Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pittsburgh and the President

Hail Super Steelers!!

The Pittsburgh Steelers won Sunday’s Super Bowl and prevailed in an exciting—maybe the most exciting game—in SB history. Pittsburgh won its sixth Super Bowl championship, a feat matched by no other professional football team.

The football Gods almost played a cruel trick on new Steelers’ fan, President Barack Obama. They almost let an upstart and very courageous Arizona Cardinals team win that dramatic contest, but the Steelers roared back in the last two minutes to set the world correctly on its axis and prevail, 27-23.

The relationship between President Obama and Dan Rooney, current owner of the Steelers--a franchise which has been in his family’s hands since his father, the late Art Rooney Sr., founded the team in 1933--began when Dan Rooney, lifelong Republican, announced his support for the candidate Barack Obama in 2008 and campaigned heavily for him in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, two key states in the Obama presidential victory.

So, when earlier last week, Obama--a lifelong Chicago sports fan--announced that he was backing the Steelers in the Super Bowl, I am sure that he was giving back to Mr., Rooney some of the support that Rooney showed Obama before last year’s election.

However, if you believe in sports superstitions—and who among us doesn’t—Washington Redskins lore has it that when the Redskins are defeated in their game just before the quadrennial elections, a Democrat will win the White House.

Not only did the Skins get skunked 23-6 last Nov. 3--generating headlines about what it meant for candidate Obama’s chances--but the team delivering the beating was the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There have been some reports suggesting Mr. Rooney might be the President’s Ambassador. While, it is possible, Rooney likes to keep “hands on” his Steelers, which won’t be easy from Dublin.

Wrong Headed GOP Stimulus Grief

I think the House GOP is making a huge political mistake by denying President GOP votes for his stimulus package.

Something needs to be done and soon to jumpstart the economy (Psst. Someone should say something to all of those commercial banks!) and--by squeezing their lips and withholding their support for the President--it won't be faces of the House Republicans that will turn blue, it will be many of their congressional districts.

By any measure President Obama is a popular guy, right now, and House Minority Leader John Boehner is wishing and hoping that the President’s efforts fail, so the Republicans can say, "See, we told you so."

But chances are that some/much/all of the stimulus will produce results and then those R’s will wail something else about, "Big government. We didn’t mean that all of it was bad, just parts of it, blah, blah, blah."

We just had eight years of GOP big government spending and control, which most of those Hill Republicans suckled and cuddled. They were in charge for six of Bush's eight years of power and supped like pigs at a trough, when all but the wealthy seemed to do poorly. The public’s 2008 votes showed that.

Hypocrisy is easy to find among politicians, but it's massively present in the House GOP camp these days.

Tom Daschle

One of the best guys in either party called his HHS nomination quits and did the smart thing for himself and for President Obama.

Having made some type of mistake on his taxes, Daschle, who numbers D’s and R’s alike among his many admirers, realized that he would be a distraction to the President’s agenda and grist for Obama’s political enemies, so he pulled the plug on his appointment.

The President was fortunate that Tom Daschle “got it.” Tim Geitner didn’t and despite his approval, because of his own tax matters, Geitner should have stepped aside and made room for another, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker, or whomever else President Obama has in his economic corner.

Obama has set a high standard for those who will work in his Administration and, more importantly, he campaigned on it and people expect him to follow through on those campaign promises.

He acknowledged an error with the Daschle nomination and life will go on.

Post Front Page News??

The Washington Post just trumpeted on Page 1 that many banks, which have been receiving Treasury funds, have not been making loans with that money. Hello, is anyone home on 15th Street??

Your op-ed pages have been filled with this fact, where have the news pages been?

Good for the GOP!

Michael Steele was an obvious choice to lead the Grand Old Party’s National Committee.

I hope the RNC just isn’t dressing windows in electing a black man to its top job.

Some people claimed that was the situation three years ago, when the Pittsburgh Steelers named Mike Tomlin their head coach. I’ve just written about that history. And, some people claimed that was the situation when the Democrats picked Barack Obama to lead their party and I’ve written about that.

So, maybe the Republicans are getting the message. It’s about time. The sooner they join the 20th century (my GOP expectations of progress are low!!), the better off the nation will be. The GOP still is a party of the south and of blue haired old men and ladies. The next major Republican event that truly is racially diverse will be their first.

Go ahead Mr. Steele create your art, you have plenty of canvas on which to work.

Many Thanks to Former Colleagues

Former Fannie colleague Gwenn Hibbs, called my attention to an article written by Susan Woodward and Robert Hall, in the current RGE Monitor, which makes the case far better than I why the federal government should maintain Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their secondarymarket investor role. The link is below.

Of course, if the federal government is going to become the new mortgage market investor, you won’t need any private investors and only those primary marker originators necessary to write the new government loans.

But, if we ever hope to have a vibrant “conventional mortgage market,” again, with private investors and long term fixed rate financing, the Obama Administration and the Congress might want to carefully read Ms. Woodward and Mr. Hall’s arguments.

Serious mortgage market observers understand why long term fixed rate financing sits in the balance. And, it doesn’t hurt to remind policy makers and those who watch policy being made that most of the world’s industrialized nations do not have long term fixed mortgage financing in their mortgage markets.

The American public prefers 15, 30, and even 40 year financing and those folks also vote.


Maloni 2-3-2009

No comments: