Archive

  • Mortgage Rates Will Stay Low, Why?

    With the housing market clearly in a slump, the New York Times had a piece this morning asking how fast the housing market is heading down. In presenting the case for a gradual and limited decline the article asserts that �mortgage rates are still relatively low and look to stay well below rates common in the past.� Mortgage rates certainly are still relatively low, but the question is why we would expect that they would stay low? Do the projections for large budget deficits convince us that interest rates will stay low? Maybe the fact that inflation is at its highest level since 1990 makes people believe that mortgage rates will stay low. Perhaps the record U.S. trade deficit, which will push the dollar down in the years ahead, is the reason that we expect low interest rates. After all, investors are always willing to sacrifice returns if they get to hold a currency that is falling in value. In short, all the factors that economists ordinarily believe affect interest rates point to...
  • The Joe Lieberman Nobody Knows

    Obviously Joe Lieberman was defeated because of the war. Three term incumbents don�t lose primaries because of their personal peccadilloes. But there is a side to Joe Lieberman that very few people are familiar with. Joe Lieberman played an important role in laying the basis for the accounting scandals of the stock bubble era.
  • JACKSON, LAMONT, NEW POLITICS.

    JACKSON, LAMONT, NEW POLITICS. Mike has a point about the implications of having Al Sharpton on stage with Lamont , and in particular directly behind his shoulder, which will be the visual. Someone up there needed to say, "OK, everyone who's not from Connecticut, to the edges, right now, and yes, that means you too, Reverend!" (The person who does that is called "the body guy," and it's a special skill.) I don't agree about Jesse Jackson , however, and not just because he's "past his prime." Jackson's mistakes were never comparable to Sharpton's, and never destructive. And in retrospect, Jackson's campaigns in 1984 and 1988 look exactly like the progenitors of what successful progressive campaigns like Wellstone 's or Lamont's should be -- politically savvy, multi-racial coalitions around core economic and direction-of-the-country issues. It's no accident that some of the most talented organizers in politics came out of those campaigns. The disappointing thing about having Sharpton...
  • JOBS FOR JOE.

    JOBS FOR JOE. Mark Schmitt �s right-on observation that the Democrats need to find some graceful way to ease Joe Lieberman out of the race should get us all thinking about some suitable, dignified alternative careers for Connecticut�s junior senator. Herewith, some modest proposals: A Lieberman-McKinney Vaudeville Act. Yesterday�s losers make omelets of their broken careers by devising a sketch that can be performed in almost any venue with a minimum of costly scenery. It would go something as follows: Lieberman starts, lecturing the audience with a moral homily. Then McKinney pops him one. Curtain. After Larry Summers. Robert Rubin rigs it so that Joe can become the next president of Harvard. Lieberman proves expert at schmoozing donors, but causes controversy when he calls Cornel West to berate him for giving A�s to too many of his pupils, and West responds by telling Lieberman that he teaches at Princeton. Publisher of The New Republic . Lieberman takes the helm at the venerable...
  • TO RHODE ISLAND!

    TO RHODE ISLAND! Well, there's no question where the leg-eating blogociraptors should go next. To the Kosmobile, folks, and move yourselves just a few degrees east into Rhode Island . Time to go to work for Steve Laffey , the Club For Growth candidate currently making Lincoln Chaffee 's life even more miserable than it must be for a man who's a dead ringer for one of the crazy aunts in Arsenic And Old Lace . I mean, if Karl Rove and the gang at NRO is going to leap into the fray on the side of Weepin' Joe Lieberman (I-Green Room), why shouldn't you throw your self behind the candidate who's taking big old chunks out of a guy mired, alas, in that wing of the GOP marked Not Insane? Of course, Cokie and The Dean and all the rest of them who have had the vapors for a month over the activities of the Weather Underground in and around Hartford have somehow missed this story. Pity. Should Chaffee go down, we probably can expect at least two weeks of chin-stroking about Republicans eating...
  • LOSING THE LOWER...

    LOSING THE LOWER NAUGATUCK VALLEY Looking at the town-by-town returns, it seems that Lieberman took the lower Naugatuck river valley quite handily. And to the extent that Democrats were drawn to Lamont primarily for his anti-war views, we anti-Iraq war liberals should be concerned by this. Connecticut has a reputation for being the land of Wall Street executives, hip-hop moguls, retired tennis stars, and Vince McMahon . But just to the northeast of the ridiculously wealthy towns populated by those types sits the predominately white working class lower Naugatuck valley. This includes the towns of Ansonia, Derby, Shelton, Beacon Falls, Oxford and Naugatuck. Lieberman won each of these towns (except Oxford) by a very solid margin. Of course, some of this can be explained by Lieberman�s long history of steering contracts for the Sikorsky plant in Stratford, which is nearby. Still, the lack of support for an anti-Iraq War message in white working class areas leads me to believe that this...
  • JOE BEING JOE.

    JOE BEING JOE. To add to Mike �s list of reasons why Lieberman won�t drop his independent bid, I would include the candidate�s personality. The man loves playing the martyr, taking the role of the besieged man of �principle.� Just as he loves criticizing fellow Democrats about their positions on the war, he�ll take pleasure in attacking Lamont and his backers in the general election. And though I�m sure he would rather have had things turn out differently yesterday, he�ll soon discover that this new role he�s created for himself suits his personality just fine. It�s a messy situation now, with Democrats being forced to choose sides , and the blame for this post-primary state of affairs rests squarely on Lieberman�s shoulders. --Alec Oveis
  • RANDOM NUTMEG NOTES....

    RANDOM NUTMEG NOTES. First of all, my guess (it�s only a guess) is that Lieberman will drop out. I said why in the last paragraph of this Web piece last week, but it bears repeating. Establishment Democrats want to take back the Senate. Period. They don�t want any distractions. From the day he announced until yesterday, Lamont was the distraction. But starting today, Lieberman is -- he, not Lamont, now sucks oxygen out of Democratic efforts to win Senate races. I get a lot of things wrong in life, but I think I can say with confidence that in situations like this, this is how politicians think. Electoral life is replete with obstacles, and the first thing pols want to do is minimize obstacles. So my bet is that Schumer , Reid , et al. have been thinking about how to minimize the distraction-in-Connecticut obstacle for days now. So they�ll lean hard on Lieberman, and they�ll work to get the Clintons to do the same, and urge everyone to follow suit. If the frame is set properly and the...
  • DEATH WITH DIGNITY.

    DEATH WITH DIGNITY. I've been arguing for a long time that the Lieberman independent bid would fizzle, that Lieberman stood a much better chance of winning the primary than the general, and I still believe that. If I'm wrong about that, then my comment below is inoperative. But if I'm right, the question is not whether the Connecticut for Lieberman Party ends, but how. The next few weeks are going to be one of those desperate last chapters in a political career, the kind of thing that Lieberman's biographer will label "epilogue." Political careers never end gracefully, never, and if a politician sees a chance, however slim, he will take it. And they always end with the desperate pol claiming that he is trying to practice "a different kind of politics." (The kind in which winning and losing elections doesn't matter.) The next two, three or at most four weeks of Lieberman's life will be sad and painful to watch. He'll find every potential supporter saying, "Sorry, Joe, I'd love to help...
  • MORE KISSES TO COME.

    MORE KISSES TO COME. This seems almost too perfect to believe: According to a close Lieberman adviser, the President's political guru, Karl Rove, has reached out to the Lieberman camp with a message straight from the Oval Office: "The boss wants to help. Whatever we can do, we will do." At any rate, it's a bit hard to figure what the prez can do to help any endangered candidate this year, let alone Joe. UPDATE: Joe Conason writes in to remind me of the Lieberman campaign's accusations of "Rovian tactics" regarding the alleged hacking of their website yesterday. Karl doesn't take it personally. --Sam Rosenfeld

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