18sep08 Media and US elections analysis

By Daniel Politi, Slate Magazine

All of the quick decisions that the Fed and Treasury Department have had to make this week mean that lawmakers have been relegated to the spectator seats, a development that they’re not happy about, reports the Post. There was lots of grumbling on Capitol Hill yesterday along with vows to hold hearings. In the meantime, the idea to create a new federal entity that would buy mortgages and debt that no one wants is gaining ground, even if nobody expects quick action on the matter. One thing that has come quickly is finger-pointing, notes the NYT. This blame game is also playing out on the campaign trail, where Barack Obama has been quick to link the current problems with the Republican administration.

In another look at the quick-changing John McCain, the LAT fronts a look at how the Republican nominee is having a hard time figuring out how to respond to the financial crisis. There’s probably no better example than what happened yesterday. On Tuesday, McCain was adamant that “we cannot have the taxpayers bail out AIG or anybody else,” a view he had apparently forgotten about by Wednesday when he issued a statement supporting the decision. This is only one stark example of how McCain has been trying to find a balance between talking about the need for small government while also pledging “stringent oversight” of Wall Street.

Although it’s probably too soon to tell, all this talk about McCain’s inconsistencies may be hurting his image with voters. The NYT fronts a new poll that seems to suggest the surge of support McCain got after the convention—particularly among white women—may have been nothing more than a temporary blip in the radar. The latest poll has Obama ahead among registered voters, though still within the margin of error. Horse-race numbers aside, voters also see Obama as more likely to change Washington and view McCain as a “typical Republican.” In addition, voters continue to say the economy is their top concern and affirm that they trust Obama more than McCain on the issue. But it’s not all bad news for McCain, whose selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate has clearly energized the conservative base.





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