Monday, September 29, 2008


I appreciate getting the info about Alaska. I hope to visit the area soon.

You make good points, but I am still willing to bet on McCain.

The Intrade betting site has the odds at 58 to 40.2. McCain took the lead just a few weeks ago, but lost it during the turmoil over the bail out and during gasoline shortages brought on by hurricanes.

The big swing issues this election will not be the politics of Alaska. The fact that Stevens collected huge pork for Alaska will not hurt McCain as Stevens is likely to be convicted, and it is McCain and Palin who are campaigning for reform.

In the meantime, democrats cannot resist pork. The just passed budget bill included 2,300 earmarks, $6.6 billion of spending, on top of many other substantial "payoffs".

During each bail out progress report, democrats have pounded the theme that the bail out is a result of lax regulation on the part of Bush. John Adams was right, "Facts are stubborn things". "People are entitled to their own set of opinions but not to their own set of facts."

The bail out is the result of primarily democratic regulations that required banks to make loans in the worst of locations and to the worst of credits, the result of atrocious democratic policies and practices in regard to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the result of ridiculous Sarbane-Oxley regulations in regard to mark to market accounting. Bush is on record, trying to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2003 and John McCain is on record, cosponsoring a reform bill in 2005. Each of these measures were blocked by democrats who fought fiercely for ever more lose lending.

Since hurricane damaged refineries are up and running again, gasoline prices are likely to drop to $3.20 within 10 days. Prices should drop more before the election.

The heavy advertising over the last few weeks of the campaign will tell a few stories.

1) How the refusal of democrats to allow the development of US energy has cost us dearly in several ways. With gasoline prices down to the $3 range, a vote for democrats will be seen as a vote for $4 or $5 gasoline. A vote for democrats will be a vote to reimpose the drilling moratorium that was in effect from 1981 to 2008.

2) How the interference of congress in free markets forced us into the loss of major banks, a housing melt down and a financial crisis.

3) How the win in Iraq will help us for centuries to come and how it will save soldiers lives for generations to come.

4) How the threats from Russia and Iran are best left to someone with a solid understanding of diplomacy.

Obama is often wrong on domestic issues but always smooth. He stumbles repeatedly when he gets into the area of international affairs. During these dangerous times, it would be extremely risky to elect an obvious rookie as Commander in Chief. Senator Biden was selected to bolster the ticket's international credentials but Vice Presidential credentials have never, to my knowledge, swung an election.

Take the case of Bush-Quayle in 1988. The Quayle pick was criticized from the word go. The tape of Lloyd Bentsen's famous statement that "You are no Jack Kennedy" has been played a million times, but Bentsen was not elected. Sure, Bill Clinton beat Bush but "Obama is no Bill Clinton".

In 88, Dukakis lead by 17 points after the democratic convention. The thing that hurt him the worst was the picture of him riding around in a tank wearing an over sized helmet. He lost the election because George Bush had international experience during a time of confrontation with Russia.

The skeptic in me wonders if Bush actually has a deal with Putin to ratchet up the heat just before the election. The kind of favor a guy like Putin would do for a small price.

Based on the current state of the economy, one would expect the democrat nominee to lead by 20 points. The poll numbers are extremely fluid; anything is possible, but it is amazing that McCain is so competitive in democratic strongholds. People from industrial states appreciate the need for low cost energy. America cannot expect to increase manufacturing jobs in America without increasing our energy supplies.

When Obama was running against Hillary, it was clear just how massive his tax increases would be. He has since moved and he continues to move to the right on taxes and on Iraq. Still, McGovern demonstrated that Americans are reluctant to vote for those who admit they plan to raise taxes. Many Americans were very slow to forgave George H.W. Bush for breaking his promise not to raise taxes.

McCain certainly has an uphill battle during this economic slowdown. He does have the advantage of being on the right side of several key issues.

As far as Palin is concerned, expectations have been pounded down. She may do much better in the debates than is expected.

In any event, when Bush dragged Quayle across the finish line with a landslide 40 state, 53 to 46% lead, he showed that the vice-president nominee is not very important. Bush would have easily dragged him across the finish line again in 1992 had Ross Perot not spent many millions of dollars to take 18.9% of the vote.

Even better than Quayle's example, is the one of James Stockdale as Perot's running mate. He did not know he was really on the ticket until a week before the debate. Because he did not wear his hearing aid, he was disoriented and confused throughout the debate. Bill Clinton became President with 43% of the vote, one of the lowest totals in history.

Finally, Obama leads in the popular vote polls because of huge leads in populous states such as CA and NY. As always, winning the electoral vote is the only vote that counts.

On Sun, Sep 28, 2008 at 10:54 PM, Al wrote:

Placing any bets on the outcome of the election before Thursday's debate should get better odds than 60:40. Currently Sarah Palin is dropping rapidly in the poles and a bad night at the debate will crush any chances of a McCain victory.

I have a cousin who lives in Wasilla and I visited there in 2005. My wife and I spent several weeks driving through Alaska sight seeing and talking with the locals where ever we went. I can truly say it is the most beautiful place I have ever been in the summer time (I'm not sure how I'd take the winters) and the people have a hearty self reliance befitting their surroundings.

In 1996 when she became mayor Wasilla was a town of about 5000 with the Alaska Railroad and the Parks Highway running through it. It had a municipal budget of $6.5 million and 53 employees. Wasilla is about 50 miles northeast of Anchorage in an area that is Alaska's next area for development, as Anchorage is nearing geophysical limits for its development. Wasilla has grown to about 6500 people since 1996 and developed a strip mall atmosphere along the newly widened Parks Highway (the road between Anchorage and Wasilla is one of the few four lane sections of road in Alaska, which has no interstate highways). The total population in the state of Alaska is that of a congressional district (there are 435 districts, each with about 600,00 people), although the land area is over twice as large as Texas. The two largest land owners are the federal government and Alaskan native tribes. The citizens of Alaska refer to rest of us as the "lower 48" and for the most part have very little interest in lower 48 life or politics. Gov Palin has reduced pork to Alaska from about $550 to just under $300 million last year. This is still the highest per capita amount of pork in any state. Every Alaskan resident (man, woman and child) receives an annual oil dividend, this year it was over $3000 and in many families accounts for a large portion of the family's cash income. I have not been able to confirm this as fact, but if I understood the news broadcast correctly, 104 cities in the US have higher annual budgets than the state of Alaska.

Alaska also has very high rates of drug and alcohol abuse and a higher than average per capita incarceration rate. Correctional facilities are overcrowded and state prisoners are sent to other states. Many of these things are to be expected from a state that calls itself "The Last Frontier".

Its nice to know that at age 72, John McCain can still appreciate a physically attractive younger woman, but after listening to Sarah Palin's recent interviews with the media, I truly must wonder if he'd rather loose an election than harm his country.