Friday, October 31, 2008

The Final Days ...

Nail Biting Time: In the immortal words of Chick Hearn, the greatest basketball announcer of all time, "It's nervous time at the Forum." This presidential marathon race is about to end Tuesday. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or maybe Thanksgiving. Depends upon whom you believe. All of the polls show the race tightening as it goes into the final weekend. Don't worry, caution Democratic pundits. Happens in every presidential race. Perhaps a day late and millions of dollars short, John McCain's message has found a target. He's the underdog, a crafty veteran who refuses to quit. Americans admire underdogs. Remember the lovable Mets? He says a vote for his opponent is a vote for higher taxes at precisely the wrong time as our economy flounders. He touts fear -- not that crap about Bill Ayers, socialism and Joe the Plumber -- but an unchecked Democratic Congress run by the leaders we've heard hissed and booed at Sarah Palin campaign rallies. You know, those liberal elites Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Charlie Rangel. Meanwhile, Mr. cool and confident Barack Obama remains unflappable, returning to his initial formula that after eight years of failed policy it is time for change. He calls it bottom-up politics. Change Washington and mute the lobbyists. Obama has every reason to look presidential while exuding confidence. Defying tradition since Watergate by rejecting federal campaign financing, Obama has become the best president money can buy. He outspends McCain by twice to four times in selected markets. The latest was Wednesday's prime time buy on seven networks costing about $5 million and reaching about 30 million viewers. The lavish production was geared to the common folks to make them feel comfortable with the possibility of a black man running our country. Smart politics. Compare that to McCain's negative ads which, on further review, are milquetoast compared to the Republican National Committee's TV ad in North Carolina calling Sen. Elizabeth Dole's opponent godless. While Democrats may feel giddy that victory is within its grasp, beware of a financial reform backlash. The New York Times in its lead editorial Friday said the two presidential campaigns will raise nearly $2 billion, an obscene amount that begs for fixing the system. The Obama campaign has raised about $3 million from 632,000 small donations averaging $87 from the Internet but also has grabbed up to $500,000 each from 300 fat-cat bundlers. Another report said Obama last week was spending $232,000 per hour on television and campaign staff. Once the heat of the election cools down, sober heads must prevail and bring sanity to the system. Of course, what if McCain wins? If you thought Hillary Clinton's supporters were sore losers to Obama, the National Guard will be called in to quell the Obamaniacs. The last week of presidential elections invariable are chockful of paranoia, buyer's remorse and unbelievably stupid behavior on the part of the candidates and their supporters. This one's no different.

Oh, That Sneaky Bush: The Bush administration is quietly reducing federal regulations protecting consumers and environmentalists before they leave office on Jan. 20. It is common practice among departing presidents but the Bush people are exceptionally gifted at this. By getting an early start, most of the deregulation edicts will go into effect making them difficult to change once the new president is sworn in. To do so would require special review hearings at every level of government. Most presidents such as Bill Clinton start the process too late. On Jan. 20, 2001, the Bush people killed 294 regulatory edicts Clinton favored because their effective dates for enactment extended past the inauguration date. Some of the Bush deregulatory steps would lift constraints on power plants, mines and farms. Others would clear obstacles to some commercial ocean-fishing activities, ease control on pollutants that contribute to global warming, relax drinking water standards and lift a key restriction on mountain-top coal mining. "They want these rules to continue to have an impact long after they leave office," said Matthew Madia of OMB Watch, a non-profit group critical of Bush's penchant for deregulations in areas industry wants more freedom. About 90 new regulations are expected to be adopted before Jan. 20. Among others are changes for family medical leave, lower standards for preventing oil spills and a simplified process for settling real estate transactions. The problem with this accepted executive office process is it is too political. Lobbyists play an instrumental role in writing the rules. It handicaps future presidential administrations should they oppose the new regulations. Bush has taken another presidential prerogative to extremes. That is attaching lax enforcement comments on bills he signs into law. Power is omnipresent in the Oval Office. It's been abused. For shame.

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