The United States and Britain appear to be converging on a similar blueprint for stemming the financial chaos sweeping the world, one day before a crucial meeting of leaders begins in Washington that the White House hopes will result in a more coordinated response.
The British and American plans, though far from identical, have two common elements according to officials: injection of government money into banks in return for ownership stakes and guarantees of repayment for various types of loans. [continued…]
… on Wednesday the British government, showing the kind of clear thinking that has been all too scarce on this side of the pond, announced a plan to provide banks with £50 billion in new capital — the equivalent, relative to the size of the economy, of a $500 billion program here — together with extensive guarantees for financial transactions between banks. And U.S. Treasury officials now say that they plan to do something similar, using the authority they didn’t want but Congress gave them anyway.
The question now is whether these moves are too little, too late. I don’t think so, but it will be very alarming if this weekend rolls by without a credible announcement of a new financial rescue plan, involving not just the United States but all the major players.
Why do we need international cooperation? Because we have a globalized financial system in which a crisis that began with a bubble in Florida condos and California McMansions has caused monetary catastrophe in Iceland. We’re all in this together, and need a shared solution. [continued…]
The unmistakable momentum behind Barack Obama’s campaign, combined with worry that John McCain is not doing enough to stop it, is ratcheting up fears and frustrations among conservatives.
And nowhere is this emotion on plainer display than at Republican rallies, where voters this week have shouted out insults at the mention of Obama, pleaded with McCain to get more aggressive with the Democrat and generally demonstrated the sort of visceral anger and unease that reflects a party on the precipice of panic.
The calendar is closing and the polls, at least right now, are not.
With McCain passing up the opportunity to level any tough personal shots in his first two debates and the very real prospect of an Obama presidency setting in, the sort of hard-core partisan activists who turn out for campaign events are venting in unusually personal terms. [continued…]
McCain supporters in Bethlehem, PA:
Editor’s Comment — There are indications that after having fanned the flames of Obama-hatred among his supporters, McCain is now recognizing the ugliness of what he has provoked.
John McCain can’t play the role of being the guy you’d like to share a beer with. Instead, what he should be asking himself is whether he wants to rely on the support of people he’d be scared to share a beer with.
When a candidate starts being disgusted by his own supporters, it’s time for some soul-searching. McCain doesn’t need to consider how he’d answer the phone at 3am; he needs to think about how he lives with himself after he’s lost this election.
… over the past few decades, the Republican Party has driven away people who live in cities, in highly educated regions and on the coasts. This expulsion has had many causes. But the big one is this: Republican political tacticians decided to mobilize their coalition with a form of social class warfare. Democrats kept nominating coastal pointy-heads like Michael Dukakis so Republicans attacked coastal pointy-heads.
Over the past 15 years, the same argument has been heard from a thousand politicians and a hundred television and talk-radio jocks. The nation is divided between the wholesome Joe Sixpacks in the heartland and the oversophisticated, overeducated, oversecularized denizens of the coasts.
What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect. [continued…]
… when Obama visits the region, [poet, author and purebred Appalachian, Ron] Rash recommends that he say the following: “I know that for well over a century, the only time people come to Appalachia is when they want something. They want your coal, your timber and they want your vote. They take what they want and they leave and they don’t come back until they want some more. I’m not going to do that.
“I’ll make a vow to you today that a year from now, I’ll be back. And we’ll discuss what I’ve done and whether you feel like I’ve honored what I’ve said here today. I’ll come back this time of year for as long as I am president.”
Obama should also say that though he is different in many ways, he is much the same. He didn’t grow up with wealth, and had to work hard, as they do. On the war — a prickly point in these parts — Obama should recognize that Appalachia has contributed more than its fair share to America’s wars.
He should say: “We may disagree about this war, but one reason I disagree is because this region more than any other has sent soldiers into battle for this country. And part of honoring that is not sending them into a war that has not been well thought-out.”
Straight talk without condescension is all anyone asks. It may be all Obama needs to finish the race. [continued…]