Republican Fortunes Crashing

If the first 100 Days of the Obama Administration are going to enact the reforms needed to Rebuild America, he will need a 60 seat majority (without counting the traitorous Joe Lieberman) in the Senate. It now looks like he could get to this number.

The possibility that Democrats will build a muscular, 60-seat Senate majority is looking increasing plausible, with new polls showing a powerful surge for the party’s candidates in Minnesota, Kentucky and other states. A poll out Friday shows Sen. Norm Coleman could now easily lose his Minnesota seat to comedian-turned-candidate Al Franken. A Colorado race that initially looked like a nail-biter has now broken decisively for the Democrats. A top official in the McCain camp told us Sen. Elizabeth Dole is virtually certain to lose in conservative North Carolina.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has seen his race tighten dangerously close over the past week — and Democrats are considering moving more money into the state very soon. And there is even talk that Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss is beatable in conservative Georgia after backing the economic bailout package opposed by many voters.

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0 Responses to Republican Fortunes Crashing

  1. Jason says:

    Just to be clear, the 60 number is counting both Lieberman (I) and Bernie Sanders (I). These two caucus with the Democrats, giving them a 51 Senator majority.

    It’s amazing that we are even talking about the possibility of the Democrats getting a 60-member majority. Who knows if Lieberman would continue to caucus with them though, or how every party member would be.

  2. Jason says:

    Just to be clear, the 60 number is counting both Lieberman (I) and Bernie Sanders (I). These two caucus with the Democrats, giving them a 51 Senator majority.

    It’s amazing that we are even talking about the possibility of the Democrats getting a 60-member majority. Who knows if Lieberman would continue to caucus with them though, or how every party member would be.

  3. Paulette says:

    Wow, this is very encouraging. Obama’s 50 state plan seems to be working. He’s a great strategist with excellent foresight.

  4. Seth says:

    Hey, give Howard Dean a little credit for the 50 state plan. He started implementing that before Obama even started running 😉

  5. Mike says:

    Lets throw a party! – Err, Just exactly HOW is OBAMA going to do this? Another great title: “Republican Fortunes Crashing” – This is great to you guys? Of course it is. Anyone who wroks for something has just got to be bad and if they prosper, well then they’re Evil. I’m sure this post will be deleted but thats OK. Like I said, Everyday Republicans see a day in this County like the 4th of July and Dems see it as April the 15th.

  6. douglas newhouse says:

    scary—no checks what so ever— not a good thing–both parties need to have some moderation to their worst intincts

  7. Dan says:

    How is Obama going to do what? Clean up the mess created by drunk-on-power Republicans who yes, I agree, thought that every day for the past eight years has been a holiday for them?

    You know what every Monday through Friday was for me, up until last Friday, Mike? It was go-to-work day. Now I’m out of work thanks to the credit crunch created by deregulated sharks courtesy of the Republican party and their “Let free markets be FREE!” ideology, their “Government is always the problem!” ideology.

    “Anyone who wroks for something has just got to be bad”

    Yeah that’s how I feel right now too. Only it’s the Republicans who have put me here.

    Your post won’t be deleted, Mike, but it will be given the consideration it deserves.

  8. len says:


    Consider that George Will may be right. It was fiddling with the free market that created the conditions for the crash. The subprimes and their connections to government agencies firesaling properties to unqualified lendors are all creations of government in the second order systems and those are Democratic creations.

    A free market does not sell below value or inflate credentials to keep value high. It’s sugar in the fudge.

    If the housing sold by the non-profits for HUD are sold to unqualified buyers, the houses lose value. The idea was the government would bail them out (they are) but the effect was disastrous for the macroscopic energy budget (money as a product of home value). Now we are at least a year away from the bottom of the free fall in their value.

    So be careful, here. You and yours overreact and the pendulum swings wildly. The trillion + dollar bailout is the equivalent of flipping the power switch on the amplfier.

    The problem is not in unregulated or regulated markets. The markets are regulated but badly. The problem occurred in the third order systems designed to tune them for the conditions at hand. The oversight failed. Whose hand was on those sliders?

    Barney Frank. Nancy Pelosi. The list goes on.

    I’m very sorry about your job. It is a problem many of us have shared of late and may again sooner than we want to acknowledge.

  9. Jon Taplin says:

    Len-I’m afraid you are just spouting nonsense here. As I have pointed out, this crisis was caused by the SEC decision in 2004 to let the banks and mortgage companies determine their own safe leverage ratios. The path from that decision to today’s collapse is a straight line.

    For nine months your antecedents from the right on these pages have mocked my cautionary warnings that Bush & Co. were leading us down the road to destruction. Now that we have arrived there, you want to rewrite history and blame it on Barney Frank. To claim it was not the fault of the regulators but the congressional overseers, is an intellectual parlor trick that not even silver tongued devils like you and Hugo can pull off.As the NY Times points out this morning, pressure from Fannie’s big shareholders to get more of the subprime business was far stronger than anything Barney Frank could have applied.

  10. Dan says:

    For someone who claims to be a Democrat, you sure have been toeing the everything-that-has-ever-gone-wrong-can-be-traced-to-liberals line lately.

  11. Ken Ballweg says:

    “A free market does not sell below value or inflate credentials to keep value high.”

    That’s right Len, which is why all of us liberal whiners have said all along that the largely Republican (though some Dems got to eat at the table too) congress didn’t really support a “free market”. The old trope of “it’s the liberals fault for passing legislation against redlining did it all” is pure Limbaugh gas baggery.

    “If the housing sold by the non-profits for HUD are sold to unqualified buyers.”

    That’s your straw man? HUD non-profits did it? And your statistics to prove that the majority of sub-prime loans came from non-profits came from which orifice?

    No mortgage company, and no lending bank was required by any law to lend to people whose income could not support the payments. The majority of bad loans came from for profit companies run by people who bought into the belief that the increase in housing values was a permanent trend not a bubble. That doesn’t happen at the non-profit level.

    And the notion that HUD did it in anyway ignores the Bush budget which stripped HUD funding to the lowest it been since it was created. There wasn’t enough there to lend in a way that cause a fraction of this mess.

    Sub-primes was an invention of those “free marketers” who only wanted the freedom to do anything they wanted to do without regard for the consequences. That would be the very free market people who are asking for BIG government welfare right now.

    Show me stats along with your far right attack industry talking points. Without stats showing that more sub-prime loans were written by HUD sponsored non-profits rather than for profits, your opinions sound like my neighbor’s sub-rabid Chihuahua; all yap, yap, yap, yap, yap, ditto-yap, ditto-yap.

  12. Ken Ballweg says:

    Opps, delay in posting made for piling on.

    Fifteen yard penalty for me and loss of down.

  13. Dan says:

    I declare the penalty declined.

  14. Ken Ballweg says:

    That would be Len’s call actually.

  15. Alex Bowles says:


    Aristotle notes in his Physics that you can really find four causes for anything in nature. What’s really interesting is that these causes don’t necessarily exist in nature. Rather, by saying that we can find them, Aristotle is making an observation about how our minds work, and how we can and must abstract from nature in a variety of ways to determine what actually creates kinesis.

    In reality, all four causes – the Formal, Material, Efficient and Final – can be found in anything we can see. Analysis is really about negotiating the filters between what we can observe, and what we can understand.

    With the financial crisis, you could see ideological positions, taken on either side of the aisle, as the formal causes, with particular policies or decisions based on these a priori positions being the material causes of the crisis. The efficient causes can be derived from the interplay of these policies (intended or not) within and between the humans operating within the financial system. The final cause of the crash can be found in the fundamental disconnect that developed between ‘the economy’ as a theoretical abstraction within the minds of people depending on it, and ‘the economy’ as a tangible reality, rooted in nature and everyday life.

    In short, talking about the cause is really a matter of discussing all of these causes combined in a single, unified thought. It may take another generation before compression of this kind is really possible. In the meantime, those of us in direct proximity would probably do better to identify which kind of cause we’re taking about when we try to identify roots.

    Knowing that justice delayed is justice denied, and that people can’t necessarily wait a generation before assigning the kind of blame that humans feel compelled to distribute, I’d suggest that the third category of cause – the Efficient – is the place to look.

    This seems like the best choice for the simple reason that this category deals with the world of action, of human choices and decisions. In other words, it’s where we can most clearly identify the ethical success or lapses that (a) tie results to particular actors and (b) in a way where there can be no doubt about the moral aspect of a failure and, consequently, an appropriate target for real culpability.

    Here, I would suggest that the ratings cartel (composed of Moody / Fitch / S&P) should bear the brunt. After all, this was were, in the words of George Parr, the ‘magic’ of the market really happens.

    It’s extraordinary what happens then. Somehow, this package of dodgy debts stops being a package of dodgy debts and starts being what we call a Structured Investment Vehicle.

    None of this is meant to absolve any of their other players, who all had their own causal effects in this mess. Abandoning all historical sense, as the SEC did with their 2004 decision, was sure to lead to grief at some point. And even if the SEC had limited Wall St. banks to historic norms, programs run by the HUD would still have the kinds of market distorting effects that were already leading to serious inflation in the housing market, so trouble was brewing independently there, too.

    The place where these two developing monsters crossed paths was in the ratings agencies. As soon as dodgy debt was given the legal fig leaf of an entirely unwarranted AAA rating, the conflagration became unstoppable.

    Again, introducing 30 or 40:1 leverage requirements was likely to end badly, no matter what. But it bears noting that it was the subprime market in particular that the Big 5 banks were eying when pressing for the rule change. Had this toxic stew been labeled accurately, even 100:1 requirements couldn’t have qualified it as reserve-grade. Likewise, 10:1 requirements would still not have prevented chaos if the AAA ‘1’ proved to be a fraud.

    And the ratings were a fraud. That’s why this realm, above all others, deserves retribution for truly criminal conduct. Just about any other participant can, on some level, play the see no evil game, but not here. This is where the buck supposedly stops. Only it didn’t, for reasons that had everything to do with their short-term bottom lines, and total abdication of the public trust they held in return for their privileged positions within the system. In short, actions taken here represented the purest, most concentrated form of betrayal.

    Some may see irony in the fact that the agencies were, in terms of income earned, very small players in this massive catastrophe. But that’s hardly a new pattern. After all, Judas betrayed Christ for a handful of silver coins. Proportionally speaking, you could say that the ratings agencies were similarly middling in what they gained in return for their betrayal.

    If there’s a Biblical lesson in this, it may be a reminder that sometimes the smallest, and most squalid acts of treachery have the greatest effects.

    With the baseline for blame established here, the systematic process of moving outwards can begin, and with it, the categorization of various player according to various shades of grey, from the darkest and most cynical shades, to the lighter ones, where truly good intentions ended up as paving stones on the road to hell.

  16. Jon Taplin says:

    Alex- I think you are right about the ratings agencies. I wrote about this last week and in some sense they provided the key ingredient when the court wanted to believe the emperor was clothed, even though there eyes told them he was naked.

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