dollars.

I'd hate to see high unemployment, high inflation and rising interest rates (STAGFLATION) wreck Obama's tenure, and I'm betting that neither he nor Emanuel have no intention of letting that happen.

That's why his pick of Rahm Emanuel, one of the architects of the "Blue Dog" Democrat rise, which began in 2006, is an interesting pick....it signals that Obama’s pro-Arab overtures for the Mideast are "just words," and that his liberal agenda may be more a "wish list" than a "to do list."

To date, I don't think anyone could make an argument that that McCain's cabinet would've been AS, let alone MORE Conservative than Obama's.

We may be grateful McCain didn't win, for he may have appointed that Dolt the Plumber as press secretary, thus subjecting us to crap like this, his very first report from the Israel-Gaza war zone. What a master of the English language:

"I'll be honest with you. I don't think journalists should be anywhere allowed war. I mean, you guys report where our troops are at. You report what's happening day to day. You make a big deal out of it. I-I think it's asinine. You know, I liked back in World War I and World War II when you'd go to the theater and you'd see your troops on, you know, the screen and everyone would be real excited and happy for'em. Now everyone's got an opinion and wants to downer--and down soldiers. You know, American soldiers or Israeli soldiers. I think media should be abolished from, uh, you know, reporting. You know, war is hell. And if you're gonna sit there and say, 'Well look at this atrocity,' well you don't know the whole story behind it half the time, so I think the media should have no business in it."

I'd like to think O is doing a good job, but two things bother me

1- they are virtually ALL Clinton retreads, which gives me the impression that someone is telling him who to pick and

2 - he if was so great, why didn't his own constituents back in Chicago recieve the same treatement? I know this is hiring people, but if he could stand up against the lefties and keep Warren in his inaugeration, he could have represented his own Chicago peeps better (see Grove Parc, Boston Globe 6/27/08)

as you can tell, #2 bothers me the most. I just don't see Obama as a leader. He never was noted for it as IL senator...NOW he's doing it?

"I just don't see Obama as a leader. He never was noted for it as IL senator...NOW he's doing it?" (Rachel)

Well, like the old SNL line about Sammy Davis Jr and Frank Sinatra, "Sammy's autopbiography SHOULD'VE BEEN Yes I Can...Cause Frankie Says I Can"

In this case Obama's autibiography might best be titled, Yes I Can, Cause Rahm Says I Can.

Still, with a pretty market-oriented economics team, already ending all talk of ending the Bush tax cuts early, instead letting them expire at the end of 2011, keeping Robert Gates on board and replacing Chertoff with Janet Napolitano....well, aside from Eric Holder and Leon Panetta (and Panetta will be subservient to Dennis Blair the new DNI), I've been about as pleasantly surprised as I could be and far more than I could've expected to be.

I think Emanuel (aside from a questionable gun control stance) is a pretty damned good guy and a pretty Conservative Democrat - one of the architects of the 2006 Blue Dog revolution and guy who sprung from the Clinton DLC.

I'm kind of a "two cheers for Rahm Emanuel" kind of guy myself. Yes, his gun record is abysmal, as you say, but I suppose you have to look at the district he was elected in and put it in context. I hope I don't regret these words, but I feel like our gun rights are relatively safe in the current climate.

who is in Obama's Kitchen Cabinet? We know Rahm is in. Do you think Hillary? Blago is not. Oprah?

"I'm kind of a "two cheers for Rahm Emanuel" kind of guy myself. Yes, his gun record is abysmal, as you say, but I suppose you have to look at the district he was elected in and put it in context." (BNJ)

Absolutely...urban politicians generally support gun control (however misguided) over safety concerns and a lot of gullible folks go for that, naively thinking that it "gets guns off the streets."

Unfortunately, it's a matter of QUALITY over QUANTITY - a matter of getting the criminal's guns off the streets and gun control doesn't address that problem at all. You'd think that things like the LIRR massacre would illustrate that, but not in urban areas.

It's ironic, Texans take the RIGHT lessons from a similar atrocity (the Luby's Luncheonette slaughter), but New Yorkers (like most urbanites) take the exact WRONG ones from that same kind of horror (the LIRR rampage).

Still, aside from that (and Rudy had the same glaring weakness), Emanuel is pretty Conservative for a Democrat and overall a pretty good guy.

I actually feel bad for the incoming administration...it is appearing more and more clear that they (more aptly WE) are facing a real economic tsunami and a lot of people, who'd been immune to previous recessions (including many government workers) are going to get hit and hit hard by this one...and not too far down the line.

New York City is already facing up to layoffs and has acknowledged that this first round is "nothing compared to what's coming in fiscal year '09", which starts in July.

But at least NYC is addressing its problems head-on, NY State is a real mess, some $15 BILLION in debt, NJ, Cali and a number of other states are in the same pickle...and not a layoff on that level in sight...YET.

One of the ironies that's coming is that Democrats (many Liberal Democrats) are going to be making some very ugly and unpopular decisions...which is probably appropriate, given that the current global credit crisis that started this implosion is MOSTLY the fault of Liberals like Frank and Dodd (who were behind blocking the oversight for GSEs like Fannie and Freddie and supported the turbo-charged CRA in 1995 that mandated that banks could "NOT just lend to the rich (a/k/a those who could pay those loans back)."

Here in NYC that's already happening; "In a surprising stance for a hard-core (read LIBERAL) Democrat, Rep. Anthony Weiner yesterday said generous pensions for municipal employees are out of kilter with today's harsh economic reality.

"Weiner (D-Queens/Brooklyn), one of the two top Democratic mayoral contenders, said at a Citizens Union forum that it is time to rein in runaway pension costs, which soared 700 percent between 2000 and 2008.

" "I think the days of having a guaranteed, defined-benefit pension are probably not going to be around much longer," he said."


Where's all that coming from?

From realities like these; "A report released by the Citizens Budget Commission shows that the average compensation cost of full-time city employees reached $106,743 in the last fiscal year.

"Average pay per employee topped $69,100 (including salary, overtime and other pay differentials), while average fringe-benefit costs were about $37,600. More than half the cost of fringe benefits, about $20,000, was for pension contributions, and more than $8,000 was for health insurance."


California's, Illinois' (I've read that the Chicago's Teacher's pension system is one of the LEAST funded pension programs in the nation) and NJ are all facing similar stark realities.

There are all kinds of effective leadership styles. I see nothing wrong with hiring good people and letting them do their jobs. Ultimately, there will be disagreements between members of his team. At that time, we shall see how he resolves them. If, however, Obama maintains his composure like he did for the most part during the campaign, the disagreements will be handled with a minimum amount of contention with the focus remaining on the tasks at hand.

"There are all kinds of effective leadership styles. I see nothing wrong with hiring good people and letting them do their jobs." (PE)

Yup, but Rachel has a right to her opinion and she was pointing out the failures of Grove Parc, a low income housing development in Chicago that was managed by Valerie Jarrett - "Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Obama's presidential campaign and a member of his finance committee. Jarrett is the chief executive of Habitat Co., which managed Grove Parc Plaza from 2001 until this winter and co-managed an even larger subsidized complex in Chicago that was seized by the federal government in 2006, after city inspectors found widespread problems."

Interesting article; http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/27/grim_proving_ground_for_obamas_housing_policy/?page=full

As for me, I tend to be somewhat sardonic in my social criticisms. I suppose that can be off-putting, but naive idealism really irritates me, so I guess it all evens out in the end.

I was being honest when I said that I was "far more (pleasantly surprised) than I could've expected to be," and that's in large measure due to some of his initial picks, including and perhaps PRIMARILY, Rahm Emanuel.

Rahm Emanuel is an old time political operative who'll pay lip service to things he doesn't support, or at worst, say nothing, while under the table moving forward those things he really believes in, like outwardly supporting the old-line DNC when his roots are in the DLC.

When Emanuel was made head of the Democratic Congressional Leadership Committee, recruiting candidates for the Democrats, he engineered the "Blue Dog uprising" of 2006. He was virtually SINGLE-HANDEDLY behind the run, by Tammy Duckworth - an Iraq war veteran with no political experience, against grassroots, Democrat and anti-war candidate Christine Cegelis for in Illinois' 6th District in 2006.

The old time politics that both Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama sprang from and cut their teeth on is all about pressing for personal advantage - "Nothing happens until we get our share/cut."

That's just the way things get done.

Hell, right here in good old New York, the Mob had a hidden tax on EVERY building project, because EVERYONE had to use a Mob controlled cement compnay (they were all Mob controlled), adding 20% or more to the cost of a building....EVEN the City and State paid that extra fee! THAT'S what politics is all about POWER...that and "gettin paid."

At Parc Grove, State Senator Barack Obama fought for "more low income housing," and even talked of "housing as a basic human right."

What he did was to endorse subsidies for private entrepreneurs to build low-income units. (Cause THAT'S where the money is) But, while he garnered support from developers, many of those projects deteriorated to the point where the federal government had to step in and take them over.

To me, that shows that Barack Obama is NOT some naively idealistic do-gooder (that's the worst possible epithet in my book), he's a pragmatic politician, who knows which side of the bread is buttered - placate the poor, but court favor with the rich.

We don't need idealistic, do-gooders in office (we already have too many dopes like Barney Frank and John Conyers), we need pragmatic politicians, who'll support INVESTMENT and BUSINESS as the means to prosperity, rather than looking at government as some kind of jobs creation project.

I see where PE comes from. If anything, O being "cautious" just might help out this country and maybe some animosity will be put to rest.

But even though Jarrett was the manager, the protests were going to Obama when the protesters got nowhere. Was he on Jarrett's tush when Grove Parc was being destroyed? If anything, he should have recognized it and took control of the situation (temporarily move the people, making massive improvements, sacking Jarrett, etc )to protect his reputation.

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