McCain Supporters Angry! Mean! Scary!

The latest media meme is that McCain rallies are full of angry, bitter (and presumably racist) Americans who hate Obama.  Both, apparently, are based a single rally yesterday in Waukesha, Wisconsin — and just two outbursts from the crowd, at that.

Slate‘s John Dickerson was on the case last night with a piece titled “A Republican Mob Scene: John McCain’s supporters are madder (and scarier!) than he is.”

At a normal campaign rally, it’s the candidate who tries to whip the crowd into a frenzy. At John McCain’s town hall in Waukesha, Wis., Thursday, it was the other way around. “I’m mad, and I’m really mad,” said one man who’d been called on to ask a question. “It’s not the economy. It’s the socialist taking over our country.” McCain started to respond, and the man shot back sternly. “Let me finish please. When you have an Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of the hooligans up there gonna run this country, we’ve got to have our head examined. It’s time that you two who are representing us, and we are mad.”

After the crowd stopped chanting “USA,” McCain promised that he would take on Obama and the Democrats (and wisely didn’t choose the moment to present his case for the financial bailout or his plan to have the government buy mortgages). Before the question-and-answer portion of the rally, McCain had already clobbered Obama several times. But the audience stuffed into the gymnasium at a local sports center wasn’t satisfied.

A man suggested McCain talk about abortion to draw the distinction between him and Obama. Another asked, “Why is Obama where he’s at? Everyone in this room is stunned. We are all a product of our associations. Is there not a way to get around this media and line up the people” whom he is associated with? (No one in the press corps could hear the end of the man’s statement because the crowd roar was so loud. Each advice-giver was cheered like a hero.)

James T. Harris, a local African-American talk-show host, stood and said, “I doubt that anyone in this room has taken, pardon me, the ass-whuppin’ that I have taken for supporting you. Sir, I believe that in the next coming debate it is absolutely vital that you take it to Obama and that you hit him where it hits” [sic]. The crowd exploded. “ACORN is out there, we have Reverend Wright, all of these shady characters that surrounded him. I am begging you, sir.” McCain told the man that he would take his advice—but that he also will offer a “positive plan of action” to address the financial crisis.

Michael Shear and Perry Bacon pick up the torch in this morning’s WaPo with “Anger Is Crowd’s Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally.”

There were shouts of “Nobama” and “Socialist” at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.

[Harris quotes redacted]

In recent days, a campaign that embraced the mantra of “Country First” but is flagging in the polls and scrambling for a way to close the gap as the nation’s economy slides into shambles has found itself at the center of an outpouring of raw emotion rare in a presidential race.

“There’s 26 days and people are looking at the very serious possibility that there’s a chance that Obama might get in, and they don’t like that,” said Ian Eltrich, 28, as he filed out of the crowded sports complex.

“I’m mad! I’m really mad!” another man said, taking the microphone and refusing to surrender it easily, even when McCain tried to agree with him.

Sheesh.  Look:  It’s the closing days of a long, polarizing campaign.  We’ve been whipped up to believe that this is The Most Important Election in American History and that The Fate of America’s Future is at stake.  McCain is losing.  Obama is winning.   The culmination of all this is that some McCain supporters are frustrated.

So what?

This has been the case as long as I can remember.  Certainly, we saw it in 2004, as Kerry supporters simply could not believe that we were about to re-elect George W. Bush.   Heck, we saw it from supporters of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and other losing candidates in this year’s primaries.   People who are enthusiastic enough about a candidate to show up at a rally are naturally going to have a hard time dealing with the fact that their fellow partisans/countrymen don’t share their view.  That’s especially for those afflicted with Pauline Kael Syndrome and therefore can’t even imagine what kind of people would vote for the other candidate.

While the existence of public polls can skew the election results that they purportedly are trying to predict, they also have the salutary effect of helping people come to terms with these things.  People in, say, San Francisco probably found it hard to believe that Bush was likely to win last time but they were at least prepared for the possibility.  Similarly, people in, say, Birmingham (or, more accurately, its affluent suburbs) are coming to grips with the likelihood that Barack Obama is going to be their next president.

I know nothing about James T. Harris.  To the extent that he’s a proxy for others, though, he’s far more likely dealing with Stage 3 in the in the grief process rather than a generally bitter, angry individual.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    This will all be really trivial, right up until the point that one of McCain’s supporters takes it on himself to shoot the socialist in the head.

    And then we will read at OTB and elsewhere that McCain and Palin bear no responsibility whatsoever for failing to confront their violent supporters.

  2. Anderson says:

    Joe Klein:

    Watch the tape of the guy screaming, “He’s a terrorist!” McCain seems to shudder at that, he rolls his eyes… and I thought for a moment he’d admonish the man. But he didn’t. And now he’s selling the Ayres non-story full-time. Yes, yes, it’s all he has. True enough: he no longer has his honor. But we are on the edge of some real serious craziness here and it would be nice if McCain did the right thing and told his more bloodthirsty supporters to go home and take a cold shower. But McCain hasn’t done the right thing all year. His campaign is appalling, as the New York Times editorial board said today–and more, it is a national disgrace.

  3. I would agree that one should not over generalize from a few campaign events.

    Regardless, the McCain campaign has taken on an exceedingly nasty tone in the last couple of days,m which is both unfortunate and will feed more of the general frustration with the economy as well as anger and disappointment over losing the election (which seems likely at this point).

  4. Michael says:

    Both, apparently, are based a single rally yesterday in Waukesha, Wisconsin — and just two outbursts from the crowd, at that.

    I first started hearing these complaints about Palin rallies in Jacksonville and Clearwater.

  5. sam says:

    I hope you’re right, James. I really hope you’re right.

  6. Anderson says:

    Couple of quotes via the indefatigable Steve Benen (just linking his post due to OTB spam filter — I only wish our borders were protected half as well).

    On CNN last night, David Gergen, a Republican advisor to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton, commented on the “anger” evident at McCain/Palin rallies of late. “There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence,” Gergen said. “I think we’re not far from that.”

    When Anderson Cooper expressed skepticism about whether violence was likely, Gergen said he “really worries” given “the kind of rhetoric” coming from the Republican ticket.

    . . . .

    John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.

    “People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Senator Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Senator McCain,” Weaver said. “And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive.”

    I cannot even begin to imagine what it would do to this country if Obama were assassinated.

    If that _____ McCain really put “Country First,” he would be equally concerned. But he’s not. Because he is scum.

  7. Michael says:

    The Secret Service is even looking into allegations that a supporter at one of the rallies shouted “kill him”, though whether it was directed at Obama or Ayers.

    The point remains that recent rallies are convincing people that Obama should be prevented from becoming President, by any means necessary. Both McCain and Palin keep feeding that radicalism hoping it will translate into support on Nov. 4, but are oblivious (I hope) to the consequences it may have on Nov 5.

  8. Wayne says:

    Obama’s rallies are angry and mean when Obama brings McCain’s or Palin’s names up. It is just another example of double standards by many.

  9. Michael says:

    Here am article that mentions the “kill him” comment in Clearwater, and someone calling Obama a “terrorist” in New Mexico.

    This is a little more common that you think, James.

  10. Michael says:

    Obama’s rallies are angry and mean when Obama brings McCain’s or Palin’s names up.

    Examples?

  11. anjin-san says:

    Certainly, we saw it in 2004, as Kerry supporters simply could not believe that we were about to re-elect George W. Bush.

    If you have any photos of Kerry supporters at rallies wearing tshirts with Bushs’ face Xed out in red, please share…

  12. tom p says:

    Both, apparently, are based a single rally yesterday in Waukesha, Wisconsin — and just two outbursts from the crowd, at that.

    actually James this has been going on for a # of days now and my unofficial tally is now up to 4 rallies.

    TPM directed me to these 2 links on Oct 6th:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/06/in_fla_palin_goes_for_the_roug.html

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/10/06/in_fla_palin_goes_for_the_roug.html

    Dana Millbank of the WaPo heard somebody scream “Kill Him!” when SP mentioned BO (or maybe it was Ayers… some dispute on that point, both names were mentioned in the same sentence… under the circumstances, I find it unlikely this individual was that angry about Ayers)(the SS is now investigating this) At another SP rally somebody called a sound man “Nigger”. At this same rally (I think) there were calls of “Traitor!” at the mention of BO’s name. At a JM rally “treason” and “traitor” were yelled out.

    It is getting hard to keep it all straight, so the # might only be 3, but I think it is up to 4.

    That neither JM or SP has stopped their stump speeches to denounce this immediately, is not that big a deal. It is entirely likely they never even heard these words.

    The fact that they do not now denounce these sentiments forcefully and repeatedly is disturbing.

  13. Billy says:

    If violence does occur, Google cache will fortunately serve as a reminder of your apologism for anti-social behavior.

  14. Steve Plunk says:

    Heck, why vote? You guys have already decided who has won. I wish I could be so confident.

    Others here are predicting violence from McCain supporters. I doubt that will happen but obviously I don’t have the same crystal ball at my disposal.

    So I better get down to see a grief counselor and find out what stage I’m in before I kill myself or an Obama supporter. With all this anecdotal evidence that the race is over, Republicans are evil, and Obama supporters are in line to become saints, I have issues to deal with.

  15. Wayne says:

    “Examples?”
    Just watch any Obama Rally.

    Do you have any video on the “kill him” comments?

  16. Wayne says:

    Michael
    “I first started hearing these complaints about Palin rallies in Jacksonville and Clearwater.”

    Where are your links and video for that claim?

  17. Derrick says:

    So I better get down to see a grief counselor and find out what stage I’m in before I kill myself or an Obama supporter. With all this anecdotal evidence that the race is over, Republicans are evil, and Obama supporters are in line to become saints, I have issues to deal with.

    That’s not even a decent strawman argument. Democrats can be as big of jerks as Republicans, and I’m sure they have about Palin and McCain. The difference is that some in the GOP don’t just think that Obama is a bad person, but now it has been elevated to him being some psuedo-terrorist. We know what most people would like to do to a “terrorist”, if they got their hands on one. That is a level of potential danger in which we haven’t seen from either party until now.

  18. cian says:

    James,

    You may be right, but from what I’ve been seeing, something scary is beginning to bubble to the top and is growing rather than receding with each day that draws us closer to November.

    The McCain campaign are no longer attracting Joe and Jane six-pack, they’re attracting those Americans who will not tolerate a black president. Go look at the videos of the crowds outside the event held in Pennsylvania, and listen to the roars of hate that greet the mention of Obama’s name.

    Its not anger or disappointment that is growing, its hate, and McCain and Palin know this but continue anyway.

    Someone is going to win this in November and in Jan 09 start the hard work of bringing the country together so we can challenge the difficulties ahead as a nation. McCain is no longer capable of providing this kind of leadership.

  19. Wayne says:

    Michael
    “Both McCain and Palin keep feeding that radicalism hoping it will translate into support on Nov. 4.”

    Where are your links and video for that claim?

  20. anjin-san says:

    “Examples?”
    Just watch any Obama Rally.

    We await your video Wayne.

  21. Bithead says:

    Examples?

    Do you really need exampels of Bush Deragangement Syndrome in this medium to understand it exosts? Or is this as a suppose, merely a rhetorical tool?

    Even you must admit Democrats have gone to an awful lot of effort the last few years to whip up BDS to a fine endge. And just as clearly, the Demorats ahve been tryingt o label Mccain with Bush so as to transfer that anger. And it’s working, too, to the point where we now have prominent Democrats… Carville, as an example, suggesting that if Obama loses, race riots will ensue.

    But course, Democrats don’t label that dangerous, do they?

  22. Michael says:

    Wayne,
    I have watched many Obama rallies, and while there is an obvious dislike for the opposing candidates, there has not been anything I would label as “hate” or “fear”.

    I provided links to an article about the Clearwater incident.

    I can find you videos of McCain and Palin using rhetoric meant to energize their supporters with fear about an Obama Presidency, if you honestly don’t believe they exist. But first you have to state, publicly, that you don’t believe they exist, and that if they do exist it would actually change your opinion, otherwise it’s just a waste of time isn’t it?

  23. Anderson says:

    So, in these comments, we have *one* honorable conservative, Steven Taylor, who doesn’t think that supporting the GOP requires crossing one’s fingers that Obama gets shot.

    The rest pretend everything’s fine. And cross their fingers.

    And then you wonder why most of the country doesn’t want your sort running the place?

  24. Davebo says:

    Even you must admit Democrats have gone to an awful lot of effort the last few years to whip up BDS to a fine endge.

    To the extent that the infamous BDS even exists, I’m afraid you can’t blame it on democrats.

    Bush did a fine job of whipping it up on his own.

  25. Michael says:

    Bithead,
    I know about the existance of BDS, and people using hateful and fearmongering rhetoric against both President Bush and Senator McCain (which is something altogether different than BDS).

    I am not complaining about McCain blaming Obama for things, I’m complaining about McCain (and Palin) trying to make people think that Obama is a threat to them and their country. Say he is a bad choice all you want, but don’t tell people he’s a threat.

    But course, Democrats don’t label that dangerous, do they?

    If you saw somebody who you believed was morally corrupt and fiscally irresponsible walking down the street, and you had a loaded gun, what would you do? Now, if you saw someone you believed was a terrorist and a traitor walking down the street, and you had that loaded gun, what would you do?

  26. Bithead says:

    Say he is a bad choice all you want, but don’t tell people he’s a threat.

    So, we should lie?

  27. cian says:

    Say he is a bad choice all you want, but don’t tell people he’s a threat.

    So, we should lie?

    I mean what exactly is it Bit fears from an Obama presidency?

    That he’ll lead us into an unnecessary war?

    Crash the economy?

    Corrupt the justice department?

    Legalize torture?

    Fill government agencies with cronies so they can party with hookers on the lobbyists’ dime?

    I thought he liked that kind of thing.

  28. David Elliott says:

    First, it is well known that by movies, statues, music concerts (in San Francisco last Spring the performers lead the crowd in a “Kill Bush” chant as well as here at the Burning Man festival. The Democrats have created a tolerance of hate speech of the most vile sort for many years.
    Yes, Conservatives are frustrated that a socialist may be elected to the presidency without being vetted by the mainstream media and almost worshiped by them as even Saturday Night live pointed out.
    Furthermore, an economic collapse promoted by Democrats in the name of affordable housing as they looted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for tens of millions of dollars, then are fined a fraction of their loot when caught. The media follows blindly the Democrats “lack of regulation” riff, when the opposite true.
    We are reminded many times a day by the media that Bushes approval rating is only 25% and he is hated by all, but somehow the Democrats Congress approval ration of 9 or 10% rarely mentioned, is never a problem. The Democrat Congress has managed to double gasoline prices, continuously sought surrender in Iraq, wrecked the economy, threatens to shut down talk radio with their “Fairness Doctrine” and right to work by eliminating secret ballot in labor union elections. We are faced with an Orwellian media and Democrat Party, Obama supports all th these initiatives and the economic policies of Herbert Hoover of protectionism, higher taxes, and expansion of government. Yes, we are frustrated and angry, but we not planning to shoot anyone. AS noted Carville says there will be riots if Obama is not elected and NPR has had numerous stories stating your racist if you do not vote for him. No story on his socialism, ACORN connections, Rev. Wright liberation theology, links to Farrakhan, Ayers, etc.

  29. Wayne says:

    Michael
    After I took the time to find a video, you admit that there is dislike for McCain at Obama’s Rallies. You don’t label it hate or fear because you agree with them. Obama has stated many time the dangers and dire consequences of electing McCain. That what campaigns do. I never denied McCain does it but my point is Obama does it too. You trying to deny that is asinine.

    Anderson
    What does supporting the GOP have to do with crossing one’s fingers that Obama gets shot? You can support the GOP without that hope. Can you point out the posts that state they want Obama shot or is your imagination getting the better of you?

  30. Wayne says:

    “Now, if you saw someone you believed was a terrorist and a traitor walking down the street, and you had that loaded gun, what would you do?”

    I would report him to the authorities. If he started shooting people, I would shot him. I sure and hell wouldn’t vote for him to be President of the United States.

    There are many traitors that walk freely among us.

  31. just me says:

    Shoot I don’t want to see Obama get shot-if Obama gets shot I get Biden for president.

    The man wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him on the behind.

  32. tom p says:

    I will try again to get the 2nd (correct) link up.

    This is a Fox new video posted at TPM in which one can clearly here a supporter yell, “Terrorist!”

    http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/10/mccain_who_is_the_real_barack.php

  33. Grewgills says:

    After I took the time to find a video

    If you found video of similar action at an Obama rally why not provide a link.
    Anderson provided a quote from Gergen, Michael provided a link to an article, and tom provided a video link. Where is yours?

    There are many traitors that walk freely among us.

    Care to elaborate?

  34. Mike P says:

    Your dismissal of this surprises me, James. You don’t think it’s dangerous that people are yelling “kill him!” and “off with his head” in regards to the first major party nominee who happens to be African-America? You know, America does have a little bit of a history with killing the “uppity negroes” when they are making progress.

    Stop being so blithe and open your eyes. This is scary shit. There’s a difference between saying “I can’t believe this guy is going to win!” and “He’s a terrorist!” and “Kill him!”

  35. Bithead says:

    You guys really are too much.

    I mean what exactly is it Bit fears from an Obama presidency?

    Socialism, in a word…

    That he’ll lead us into an unnecessary war?

    I question your definiton of unnecessary as being too dependant on who has the White House at the time.

    Crash the economy?

    As I’ve said Democrats bear the direct responsibility for that. The more we find out about Fannie and Freedie and loan fraud, the more we know that to be the case.

    Corrupt the justice department?

    Apparently you’ve never heard of Janet Reno, history having stated the moment GWB was brought into office.

    I’m going to be kind and assume you’re having an off day.

    After I took the time to find a video, you admit that there is dislike for McCain at Obama’s Rallies

    Yeah, apparently they’ve never seen a ‘code pink’ rally. Think ‘kill him’ is the worst threat they deliver?

    Trust me… it’s not.

  36. M1EK says:

    James, at some point you’re going to have to wise up and realize your team has been corrupted by some really bad people. Obviously you’re not there yet, but this comment thread ITSELF pretty much shows the difference. Guys like Bithead are exactly the sort at the rally – and they’re predominantly clustered on one side of the fence at this point in history.

  37. carpeicthus says:

    I just want to know how Bithead managed to find his way off the couch and to a McCain rally.

  38. cian says:

    Socialism, in a word…

    Oh, good. I thought you might be afraid he’d try and explode a suitcase bomb or something. ‘Cause, really Bit, you kind a sound like that type of guy a lot of the time.

  39. Billy says:

    I just want to know how Bithead managed to find his way off the couch and to a McCain rally.

    I’d be shocked if he got out of his mother’s basement, let alone to a rally of any kind.

  40. Michael says:

    Bithead,
    Answer me this, and then I think we’ll be done. Do you think that Barack Obama is enough of a threat to this country that he should be killed rather than allowed to become the President?

    Wayne,
    You just proved my point, if you believed someone was a existential threat, you would do whatever was in your power to eliminate that threat. If McCain and Palin convince people that an Obama Presidency is an existential threat to this country, someone is going to act to eliminate that perceived threat.

  41. Wayne says:

    Tom p
    I listen to it several times. It wasn’t all that clear what the audience members shouted out. One shoutout did sound similar to terrorist but was not clear enough to say for sure. Of course the left have a history of hearing whatever they want even when the audio is clear.

    Grewgills
    Jane Fonda, Michael Moore, Bill Ayers to name a few. Not only do they qualify morally but also technically by the law. However out of concern for free speech many are given a great deal of leeway. I can’t totally disagree with that but think there should be a limit.

    Also Obama undermining the current administration efforts for military treaty in Iraq would qualify him as one. Will he be prosecuted for it? No. I would agree we should be cautious in going after Politicians for such acts. Obama clearly did cross that line though.

  42. Michael says:

    Wayne,
    For what it’s worth, I’ve seen plenty of hate and fear from members of my own party, and it disgusts me. But what I don’t see is the leaders of my party, it’s candidates for top office, feeding that hate and fear.

  43. Mac G says:

    Stop Buying the Economy Collapsed because the Dems gave special deals to Freddie and Fannie line. This is just not true.

    http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/beat_the_press_archive?month=09&year=2008&base_name=market_place_misleads_the_publ

    Economist Dean Baker recently reported that the accusation that “the financial crisis is attributable to the close government relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” is “obviously not true.” He wrote: “Fannie and Freddie got into subprime junk and helped fuel the housing bubble, but they were trailing the irrational exuberance of the private sector. They lost market share in the years 2002-2007, as the volume of private issue mortgage backed securities exploded.”

    Indeed, in a 2006 Securities and Exchange Commission filing covering its activities in 2004, Fannie Mae stated (report available here): “We did not participate in large amounts of these non-traditional mortgages in 2004 and 2005.” In the report, Fannie Mae also noted the growth of subprime lending and reported, “These trends and our decision not to participate in large amounts of these non-traditional mortgages contributed to a significant loss in our share of new single-family mortgage-related securities issuances to private-label issuers during this period.” In a 2006 Federal Reserve analysis, Souphala Chomsisengphet, a financial economist at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and Anthony Pennington-Cross, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, reported that the value of the subprime market had increased from $65 billion in 1995 originations to $332 billion in 2003.

  44. Wayne says:

    Michael
    Are you claiming Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed haven’t been feeding hate and fear?

    What has McCain said that is all that different from what Obama has said?

  45. David Elliott says:

    The government promotion of “affordable housing” corrupted the rest of the market as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The collapse is due directly to government intervention in the market lead by Democrats Dodd and Frank. That Freddie and Fannie are not 100% of the problems is moot. See Washington post article or any of the articles from Wall Street Journal. The other point is this is not even mentioned as a problem by Obama and the mainstream media who link the collapse to Republicans as unfairly as they link McCain to Bush.

    Fannie’s Perilous Pursuit of Subprime Loans
    As It Tried to Increase Its Business, Company Gave Risks Short Shrift, Documents Show

    By David S. Hilzenrath
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, August 19, 2008; D01

    In January 2007, as years of loose mortgage lending were about to send the nation’s housing market into devastating decline, Fannie Mae chief executive Daniel H. Mudd wrote a confidential memo to his board.

    Discussing the company’s successes, Mudd said one of Fannie Mae’s achievements in 2006 was expanding its involvement in the market for subprime and other nontraditional mortgages. He called it a step “toward optimizing our business.”

    A month later, Fannie Mae outlined plans to further expand its activities in the subprime market. The company recognized the already weak performance of subprime loans but predicted that they would get better in 2007, according to another Fannie Mae document.

    Internal documents show that even late in the housing bubble, Fannie Mae was drawn to risky loans by a variety of temptations, including the desire to increase its market share and fulfill government quotas for the support of low-income borrowers.

    Since then, Fannie Mae’s exposure to loosely underwritten mortgages has produced billions of dollars of losses and sent its stock price plummeting, prompting the federal government to prepare for a potential taxpayer bailout of the company. This month, Fannie Mae reported that loans from 2006 and 2007 accounted for almost 60 percent of its second-quarter credit losses.

    Fannie Mae documents from the period, obtained by The Washington Post, paint a picture of a company with the dual incentives of fostering affordable housing and making money, and of one caught between the imperatives of increasing its market share while avoiding excessive risk. In a bid to juggle these demands, the company’s executives took on risks they either misunderstood or unduly minimized.

    Engaging the Market

    Fannie Mae aimed to benefit from subprime loans and expand the market for them — and hoped to pass much of the risk on to others, documents show. Along with subprime loans, which were typically issued to borrowers with blemished credit, the company targeted so-called Alt-A loans, which were often made with no verification of the borrower’s income.

    “By entering new markets — especially Alt-A and subprime — and guaranteeing more of our customers’ products at market prices, we met our goal of increasing market share from 22 to 25 percent,” Mudd wrote in a 2006 year-end report to the Fannie Mae board dated Jan. 3, 2007.

    In other internal documents, there was a common refrain: One of Fannie Mae’s objectives for 2006 was to “increase our penetration into subprime.”

    In an interview, Fannie Mae Executive Vice President Thomas A. Lund said the company pursued the purchase of subprime loans in 2006 and 2007 at the request of lenders, who wanted Fannie Mae to take the loans off their books. He said Fannie Mae hoped to bring higher standards to the market, and he added that the loans helped the company in its struggle to meet goals the government had set for Fannie Mae’s advancement of affordable housing.

    Fannie Mae spokesman Brian Faith said that as early as 2005, the company’s management was publicly expressing concern about loans with layer upon layer of risky characteristics.

    At a conference in spring 2005, Lund warned about the danger to borrowers, asking, “Are we setting them up for failure?” according to news reports.

    Despite such reservations, Fannie Mae moved ahead.

    In 2006 and 2007, Fannie Mae “carefully broadened our entry into the subprime market,” Faith said in a statement. At the time, it wasn’t clear how severe the problems in the housing market would become, he said.

    In a written statement provided for this story, Mudd said, “In 2006 and early 2007, the industry, many analysts and market observers were generally not predicting a downturn in the housing and credit markets to the magnitude of what has since emerged, and outlooks for particular market segments at that time varied significantly.”

    Compared with the broader market for Alt-A loans, Fannie Mae “was more conservative in its approach and the loans have continued to perform better,” Mudd added.

    Chartered by the government to keep mortgage money flowing, Fannie Mae buys loans from lenders, enabling them to make more loans. It also packages loans into securities for sale to other investors, guaranteeing it will make the payments if borrowers default. Its mortgage-related investments and guarantees total $3 trillion.

    During the peak years of the housing bubble, the company was distracted by an accounting scandal and its fallout. For much of 2006, the company was focused on a continuing effort to correct years of false financial reports, a massive project that cost more than $1 billion and ultimately revealed that Fannie Mae had overstated past profits by $6.3 billion.

    Mudd promised his employees a celebration when the restatement was done, and he delivered. In December 2006, the company threw a holiday bash at a Washington hotel with entertainment by Earth, Wind & Fire, the ’70s group known for such hits as “Boogie Wonderland” and “Fantasy.”

    “I hope you had a fantastic time at the holiday party. I sure did. And my feet still hurt. Thank you for making the party a blowout,” Mudd wrote in a year-end message to employees.

    In his year-end memo to the board, Mudd said he hoped the completion of the accounting corrections would prove to be a turning point — “a time when we began to put a difficult past behind us and also to build for the future.”

    Mudd said he worried that while the company focused on its accounting problems, “the business itself would get away from us.” He said the company avoided that pitfall but now faced another: intense competition from “usurpers and innovators.”

    Buying Alt-A and subprime mortgages was part of Fannie Mae’s effort to meet the challenge. Fannie Mae sought to reap the rewards and protect itself from the downside of the investments through a feat of financial engineering it called its “Risk Transformation Facility,” which was meant to transfer the riskiest elements to other investors.

    “We engaged in the subprime market, for the first time closing deals to guarantee and securitize subprime loans, with help from the new facility that allows us to sell off the riskiest layers,” Mudd wrote. By October, the company had signed $3 billion of such deals.

    Although the deals discussed in Mudd’s memos were small in relation to the overall scale of Fannie Mae’s business, they reflected the company’s appetite for subprime and Alt-A mortgages. The company had a long and deep involvement in this market through a different form of investment.

    Instead of buying the loans and securitizing them itself, Fannie Mae had invested in securities packaged by others from pools of these loans. Going back at least as far as 2002, Fannie Mae had taken on tens of billions of dollars of such securities, according to regulatory data.

    Fannie Mae’s investment in Alt-A and subprime securities issued by others would later prove costly. But in Mudd’s January 2007 report, as he reviewed the company’s business, they didn’t even draw a mention.

    A month later, Fannie Mae management outlined a plan to acquire $11 billion more in “subprime/non-prime mortgages” in 2007 and expressed confidence in its ability to handle the risk.

    The company had “approached its expansion of this business cognizant of the relatively weak credit performance of recent subprime originations, which were affected by issues relating to underwriting quality, home price de-appreciation . . . and risk layering,” one February 2007 document said, referring to loans with multiple risky characteristics. “However, management expects improvement in the quality and credit performance of subprime mortgages originated this year.”

    Emerging Crisis

    By March 2007, when Mudd sent the board an update, major subprime lenders were failing, delinquency rates were climbing, and the emerging crisis was impossible to ignore.

    The subprime sector “is in partial meltdown,” Mudd wrote. He reported to directors that Fannie Mae’s investment in subprime mortgage assets totaled about $55 billion.

    Mudd told the board that Fannie Mae had run its subprime portfolio through a stress test to determine the losses in a hypothetical scenario that involved a two-percentage-pointrise in interest rates and two years of 5 percent declines in home prices. The resulting prediction: “zero credit losses net of earnings.”

    Mudd remained so sanguine about Fannie Mae’s outlook that he asked the board to consider giving up its special status as a government-sponsored enterprise — an advantage that helped the company borrow money at low rates by leading investors to believe the government stood behind its obligations.

    Since then, the government’s more explicit support has provided a crucial backstop for the struggling company.

    As it turned out, Fannie Mae did not buy as many subprime loans as it intended in 2007 because few of them met its criteria and the market worsened, Lund said. The subprime loans the company did buy in 2006 and 2007 performed as expected, Faith said, declining to say whether they had produced profits or losses.

    But the continuing purchases of securities backed by loosely underwritten loans have been a source of trouble.

    Though the deterioration in home prices has not been as extreme as the hypothetical “stress test” scenario Mudd cited in his memo last year, Fannie Mae has incurred losses of $3.4 billion on securities backed by subprime and Alt-A loans since the beginning of 2007, the company reported last week. Alt-A loans accounted for almost half of the red ink the company attributed to foreclosures and other bad loans during the quarter ended June 30.

    Faith declined to discuss the stress test.

    At the end of June, Fannie Mae owned or guaranteed $388.3 billion of Alt-A and subprime mortgage investments. In comparison, it said its capital — the financial cushion that enables it to absorb losses — totaled $47 billion, which exceeded the government’s minimum requirement by $9.4 billion.

    In his statement to The Post, Mudd said Fannie Mae’s Alt-A investments have been hurt “by the most severe decline in home prices since the Great Depression.” Making matters worse, the investments are concentrated in states “where home prices have fallen further and faster than in the rest of the nation,” he said.

    This month, Fannie Mae said it would stop taking on new Alt-A loans by the end of this year

  46. Michael says:

    Are you claiming Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed haven’t been feeding hate and fear?

    Yes, I am. They’ve fed a lot of things, but not hate and fear. If you have examples to the contrary, you can prove me wrong.

  47. Wayne says:

    Give me a example of McCain or Bush statement that have feed hate and fear and give you one similar from Obama, Reid or Pelosi.
    Here is a couple of hateful links. One from a Obama ad and another is a story on Pelosi.

    http://polijamblog.polijam.com/?p=1800

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/05/21/MNG5F6PP2A1.DTL&type=printable

  48. Bithead says:

    Oh, good. I thought you might be afraid he’d try and explode a suitcase bomb or something. ‘Cause, really Bit, you kind a sound like that type of guy a lot of the time.

    Socialism is by far more destructive.
    And anyway, just because he’d not pull the pin himself does not exonerate him from being an enabler. Unwittingly other otherwise, I think this is the most serious issue with the man.

    I just want to know how Bithead managed to find his way off the couch and to a McCain rally.

    Now why would I do that? You apparently under-estimate the degree of my support that is behind McCain. Reagan was the most recent person whose rally I actually attended… several times…. standing at one point, in late October rain for over three hours, just to hear him speak.

    You see, I only attend politicl rallies when I actually get excited about someone’s candidacy. McCain is merely the lesser of two evils.

    Interestingly, perhaps what drove me to that level of excitement with the degree to which Jimmy Carter enabled those working against us.

  49. Bithead says:

    Yes, I am

    Ya know, you worry me at times.

  50. Bithead says:

    Correction:

    You apparently under-estimate the degree of my support

    should read

    You apparently OVER-estimate the degree of my support

    Sorry about that.

  51. delosgatos says:

    Here is a couple of hateful links.

    You’re equating criticizing a politician’s policies, or calling a politician dishonest, with implying someone is a terrorist sympathizer?

  52. Michael says:

    What has McCain said that is all that different from what Obama has said?

    Saying he’s an associate to terrorists, saying he’s endangering the lives of our troops, saying that he will intentionally cause America a military defeat, each of them is telling people that Barack Obama is an existential threat to their lives and property.

  53. Michael says:

    Here is a couple of hateful links.

    I can’t watch the video at work, so I’ll just comment on the second link.

    Pelosi said President Bush was incompetent.

    Trent Lott said Pelosi was putting American lives in danger.

    Now neither of them were hate inducing, but you tell me which of the two was fearmongering. I don’t know about you, but I don’t see anybody thinking “Oh my God he’s incompetent, I have to kill him”.

    I’ll try and get to the video later.

  54. Steve Plunk says:

    Good golly it’s funny how Republican criticism of the Democratic nominee is judged as hateful, dangerous speech while Democratic criticism of Republicans is benign political discourse. Nobody wants any violence but it speaks volumes the Democrats are accusing the Republicans of likely violence when one of the central figures in this discussion, Bill Ayers, actually committed acts of violence and regrets not doing more.

    Now let’s throw in some personal attacks against the conservative posters (a common occurrence here), some misdirection of the conversation, and maybe a few straw men and you have the typical devolution of debate by the left. Is it because they are confident in their ideology? Are they comfortable with the facts? Do they have faith in the solutions proposed? I wonder if they really do given the way they argue their point. It shows weakness.

    Let’s remember which side started the preemptive accusations and which side is merely defending itself. Hell, there may be some idiot out there who does something violent but why on earth must the left act like it has already happened? Outrage for something that hasn’t occurred? Retribution for something one fears might happen?

    To be honest that sort of thing is something to be expected out of children, not adults who should know better. But if that’s all you got it’s all you got.

  55. Michael says:

    Ya know, you worry me at times.

    Yes, I know.

  56. Michael says:

    Good golly it’s funny how Republican criticism of the Democratic nominee is judged as hateful, dangerous speech while Democratic criticism of Republicans is benign political discourse.

    Um, Steve, “criticism” isn’t the word I would use when they’re calling him a terrorist and a traitor.

  57. Michael says:

    Just to underscore the point, “kill him” is not criticism.

  58. Michael says:

    Hell, there may be some idiot out there who does something violent but why on earth must the left act like it has already happened?

    It isn’t just the left.

  59. Chris says:

    David Elliot:

    Thanks for the good WP article. But the problem a lot of us have with conservatives is that what comes out of their mouths is often fantasy. This is the case with your argument that “government promotion of ‘affordable housing’ corrupted the rest of the market as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

    You write “That Freddie and Fannie are not 100% of the problems is moot.” In fact, it’s exactly the issue.

    We must ask: How much did these defaulting poor people, to whom the government encouraged lending, drive down the whole mortgage market? Well, the article says 60% of the company’s losses had to do with defaulting loans. But not all of those are loans to poor people who got their loans due to government pressure.

    Also, some Fannie Mae losses stemmed from mortgage-backed securities, which have nothing to do with those poor people getting loans through the company.

    So: Fannie Mae, at say 25% of the market, has 60 percent of its losses connected with risky loans, some of which were sold to poor people, not all of whom defaulted. And we’re supposed to believe that the government contribution was the driving force?

    There’s no proof of that anywhere.

    The problem is that conservatives have again chosen to spin the Wheel of Enemies when they are faced with a problem that they caused. And it’s come up “Poor People” and “Democrats” instead of “terrorists” or “Red China” or “abortionists” or “evolutionists” or whatever.

    In this case, deregulation mania allowed securities practices that are too risky, loan underwriting that was too sloppy, among other practices, and a totally familiar boom-bust cycle swept our money away.

    It ain’t the poor. It’s you.

  60. tom p says:

    Yet another threat on Obama, this time at a Senatorial debate in Georgia.

    http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/101008/ele_342247649.shtml

    Let us be clear of what this discussion started out as: Verbal threats on the life of a Presidential candidate. This is something which is against the law. As far as I have been able to ascertain, no one has made such a threat against McCain at one of Obama’s rallies, and if anyone ever did I don’t think any one has any doubt as to what Obama’s reaction would be. We can now say for certain, what McCain’s reaction is.

    I am now bowing of what has become a rather infantile argument of “He hit me back first.”

  61. G.A.Phillips says:

    Saying he’s an associate to terrorists, saying he’s endangering the lives of our troops, saying that he will intentionally cause America a military defeat, each of them is telling people that Barack Obama is an existential threat to their lives and property.

    Right,but why single out Slickwilly Jr, this is true about most liberals, especially the ones in power.

  62. Bithead says:

    So, the Bush=Hitler meme doesn’t trouble yuu? I note you’ve not mentioned it.

  63. Michael says:

    So, the Bush=Hitler meme doesn’t trouble yuu?

    Of course it bothers me, Bush is nowhere close to Hitler. I don’t like having Bush as the President, but he is our President, I said that as far back as 2000. Hitler should have been killed, but not President Bush, not even remotely.

    I note you’ve not mentioned it.

    I acknowledged that such things have been said by members of my party. I previously told you that they disgust me. Would it somehow make you feel better if I delineated all of the specific wrongs committed by Democrats?

  64. Wayne says:

    Obama did associate with terrorist Ayers. Ayers wasn’t just someone that live in Obama’s neighborhood either, he kick off Obama’s political campaign at Ayer’s house. Pointing out a candidate’s pattern of questionable long time associates is justifiable criticism. Obama has criticized very brief association of McCain’s.

    Every president and presidential candidate gets threats. Acting like Obama is the first or McCain doesn’t get threats is ridiculous.

    Michael, “you” probably don’t consider what your leaders say as hateful or being angry because you agree with them. Even Kerry had to distance himself from Pelosi’s comments and it wasn’t due to policy difference.

    “Um, Steve, “criticism” isn’t the word I would use when they’re calling him a terrorist and a traitor.”

    But I’m sure you would for the term warmonger, chicken hawks, Hitler, War criminal, “needs to be impeach”, monkey, illiterate, stupid, idiot, betrayed, unpatriotic, criminal, loser, total failure and more as just criticism. No hate or anger in them as long as they are said about a Republican.

    http://www.democrats.com/node/4486

    http://www.nmdemocrats.org/ht/display/ArticleDetails/i/771186

  65. Alexander Klingman says:

    Wayne,

    Obama did associate with terrorist Ayers. Ayers wasn’t just someone that live in Obama’s neighborhood either, he kick off Obama’s political campaign at Ayer’s house.

    Yes, he did. The same William Ayers who was named Citizen of the Year in 1997 by the city of Chicago. I say this not to defend Ayers’ actions in the 60s, which are indefensible, but rather to point out that Ayers changed and became well-integrated in the political life of Chicago. Things aren’t quite that black and white, you know? The man’s a university professor now. In a letter to the editor to the New York Times, the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the Weather Underground terrorists said that this smear makes no sense:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/10/opinion/l10ayers.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

    As the lead federal prosecutor of the Weathermen in the 1970s (I was then chief of the criminal division in the Eastern District of Michigan and took over the Weathermen prosecution in 1972), I am amazed and outraged that Senator Barack Obama is being linked to William Ayers’s terrorist activities 40 years ago when Mr. Obama was, as he has noted, just a child.

    Although I dearly wanted to obtain convictions against all the Weathermen, including Bill Ayers, I am very pleased to learn that he has become a responsible citizen.

    Because Senator Obama recently served on a board of a charitable organization with Mr. Ayers cannot possibly link the senator to acts perpetrated by Mr. Ayers so many years ago.

    So is prosecutor William C. Ibershof a “terrorist sympathizer”, too?

  66. sam says:

    Ah, Wayne, Bit, for Christ’s sake, c’mon guys–our freakin’ house is on fire! And all one guy who’s running fire chief can do is to try and slime the other guy running for fire chief. That’s how it looks. Now, how do you think that’s going down with folks in the neighborhood? From the polls, not so good. Hey, but y’all keep it up. It’s stupid politics. The more McCain does it, the more diminished he looks in the current shitstorm. He might as well walk around with an “Obama for President” button on.

  67. graywolf says:

    All these Obambi braindead drones on this board:
    How DARE anyone (especially that horrible Sarah Palin) criticize the second coming?

    Obama is a socialist who doesn’t particularly like this country, and his associations bespeak a real hatred of this country.
    Why would I think his supporters aren’t the same?

    you lie with dogs, you get fleas.

  68. Michael says:

    Obama did associate with terrorist Ayers.

    No he didn’t, he associated with educator and community activist Ayers. Unless I am quite mistaken, Ayers was not involved in any terrorist activities during the time Obama was working with him.

    Michael, “you” probably don’t consider what your leaders say as hateful or being angry because you agree with them.

    You misunderstand me, Wayne. I don’t care if McCain hates or fear Obama, I care that McCain is trying to make other people hate and fear Obama. That is something I have not seen anybody else, Democrat or Republican, doing.

    But I’m sure you would for the term warmonger, chicken hawks, Hitler, War criminal, “needs to be impeach”, monkey, illiterate, stupid, idiot, betrayed, unpatriotic, criminal, loser, total failure and more as just criticism. No hate or anger in them as long as they are said about a Republican.

    Why do you and Bithead keep assuming these things about me? I don’t like President Bush, but nothing he has done makes me hate or fear him. As I’ve already said, he’s a far cry from Hitler.

  69. anjin-san says:

    It looks like McCain is trying to dial things down a bit. Better late than never. Perhaps the fact that prominent Republicans and conservatives are publicly distancing themselves from him shook him up.

    As for the “Dems do the same” line of crap, let me make something clear. Everyone here knows how I feel about Bush. But he was elected. The constitution says that he serves until the next guy takes the oath of office. Anyone who makes threats against his person, or incites them, belongs in jail.

    I think he is a moron, but he is also Mr. President, and if I ever meet him you better believe that is how I will refer to him. If I am ever at an event where he is speaking, I will either listen respectfully, or quietly leave because I do not dig what he is saying. If another member of the audience yelled something like “terrorist” they would have a problem with me.

    Shame on McCain for letting things get this far. Not only is it bad for the country, but it is stupid politics, like almost everything he has done since securing the nomination. Does anyone think this guy has the skills to lead us through troubled times?

  70. tom p says:

    ok I lied… i still check in from time to time….

    Michael, you see what the right has become? even as you agree with them, you don’t agree with them enuf.

    This is ludicrous. No wonder James has not replied even once. I am going to take his lead for real this time… bye.

  71. anjin-san says:

    Let me add that Sen. McCain, should he be elected or not, would enjoy the same level of respect from me, and I have come to dislike him almost as much as I do Pres. Bush.

  72. Bithead says:

    Ah, Wayne, Bit, for Christ’s sake, c’mon guys–our freakin’ house is on fire!

    Yep.

    And you’re asking us to put the guys who set te fire, in charge of putting it out.

    No.

  73. anjin-san says:

    And you’re asking us to put the guys who set te fire, in charge of putting it out.

    Look bit, the gang at Red State has told you what you think, and we are happy that you have some ideas to rattle around in your head. But there is no need to share with the class in this case, we are kinda into the “think for yourself” thing.

  74. Michael says:

    Michael, you see what the right has become? even as you agree with them, you don’t agree with them enuf.

    That’s nothing new, and I get the same reaction from parts of the left too.

  75. tom p says:

    That’s nothing new, and I get the same reaction from parts of the left too

    Truer words have never been spoken. Me too.

    tom

  76. Bithead says:

    Look bit, the gang at Red State has told you what you think,

    Rather the reverse, actually.

  77. anjin-san says:

    Rather the reverse, actually.

    Sure bit sure. Enjoyed your comment yesterday about how Begin bombing the King David Hotel was an action he took as Prime Minister. Text us when you return to the solar system…

  78. Michael says:

    And now McCain learns what should have been obvious to anyone: When you lead by hate, people follow the hate, not you.

  79. rjjrdq says:

    Tancredo’s out of the race? Damn. Let’s see, 50% of Democrats wanted Hillary, and no Republicans wanted Obama-that puts him at about 25% or so? Nobody wanted McCain. How did he get the nomination? Fric and Frac…

  80. just me says:

    Yes, he did. The same William Ayers who was named Citizen of the Year in 1997 by the city of Chicago. I say this not to defend Ayers’ actions in the 60s, which are indefensible, but rather to point out that Ayers changed and became well-integrated in the political life of Chicago.

    Except that he says he regrets not being more successful as a terrorist. Hardly unrepentant.

    Although, I am not convinced attacking the Ayers relationship is a good campaign strategy, but I think it is ridiculous to pretend like Ayers is somehow a fully changed, totally repentant man. And given the slime that is Chicago politics, I am not sure being named Citizen of the year by them means a lot.

    As for threats-

    Palin had her email account hacked (keeping in mind that people were calling her daughter’s cell phone number and harrassing her after emails were posted).
    Palin also had a celebrity wish a gang rape on her.

    Those are two off the top of my head with regard to Palin.

    Here is a link where Obama supporter and Code Pink member is stopped from rushing the stage at Palin’s convention speach http://voices.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/09/03/inside_the_convention_hall.html

    I did a quick search for McCain and found this link with several internal links-I didn’t read the blog comments, just looked at the links so I am not endorsing any of the bloggers comments: http://brianakira.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/msm-covers-up-muslim-death-threats-against-mccain/

    The reality is that there are crazy people on both sides politically, and they do and say stupid and sometimes very scary things.

    McCain and Palin can and should respond threats made at rallies they hear and can respond to, but I don’t think the politicians themselves should be personally responsible for the dumb things their supporters may do either.

  81. Bithead says:

    Sure bit sure. bombing the King David Hotel was an action he took as Prime Minister.

    Enjoyed your comment yesterday about how Begin shouldn’t have been defending his country.

    Why? Because he was jewish?

  82. anjin-san says:

    Why? Because he was jewish?

    Bit, you attempt to paint me as an anti-Semite is pathetic, but predictable. I very much doubt that you would say that to my face.

    This has nothing to do with religion. That Begin group blew up the King David Hotel is a historical fact, as it the price that British intelligence had a price on his head as a terrorist. As is the fact that he later became a highly respected world leader.

    The point is a one-time terrorist rehabilitated himself and no less than Ronald Reagan associated with him. The discussion has nothing to do with anyone’s religion.

    You ignorance about the events in question is hardly a surprise. As for your repeated attempts to characterize me as an anti-Semite (made from behind the safety of your computer), they show you to be what you are, a gutless punk.

    Bit why don’t you tell us how the Irgun hanging two British sergeants was an action taken in defense of his country? We are discussing politics and history. Perhaps you could show some respect for the Jewish faith by not making baseless charges of antisemitism to score cheap political points. Also please note that the “j” in “Jewish” should be capitalized.

  83. Facts, not namecalling says:

    The idea that Obama is a “socialist” is rediculous given that most of his economic philosophy comes from the market-dominated U. of Chicago school of thought. Yes, he supports real health care reform, but so do my Republican friends who own small businesses and have children. Yes, he’d repeal the Bush tax cuts and start to balance the budget, but that would still leave the top tax bracket no more than what it was under Clinton and similar to Bush and Reagan levels of taxation. That is not socialism. Socialism is the government control of business and the economy … hmm, who seems to be pushing that now? Mr. Bush?

    What is meant by the cry, “Socialism”? Someone once told me Kerry was a “communist” b/c Kerry didn’t support the Vietnam war. Yet Kerry also supports a market economy, therefore cannot be a communist. So this is simple-minded name calling by ignorant people.

    Looking at the crowd, one can imagine there are other names they’d like to call, but are afraid to on TV …

  84. anjin-san says:

    The CEO of the company I work for, a self-made multi millionaire who has created jobs for hundreds of people, told me the other day that he thinks that, in a country as wealthy as ours, health care is a right.

    He also said it makes good business sense and getting everyone in the system and front-loading treatment instead of waiting till people are seriously ill and having kids in ERs when they have a cold will be cost-effective in the long run.

    Is he a socialist? This is a guy who contributes more to the economy in a week then “conservative” ranters in here do in ten years.

  85. ben says:

    james, you disgust me.

    mccain and palin know exactly who they’re talking to and exactly waht they’re trying to incite: fear, hatred, divisiveness, racism. R-A-C-I-S-M.

    it exists and it is beyond appalling that mccain palin are using this out of despe
    ration.

    we all deserve so much better.

  86. Asher says:

    “Yes, he did. The same William Ayers who was named Citizen of the Year in 1997 by the city of Chicago. I say this not to defend Ayers’ actions in the 60s, which are indefensible, but rather to point out that Ayers changed and became well-integrated in the political life of Chicago.”

    This says little for Ayers and much for the general philosophical milieu of Chicago. In a nutshell, all you’re admitting is that large swaths of politically active urban dwellers are utopian fanatics. Have you read Ayers views on education? Are you aware that, at least until very recently, Ayers called himself a communist and openly calls for the overthrow of some fantastical, unitary worldwide “system”.

    My guess is that Obama’s will end up being a moderately inept presidency but with no lasting impact directly caused by any of his policies. He probably used Ayers and then cast him aside, but that remains to be seen and I could be wrong.

    Ayers is no better than someone with a lifetime of involvement in the KKK. He’s the leftist version of David Duke. The difference is that the Right universally shuns David Duke.

  87. MariaAnn says:

    Hey – I was at the rally and James T. Harris was awesome. It is the media that are angry and scared that the people are speaking up – against the media for not getting the facts out to the public about Obama! Once again, the media is twisting the story for their candidate, Obama. Can’t you see the pattern of the left in their reporting of recent McCain rallies?

  88. Charles says:

    Look, republican emotion isn’t being whipped up by the candidates. The media has been deliberately stoking this boiler for a long, long time by daily misrepresenting and silencing republicans while shamelessly promoting Barak Obama and other radical liberals. These rallies are nothing more than a steam whistle. We’ve already seen what liberals do when they don’t have a voice – we get the “Fairness Doctrine,” “Hate Speech” laws, and let’s not forget – Bill Ayers.

  89. Bithead says:

    Is he a socialist?

    Yes.

    Unless by chance, he’s paying for his employee’s healthcare out of his pocket.

    If he is not, and if he thinks healthcare is a right, why would he not be contrubiting to the spread of that right by means of his own money? Is it a right only when Other people’s money is involved?

    Spare me.

  90. Thinnking Mamma says:

    I think shouts of Nomama or even worse pales in comparison to the vile tshirts about Palin.
    Or how about this one:
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_594853.html

    I think all violence needs to be STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. We need to be a class act. However, if you are McCain supporter, don’t go out alone.
    I think it is ashame that this has gotten so weird and ugly. It is ironic that Michelle Obama said what she said about being proud of America for the first time. What in the world is she talking about. I guess it is a travesty that she and her husband got to go to Ivey League schools?
    What is really a travesty is that there is no longer a free press. That bias is not discouraged in our country, but ENCOURAGED. And that people are AFRAID TO VOTE and have to fear for their lives in TODAY’S WORLD. Think about THIS MICHELLE O.
    No BO for me…