Bad Analogy Watch

From the Boston Globe:

CHESTER, Pa. – This is football country, so let’s use a football analogy: In the closing days of the presidential campaign, Senator Barack Obama has the ball and he’s driving deep into opposing territory. But John McCain is looking for a sack.

Obama has made big gains in his attempts to flip Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado into the Democratic column. His advisers express delight that polls have tightened in Georgia, and that the GOP is now on the defensive even in Montana, where the Republican National Committee is reportedly beginning TV advertising this week.

But for all of the offense Obama is now playing, he and his campaign are having to mount a forceful defense of a big, vote-rich, traditionally Democratic prize: Pennsylvania.

Get that? In the analogy, Obama is driving down field and McCain needs a sack, yet in reality, Obama is the one who is on defense. Shouldn’t he need a sack to prevent a late McCain comeback? Also, if you’re going to make an analogy, just make it, don’t telegraph it by writing, “let’s use a football analogy” — you’re bound to fumble.

Will Obama’s Tax Cuts Go the Way of Clinton’s?

The former Clinton chief of staff who will be helping Obama with the transition should he win, had this to say to the New York Times:

Leon E. Panetta, who was Mr. Clinton’s first budget director, said he had warned Mr. Obama of the realities ahead, should he win. “I’ve told him, Bill Clinton found this out. He walked into the Oval Office, and suddenly he found he had a bigger deficit than he even thought he had.” Mr. Clinton’s reaction, he said, was, “I’m not going to be able to do whatI want to do!”

As you’ll probably recall, one of the first things that Clinton did once in office was to abandon his middle class tax cut, which was central to his campagn. Reading between the lines of Panetta, I wonder how long it will take before Obama tosses aside his “tax cut” for 95 percent of Americans. You can already see the seeds of the justification: “When I checked under the rug, I found that eight years of George Bush has created more of a mess than I ever anticipated, and so…”

Obama’s Media Attack Dogs

Over at ABC, Michael Malone’s piece on biased election coverage is worth a read, and I especially found this part worth commenting on:

I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play….

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer — when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

The media has tried to create the narrative that John McCain has been running a more negative, nasty, campaign than Obama. But the important thing to remember is that campaigns go negative when they want to draw attention to something that isn’t being covered. In Obama’s case, the media has gone after McCain and Palin so aggressively, that there isn’t any reason for him to get his own hands dirty. In McCain’s case, however, he’s been forced to take matters into his own hands — just as Hillary did — because the media refuses to seriously scrutinize Obama. It really struck me being in the spin room of the final debate at Hofstra earlier this month, how the media was overtly confrontational with the McCain surrogates, but when it came time to engage the Obama folks, the questions would be along the lines of, “Do you think that John McCain was too nasty tonight?” So really, it’s a vicious circle. The media goes soft on Obama, so McCain sharpens his attacks, and then they criticize McCain for running a more negative campaign.

Biden on Obama’s Tax Plan

Jonathan Martin writes:

Gloomy Republicans are happy to get whatever slice of good news they can, and once again Joe Biden is the bearer of gifts.

“It should go to middle class people,” Biden said yesterday in Pennsylvania of Obama’s tax cut plan “People making under 150,000 dollars a year.”

Oops.

Obama has repeatedly said it would be those making under $250,000 who would get relief.

Actually, Biden was being consistent. If you listen carefully, what Obama has said is that those making under $150,000 would get a tax credit and nobody making under $250,000 would see their taxes go up. Both claims can be true if those making between $150,000 and $250,000 see no change in their taxes. With that said, do I believe that, if elected, Obama will keep his word on taxes? Heh. About as much as I believe in the existence of three-legged ballerinas.

Obama and the Stock Market

In IBD, Jack Kemp and Peter Ferarra write, “Are Barack Obama’s proposed tax increases adversely affecting our financial markets? We say yes, unambiguously.” What follows is a very strong case for why investors should be concerned with Obama’s tax plans and why they will be bad for investors, but there is nothing else to support their unambiguous claim that the tax plans currently are affecting the markets. I write this because I’ve seen a number of conservative authors try to argue that the market downturn is somewhat attributable to investor fears about an incoming Obama administration, yet nobody offers any evidence to support that claim. Back when I was a financial reporter, we couldn’t assert that something was hurting the market unless we had actual traders, stock analysts, or investors on record saying that it was, no matter what the correlatory evidence. And I think that’s a good rule of thumb to follow. For what it’s worth, my sense is that there probably is investor trepidation about Obama, which is part of a broader concern about the dirth of competent national leadership on the economy, but given the complexity of the markets and the magnitude of the credit crisis, I’m not sure how much of an affect the presidential race is having. But that’s just my best guess, I wouldn’t say it’s “unambiguously” true without doing reporting. 

Next Up, Israel

With new Kadima leader Tzipi Livni having failed to form a government, Israelis will now hold elections in several months (likely in mid-February). The polls will set up an epic confrontation between the Obama-like Livni, who wants to pursue a peace process with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas even though Hamas still controls Gaza, and a resurgent Benyamin Netenyahu, who wants to abandon the Bush administration-engineered Annapolis peace process that Livni supports. Of course, Iran looms large, and of significance from an American perspective is that Netanyahu is clearly more likely to take military action against Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear weapons. Economic issues will also be of concern.

Right now, polls are close. While Likud has led in many polls taken over the past year, in the latest polls Kadima leading by a slight plurality of seats, but the polls are close enough to be within the margin of error:

A poll by the Dahaf Research Institute showed Kadima winning 29 of the Knesset’s 120 seats and Likud taking 26.

A TNS Teleseker survey gives Kadima 31 seats to Likud’s 29.

The Dahaf poll of 500 people had a margin of error of 4.5 percent. The TNS survey of more than 900 people put the maximum margin of error at two parliamentary seats.

Either way, the polls suggest a significant shift to the right as far as the overall makeup of the legislative body. Right now, Kadima has 29 seats, Edud Barak’s Labor has 19, and Likud only has 12.

Polls predict Ehud Barak’s Labor dropping to 11 seats.

There are 120 seats in the Knesset and 61 are necessary to form a majority, so obviously, a lot will depend on the remaining parties.

Not Providing For the Common Defense

Barney Frank, who already has talked about the need to raise taxes, spoke to the South Coast Standard Times, and “called for a 25 percent cut in military spending, saying the Pentagon has to start choosing from its many weapons programs…” That, of course, would be absolutely insane. Frank totally ignores the lesson of 9/11 and the so-called Clinton era peace dividend, the continued threat from Islamic terrorism, the prospect of a nuclear Iran, a resurgent Russia, and emerging China amid other dangers in the world. But what’s frightening is that he is not alone, and would likely have a sympathetic ear in Barack Obama, who I’ve noted before has a long-standing antipathy to military spending, dating back at leastto his failed Congressional race in 2000.

Obama will have to find some way to pay for all of the various economic stimulus measures the Democrats are cooking up, as well as his tax plans, and his proposed expansion of social programs. Taxing the rich won’t make up enough of the difference, and defense, it seems, will be a ripe target. See also, the video below, taken during the primary, in which Obama tells an anti-defense spending group about all of the weapons systems he plans to cut.