A basic misconception

Biden and the Democrats are operating on a fundamentally false principle:

The Republican party and some of the blogs and others on the far right, are trying very hard to paint a picture of this man, they’re trying the best as they can to mischaracterize who he is and what he stands for. All this stuff about how different Barack Obama is, they’re not just used to somebody really smart. They’re just not used to somebody who’s really well educated. They just don’t know quite how to handle it. Cause if he’s as smart as Barack is he must not be from my neighborhood.

And they wonder why they’re losing. As I noted yesterday, the entire Democratic Party’s campaign is foundering in part because they don’t understand a basic fact. Barack Obama simply is not very smart. He’s an affirmative action candidate, he can’t speak off the cuff, and if his test scores are ever released, it will almost surely be shown that he’s not only less intelligent than Bill Clinton and Al Gore, he’s less intelligent than John McCain, John Kerry, and George Bush. Quite possibly Sarah Palin too.

Obama doesn’t turn average Americans off because he’s black or because he’s too smart. He turns them off because he’s a fraud. Obama’s aloofness, which is easily mistaken for snobbishness, quite likely stems from a basic fear of being exposed for being far less than he pretends to be. I mean, how many spectacularly dumb moves does the guy have to make, how many incredibly stupid things does he have to say, before people begin to realize that he isn’t even as smart as the average politician?

Someone who is truly intelligent doesn’t duck debates or townhall face-offs with an old man like McCain. If Obama was anywhere nearly as bright as he pretends, he’d eagerly embrace the chance to make McCain look half-senile in front of a national audience. His fear of his mask being removed could be hidden when he had a big lead and a tactical defense for not debating, but now that he’s trailing a bit, his unwillingness tends to strongly support the suspicions that have been aroused by his attempt to conceal his intellectual history.

Journalists: even dumber than you’d thought

Marty Peretz of the New Republic actually thinks that it’s deregulation that caused the current financial crisis, rather than the Federal Reserve suppressing interest rates and the obvious moral hazard of the Fannie/Freddie structure. But then, he also thinks Ronald Reagan deregulated the airlines:

[T]he fault goes back to Bill Clinton who took up the call of deregulation and ran with it. Like with everything he did he did not look back. No, that’s a bit unfair. It goes back to Ronald Reagan who (not single-handedly but with the boy geniuses at his side) destroyed the airline industry in America.

If you happened to read my column last week, then you would know that it was President Carter who signed the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. But, you know, it’s so easy to mistake the executive act of firing air traffic controllers with a legislative act passed by the House and Senate… if you’re a journalist.

Mailvox: the long run arrives

AL wants to know if the current economic crisis was engineered:

I’m not normally one for conspiracy theories, but expansion of a socialist government usually involves nationalizing major industries, right? But it wouldn’t fit the American model of socialism to do it by fiat. Instead, it would be done Hollywood style: Run a monetary policy that causes the industry to go off the cliff so that Super Fed can “save” it by nationalizing the biggest players.

Is this plausible, or am I going too heavy on the sauce?

No, this is merely the result of the long, ongoing shift from a free market capitalist model, in which the private owners bear the risks and rewards of business ownership to a managed market corporatist one where the elite owners and managerial reap the rewards while transferring any losses to the taxpayers. This naturally has the effect of creating a strip-mine mentality, wherein the elite must make hay while the sun is shining. As anyone versed in Keynesian economics knows very well, the model isn’t a sustainable one but it is justified by those who benefit from it because in the long run everyone is dead. Unfortunately for today’s Americans, the long run is arriving at last. As Spengler has repeatedly pointed out, this crisis no surprise and anyone who understands the demographic basis of American finance knew it would happen sooner or later. The babyboomers were always bound to break the system, that they should so richly merit the concomitant suffering from its collapse is merely the icing on the cake.

These bail-outs – and there will be more – are not intended to be long-term fixes nor is the transference of corporate ownership to the American people the long-term goal, they are instead the equivalent of propping up artificial lighting so that the hay can be harvested as long as possible. The inevitable collapse will be delayed until the harvesters can safely head for the exits. What comes next is unknown. History suggests a conventional strong-man dictatorship in one ideological form or another but it would appear that the structure of the North American Union is intended to prevent that from happening.

The reason AIG, Fannie, and Freddie were bailed-out while Lehman was not is because the Lehman failure would not end the harvesting. Merril Lynch wouldn’t have been bailed out either, even if it hadn’t been purchased for quarters on the dollar. But the three other failures might have brought about the end game due to the nature of the investments they were supporting. Don’t worry, it will happen soon enough, although not tomorrow, next month, or even next year. The market forces take time, especially when powerful organizations are desperately trying to stave them off, but they always win in the end.