Friday, October 03, 2008

Hockey Mom Kicks Old Lawyer's Butt

There are three important things learned from Governor Palin's drubbing of the guy who has sat in the Senate since he was about the same age as Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are today.

First there is the image and, let's face it, the young, vibrant and strong Governor of America's largest state won hands down over the tired, old mumbling lawyer-turned-lifelong politician.

Then there is substance and, while Biden might have fooled some with some of his longer-winded answers that sounded like knowledge, the bottomline is that he was factually wrong time and again. I can't wait for the McCain team's ad with Biden's lie about being in favor of clean coal intercut with what he actually said (and repeated for emphasis) while out on the campaign trail. Governor Palin's right, these folks DO say one thing when they're talking to one group of people and something else entirely when they're talking to another.

Finally, the big loser wasn't just "Say it ain't so" Joe, it was the leftist media who now has yet again been exposed as fools and liars. Twice the American people have met Governor Palin in big and important and revealing events (her home run convention speech and her home run debate performance) and twice via leftist media interviews. Twice she has been incredible and twice made to look like a dunce. What's the difference between these events? There was nothing the leftists could do to edit the tapes to make the great governor look bad.

Katie and Chuck -- interestingly enough, both only recently co-hosts on daytime chat shows with names like "Good Morning America" and "The Today Show" told the world that Governor Palin was stupid and inept and unqualified. When they couldn't take the tapes to the editing room the American people saw that, yet again, the leftist media had lied to them.

What this election is about is very clear, the can-do, love-America, personal responsibility first, government last beliefs of the maverick of the Senate -- a war hero with real life experience -- and the hockey mom, the Mrs. Smith goes to Washington, versus the professional lawyers-turned-lifelong politicians, people of words and anger and pettiness. The American people will now decide!

17 comments:

reality bites gop ass said...

Gee, I...uh, wouldn't have guessed what your take might be. Did you write this before the debate?

So far, EVERY poll except the Fox farce has Biden winning...often by huge margins.

Even the GOP debate panel pundits on the networks had Biden winning.

As someone said...Joe Biden was in a vice presidential debate; Palin was in a jr. high debate.

That said it all.

Soon we'll be sending her back to "up there in Alayaska."

devon said...

I thought Govenor Palin was a remarkable performance and will cement victory in nOvember.
Mr. McCain who is a vehicleof G-d to deliver Sarah will die soon after as I have allude before and is there to bring her to the Whitehouse.

It is a good thing because the End Times are coming as described by G-ds representor, Pastor Pat Robertson:

Robertson's letter, from www.patrobertson.com, is as follows:



Dear Friend,

I am writing to you with a sense of grave urgency and a special call to prayer. Here is the situation:

Russia’s vicious dismemberment of the tiny nation of Georgia is the beginning of an unfolding sequence of Russian aggression. At present, pipelines from Siberia that run through Russia supply the majority of natural gas and oil used by Western Europe and Ukraine. A pipeline from the Caspian Sea has been bringing one million barrels a day of non-Russian oil through Georgia to Turkey and the Mediterranean Sea. Russia wants to control all of those vital pipelines.

Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, is only 578 miles from Baghdad, the capital of Iraq. Russia has helped neighboring Iran build its two aggressive nuclear facilities. Georgia and Iraq are now sandwiched between the dictatorships of Russia and Iran. The Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, seems to want to dominate Caspian oil and Persian Gulf oil to add to Russia’s own enormous supplies of oil and gas. If he succeeds, Russia will gain a stronghold over the economies of most of the world and can then act to bring America to its knees.

Against that backdrop, consider what is happening in Iran. That nation is under the domination of a fanatical group of Shiite Muslim clerics. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a fervent believer in the Mahdi, a mythical messiah figure who, according to his belief, will come to make the entire world Muslim, but only after a period of worldwide chaos and destruction during which all the Jews will be killed.

Iran, despite warnings from the United Nations, is on an accelerated course to build nuclear facilities and an atomic bomb. The Iranians recently test fired an improved intermediate-range ballistic missile, the Shahab-3, that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads to hit Israel, Iraq, and most of Europe.

Ahmadinejad has repeatedly expressed a desire to use nuclear weapons to annihilate the nation of Israel. He has declared that the threat of nuclear retaliation from Israel against Iran does not concern him because tens of millions of Iranian deaths will merely hasten the coming of the Mahdi.

In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler made clear his diabolic plan. Early on, the Allied Powers, France and Great Britain could have stopped Hitler but they scoffed at his pretensions. In 1945, only after World War II and 50 million tragic deaths, did the free world recognize the cost of its indifference to the clear warnings from Hitler’s own speeches and published writings.

In 2008, the nation of Israel does not have the luxury of ignoring the ravings of a fanatic who soon will possess nuclear bombs with a will to use them. The Western powers want to talk and negotiate with Russia and Iran, but talk is futile. If Russia moves again to crush a neighbor or enter the Middle East, and if Iran develops an atomic bomb, time for talk will be over.

The Western powers have left Israel no choice but to strike Iranian nuclear facilities now. However, it seems to me, after consultation with Chris Mitchell (our CBN News Jerusalem Bureau Chief), that Israel will not want to commence actions against Iran until after the United States elections have taken place. In my opinion, Israel will be forced to make a preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear reactors by air or submarine-launched cruise missiles during the brief period between the U.S. elections and the inauguration of a new U.S. president.

But here is the downside for Israel. In Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border, the radical group known as Hezbollah has, along with Iranian help, completely rearmed and now possesses as many as 40,000 rockets targeting Israel. To the south of Israel, in Gaza, another Iranian client, Hamas, is armed to the teeth and longing for an opportunity to strike Israel. Of course, any Israeli strike against the nuclear facilities of Iran will trigger a counter blow from Iran and possibly Syria. But these are not the only dangers.

Would Russia then consider hostilities (such as I have outlined) the excuse to enter the fight on trumped-up reasons in order to further its ultimate aim of controlling Middle East oil?

As the potential conflict spreads, oil terminals would be engulfed in smoke and flames. The Strait of Hormuz would be blocked, and with it 40 percent of the world’s oil. The industries of the world would face severe energy shortages and the economies of both America and the European Union would face a devastating depression.

What if the United States decided to oppose the Russian expansion? The Russians have enough long-range nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles aimed at the United States to annihilate all of our cities. Would we be willing to play a nuclear game of “chicken” with Russia to save Israel? Probably not. Would the United States risk war with Russia over Middle East oil? Perhaps, but unlikely. If we act, it will be ugly. If we don’t act, our economy could either be crippled or faced with continually escalating exactions demanded by Russia for oil.

About 2600 years ago, God gave the Prophet Ezekiel a description of an invasion of Israel after the Jews had been regathered to the Promised Land from all over the world in the “latter days.” Ezekiel wrote of an invasion force led by Russia that would include Iran and “Cush,” which is Sudan. The other parties described by Ezekiel that constituted the invading force could include some of the Muslim nations in the former Soviet Caucasus region and possibly Turkey. According to Ezekiel 38:12, they would come seeking “plunder and loot.” What greater plunder than the oil riches of the Persian Gulf?

Will this unfold all at once? It’s difficult to say. But what is clear is this: The Israeli strike against Iran will be the trigger. From then on, dramatic events will follow in quick succession. It all will conclude when God has rained fire on the islands of the sea and on the invading force coming against Israel.

Where will the United States be in all of this conflict? According to Ezekiel, the “young lions of Tarshish” will be questioning the Russians about their aggression – questioning, but not acting to stop it. Who are these “young lions of Tarshish?” Tarshish was the region beyond Cadiz in Spain. In antiquity, explorers from Tarshish came to Ireland, then across the ocean to North America, traveling the Mississippi River as far as the present-day site of Davenport, Iowa.

I believe the term “young lions of Tarshish” refers to England and the United States of America. According to Ezekiel, when the Middle East trouble begins, the young lions of Tarshish will warn Russia and Iran, but refuse to act. We will suffer grave economic damage, but will not engage in military action to stop the conflict. However, we may not be spared nuclear strikes against coastal cities.

In conclusion, it is my opinion that we have between 75 and 120 days before the Middle East starts spinning out of control. If there was ever a time for fervent prayer, it is now. Prayer can change the course of history! The Bible says, “Seek righteousness, seek humility. … that you may be hid in the day of the Lord’s wrath.” “… the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

The believing prayers of tens of thousands of God’s people can change the hearts of the leaders of Russia and Iran. God can cause situations to arise which will save Israel. He is Almighty. With God all things are possible!

With that in mind, I urge you to fervently seek God’s intervention in the following areas:

Pray that God’s mighty angels would surround and protect our nation in these perilous times;
Pray for unity among the body of Christ as we intercede for our nation and our world;
Pray that America’s leadership will seek godly wisdom as they face critical events in the weeks and months ahead;
Pray for the Holy Spirit to sweep across the globe, preparing hearts to accept Jesus and enter God’s Kingdom before tragic events unfold;
Pray for God to change the hearts of leaders in Russia, Iran, and other nations who wish to do harm to Israel.

Hopefully, our Lord will intervene and head off the disaster that seems to be approaching. Let us pray together. With God all things are possible!
God bless you. I remain ...

signed by Pastor Pat Roberston

devon with post scripped said...

I will add that the death of Mr. McCain is not in a punishment form. Itis in an asendence form as he will be rewarded greatly in Heaven for his works on earth and bringing G-ds daughter; mrs. Palin to the helm of America at the point of the end times to guide us.

joe hill said...

Looks like these blue collar heros recognize the class warfare techniques of the Reich's agitprop arms:

WV Miners Support Obama, Spurn NRA

Fri Oct 03, 2008
When the NRA showed up at a West Virginia mine to try and talk miners into making statements that could be used against Obama, they may have thought it was an easy assignment. All they had to do was pass along some of the NRA's twisted talking points to misrepresent Obama's positions and catch some spotaneous outrage, and the mine owners were happy to let the NRA on the property so they could knock Obama. That's not how it worked out.

Coal production at a mine in Monongalia County came to a halt today when every union miner stayed home, as part of a political protest.

...

More than 440 workers who are members of the United Mine Workers of America took what's called a Memorial Day instead of going to work.

Union officials say they took the day to protest after a film crew from the National Rifle Assocation showed up at the Consol mine last week to interview union workers.

If you've been wondering where you can find people who are willing to protest as they did in the past, people willing to put their jobs on the line even in tough economic times, take a look in a union mine.

general mcclellan said...

I would NEVER take The Army of the Potomac into Afghanistan.

Farragut tells me it would take months just to get across the fucking Pacific even if we did have the ships!

berty said...

Palin was awesome! And Biden was such a pathetic phoney! He cried. Boo-hoo!

John said...

I'm just puzzled why, both in the McCain-Obama debate and last night, they were asked point-blank they're take on the Fannie Mae/Franklin Raines-caused meltdown, and they passed and pointed their fingers at Wall St.

Anonymous said...

haha...he's puzzled. Maybe she didn't want to be branded as an even more ridiculous, little bimbo by spouting even goofier idiocy...you know,like you.

karin said...

lol...maybe if he'd read some FACT BASED material for a change he'd know that Raines hasn't been at Fannie Mae for four years.

But, drowning ideologues grasp at straws...and so do really stupid ones.

k said...

general mcclellan said...
I would NEVER take The Army of the Potomac into Afghanistan.

Farragut tells me it would take months just to get across the fucking Pacific even if we did have the ships!


lol...that's hilarious, General...but do the wingbats know what you're talkng about? I think they're all too shell shocked and humiliated to show their little, rodent faces very much.

brettmcs said...

There were numerous Biden 'mistakes' (to put it charitably) during this debate, and these will find their way into McCain ads in the coming weeks. Bare-faced lies, delivered in serious Senatize can help in a traditional debate that doesn't go outside of the Town Hall. These ones are going to be a real liability to the Obama campaign.

brettmcs

John said...

"karin" loled:

"...maybe if he'd read some FACT BASED material for a change he'd know that Raines hasn't been at Fannie Mae for four years."

Right. He was there when Obama was at Acorn.

karin said...

Yeah, that Palin performance really turned it around...toward the toilet.

What's wrong with the American people, Evan, that they perversely choose the mumbling old lawyer over this wonderful woman?

karin said...

Gee, it's looking like all those debate lies were mostly coming out of Palin's mouth.

How did you guys miss all those?

Too much Limbaugh and Fox?

lol...when will you poor people learn?

They keep lying to you poor, lil
tools and you just keep lapping it up...then you get all "confused" when your "information" turns out to be like, uh...WRONG.

k said...

Oh, I guess "puzzled" was the word he used.

Confused is just your basic, background state.

i report, u cry said...

T and A hockey mom steals taxes and rips off the state..soon she may need an old lawyer's help:

Palin failed to pay taxes on her per diem payments
In an overview of Sarah Palin's tax returns for 2006 and 2007, which she has finally released, the Associated Press reports that Palin neglected to pay the taxes due on $17,000 she received in per diem payments as Governor of Alaska. A McCain campaign official claims, falsely, that Palin owed no taxes on those payments.

Sarah Palin makes $125,000 a year as Alaska governor. Plus, since she took the job in December 2006, she hasn't paid taxes on the more than $17,000 she received in controversial per diem payments for working out of the family's lakeside home in Wasilla...

Regarding the per diem dispute, [McCain-Palin spokeswoman Maria] Comella said Juneau is the governor's home base and therefore whenever she works elsewhere, she is entitled to charge the state. Comella contended the per diem payments are not taxable.

[Former IRS commissioner Sheldon] Cohen said it was fine for the state of Alaska to determine it was okay to reimburse Palin to work out of her home, but the state's decision didn't mean those benefits were not taxable by the federal government. "One has nothing to do with the other," said Cohen.

It's very clear that taxes were due on these per diems. This is tax evasion by Sarah Palin, pure and simple. It doesn't quite rise to the level of Richard Nixon's utter failure to pay any taxes for a few years while he was president. But what a standard to be flirting with.

Palin's per diems are themselves controversial. She billed the state of Alaska nearly $17,000 for 312 nights she spent at her house in Wasilla. Because the governor has a mansion in Juneau and is supposed to reside and work there (though she is in fact absent far more than she's present in the capital), she may be permitted technically under state regulations to claim a per diem for lodging while she's staying at her own home. But it looks pretty cynical to claim to be a reformer while seeking payments for living at home. That's particularly true since Palin also billed the state to fly her husband and children around the state, to the tune of more than $43,000. Once Palin brought one of her daughters with her at great expense to a Women and Leadership conference in New York City, where they stayed in an extremely luxurious hotel.

Asked Monday about the official policy on charging for children's travel expenses, [Alaska state finance director Kim] Garnero said: "We cover the expenses of anyone who's conducting state business. I can't imagine kids could be doing that."

But [Palin's spokeswoman Sharon] Leighow said many of the hundreds of invitations Palin receives include requests for her to bring her family, placing the definition of "state business" with the party extending the invitation.

The revelations about her per diems suggest that Palin plays fast and loose with rules in order to enrich herself. The same impression is given by the AP's analysis of Palin's tax returns. She and her husband have managed to take so many deductions, some seemingly dubious, that they've avoided paying taxes on much of their income.

For the 2007 tax year, Todd Palin's self-employment brought him $66,893 in gross receipts — $49,893 from fishing and $17,000 from snowmachine racing. But, the returns show, he claimed so many deductions that he reported only $15,513 net profit from the fishing operation and claimed a $9,639 loss from his racing, leaving him with an overall net income of only $5,874.

Those deductions enabled the Palins, who have four dependent children, to enjoy a 15 percent tax rate for 2007 and a rate of less than 10 percent for 2006.

This family, with assets worth between about 1 and 2 million dollars, is not struggling just to get by. Instead, it's working to figure out every angle it can exploit.

I have to say I've been awaiting the day when Palin's tax returns were released, expecting that it would turn out that she'd neglected to pay taxes on her controversial per diems. She did not fail to disappoint.

Sarah-Palin

Anonymous said...


The Fall of America, Inc.
Along with some of Wall Street's most storied firms, a certain vision of capitalism has collapsed. How we restore faith in our brand.

Francis Fukuyama

The implosion of America's most storied investment banks. The vanishing of more than a trillion dollars in stock-market wealth in a day. A $700 billion tab for U.S. taxpayers. The scale of the Wall Street crackup could scarcely be more gargantuan. Yet even as Americans ask why they're having to pay such mind-bending sums to prevent the economy from imploding, few are discussing a more intangible, yet potentially much greater cost to the United States—the damage that the financial meltdown is doing to America's "brand."

Ideas are one of our most important exports, and two fundamentally American ideas have dominated global thinking since the early 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was elected president. The first was a certain vision of capitalism—one that argued low taxes, light regulation and a pared-back government would be the engine for economic growth. Reaganism reversed a century-long trend toward ever-larger government. Deregulation became the order of the day not just in the United States but around the world.

The second big idea was America as a promoter of liberal democracy around the world, which was seen as the best path to a more prosperous and open international order. America's power and influence rested not just on our tanks and dollars, but on the fact that most people found the American form of self-government attractive and wanted to reshape their societies along the same lines—what political scientist Joseph Nye has labeled our "soft power."

It's hard to fathom just how badly these signature features of the American brand have been discredited. Between 2002 and 2007, while the world was enjoying an unprecedented period of growth, it was easy to ignore those European socialists and Latin American populists who denounced the U.S. economic model as "cowboy capitalism." But now the engine of that growth, the American economy, has gone off the rails and threatens to drag the rest of the world down with it. Worse, the culprit is the American model itself: under the mantra of less government, Washington failed to adequately regulate the financial sector and allowed it to do tremendous harm to the rest of the society.

Democracy was tarnished even earlier. Once Saddam was proved not to have WMD, the Bush administration sought to justify the Iraq War by linking it to a broader "freedom agenda"; suddenly the promotion of democracy was a chief weapon in the war against terrorism. To many people around the world, America's rhetoric about democracy sounds a lot like an excuse for furthering U.S. hegemony.

The choice we face now goes well beyond the bailout, or the presidential campaign. The American brand is being sorely tested at a time when other models—whether China's or Russia's—are looking more and more attractive. Restoring our good name and reviving the appeal of our brand is in many ways as great a challenge as stabilizing the financial sector. Barack Obama and John McCain would each bring different strengths to the task. But for either it will be an uphill, years-long struggle. And we cannot even begin until we clearly understand what went wrong—which aspects of the American model are sound, which were poorly implemented, and which need to be discarded altogether.

Many commentators have noted that the Wall Street meltdown marks the end of the Reagan era. In this they are doubtless right, even if McCain manages to get elected president in November. Big ideas are born in the context of a particular historical era. Few survive when the context changes dramatically, which is why politics tends to shift from left to right and back again in generation-long cycles.

Reaganism (or, in its British form, Thatcherism) was right for its time. Since Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s, governments all over the world had only grown bigger and bigger. By the 1970s large welfare states and economies choked by red tape were proving highly dysfunctional. Back then, telephones were expensive and hard to get, air travel was a luxury of the rich, and most people put their savings in bank accounts paying low, regulated rates of interest. Programs like Aid to Families With Dependent Children created disincentives for poor families to work and stay married, and families broke down. The Reagan-Thatcher revolution made it easier to hire and fire workers, causing a huge amount of pain as traditional industries shrank or shut down. But it also laid the groundwork for nearly three decades of growth and the emergence of new sectors like information technology and biotech.

Internationally, the Reagan revolution translated into the "Washington Consensus," under which Washington—and institutions under its influence, like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—pushed developing countries to open up their economies. While the Washington Consensus is routinely trashed by populists like Venezuela's Hugo Chávez, it successfully eased the pain of the Latin American debt crisis of the early 1980s, when hyperinflation plagued countries such as Argentina and Brazil. Similar market-friendly policies are what turned China and India into the economic powerhouses they are today.

And if anyone needed more proof, they could look at the world's most extreme examples of big government—the centrally planned economies of the former Soviet Union and other communist states. By the 1970s they were falling behind their capitalist rivals in virtually all respects. Their implosion after the fall of the Berlin Wall confirmed that such welfare states on steroids were an historical dead end.

Like all transformative movements, the Reagan revolution lost its way because for many followers it became an unimpeachable ideology, not a pragmatic response to the excesses of the welfare state. Two concepts were sacrosanct: first, that tax cuts would be self-financing, and second, that financial markets could be self-regulating.

Prior to the 1980s, conservatives were fiscally conservative— that is, they were unwilling to spend more than they took in in taxes. But Reaganomics introduced the idea that virtually any tax cut would so stimulate growth that the government would end up taking in more revenue in the end (the so-called Laffer curve). In fact, the traditional view was correct: if you cut taxes without cutting spending, you end up with a damaging deficit. Thus the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s produced a big deficit; the Clinton tax increases of the 1990s produced a surplus; and the Bush tax cuts of the early 21st century produced an even larger deficit. The fact that the American economy grew just as fast in the Clinton years as in the Reagan ones somehow didn't shake the conservative faith in tax cuts as the surefire key to growth.

More important, globalization masked the flaws in this reasoning for several decades. Foreigners seemed endlessly willing to hold American dollars, which allowed the U.S. government to run deficits while still enjoying high growth, something that no developing country could get away with. That's why Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly told President Bush early on that the lesson of the 1980s was that "deficits don't matter."

The second Reagan-era article of faith—financial deregulation—was pushed by an unholy alliance of true believers and Wall Street firms, and by the 1990s had been accepted as gospel by the Democrats as well. They argued that long-standing regulations like the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act (which split up commercial and investment banking) were stifling innovation and undermining the competitiveness of U.S. financial institutions. They were right—only, deregulation produced a flood of innovative new products like collateralized debt obligations, which are at the core of the current crisis. Some Republicans still haven't come to grips with this, as evidenced by their proposed alternative to the bailout bill, which involved yet bigger tax cuts for hedge funds.

The problem is that Wall Street is very different from, say, Silicon Valley, where a light regulatory hand is genuinely beneficial. Financial institutions are based on trust, which can only flourish if governments ensure they are transparent and constrained in the risks they can take with other people's money. The sector is also different because the collapse of a financial institution harms not just its shareholders and employees, but a host of innocent bystanders as well (what economists soberly call "negative externalities").

Signs that the Reagan revolution had drifted dangerously have been clear over the past decade. An early warning was the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Countries like Thailand and South Korea, following American advice and pressure, liberalized their capital markets in the early 1990s. A lot of hot money started flowing into their economies, creating a speculative bubble, and then rushed out again at the first sign of trouble. Sound familiar? Meanwhile, countries like China and Malaysia that didn't follow American advice and kept their financial markets closed or strictly regulated found themselves much less vulnerable.

A second warning sign lay in America's accumulating structural deficits. China and a number of other countries began buying U.S. dollars after 1997 as part of a deliberate strategy to undervalue their currencies, keep their factories humming and protect themselves from financial shocks. This suited a post-9/11 America just fine; it meant that we could cut taxes, finance a consumption binge, pay for two expensive wars and run a fiscal deficit at the same time. The staggering and mounting trade deficits this produced—$700 billion a year by 2007—were clearly unsustainable; sooner or later the foreigners would decide that America wasn't such a great place to bank their money. The falling U.S. dollar indicates that we have arrived at that point. Clearly, and contrary to Cheney, deficits do matter.

Even at home, the downside of deregulation were clear well before the Wall Street collapse. In California, electricity prices spiraled out of control in 2000-2001 as a result of deregulation in the state energy market, which unscrupulous companies like Enron gamed to their advantage. Enron itself, along with a host of other firms, collapsed in 2004 because accounting standards had not been enforced adequately. Inequality in the United States rose throughout the past decade, because the gains from economic growth went disproportionately to wealthier and better-educated Americans, while the incomes of working-class people stagnated. And finally, the bungled occupation of Iraq and the response to Hurricane Katrina exposed the top-to-bottom weakness of the public sector, a result of decades of underfunding and the low prestige accorded civil servants from the Reagan years on.

All this suggests that the Reagan era should have ended some time ago. It didn't partly because the Democratic Party failed to come up with convincing candidates and arguments, but also because of a particular aspect of America that makes our country very different from Europe. There, less-educated, working-class citizens vote reliably for socialist, communist and other left-learning parties, based on their economic interests. In the United States, they can swing either left or right. They were part of Roosevelt's grand Democratic coalition during the New Deal, a coalition that held through Lyndon Johnson's Great Society in the 1960s. But they started voting Republican during the Nixon and Reagan years, swung to Clinton in the 1990s, and returned to the Republican fold under George W. Bush. When they vote Republican, it's because cultural issues like religion, patriotism, family values and gun ownership trump economic ones.

This group of voters will decide November's election, not least because of their concentration in a handful of swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Will they tilt toward the more distant, Harvard-educated Obama, who more accurately reflects their economic interests? Or will they stick with people they can better identify with, like McCain and Sarah Palin? It took an economic crisis of massive proportions from 1929 to 1931 to bring a Democratic administration to power. Polls indicate we may have arrived again at that point in October 2008.

The other critical component of the American brand is democracy, and the willingness of the United States to support other democracies around the world. This idealistic streak in U.S. foreign policy has been constant over the past century, from Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations through Roosevelt's Four Freedoms to Reagan's call for Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."

Promoting democracy—through diplomacy, aid to civil society groups, free media and the like—has never been controversial. The problem now is that by using democracy to justify the Iraq War, the Bush administration suggested to many that "democracy" was a code word for military intervention and regime change. (The chaos that ensued in Iraq didn't exactly help democracy's image either.) The Middle East in particular is a minefield for any U.S. administration, since America supports nondemocratic allies like the Saudis, and refuses to work with groups like Hamas and Hizbullah that came to power through elections. We don't have much credibility when we champion a "freedom agenda."

The American model has also been seriously tarnished by the Bush administration's use of torture. After 9/11 Americans proved distressingly ready to give up constitutional protections for the sake of security. Guantánamo Bay and the hooded prisoner at Abu Ghraib have since replaced the Statue of Liberty as symbols of America in the eyes of many non-Americans.

No matter who wins the presidency a month from now, the shift into a new cycle of American and world politics will have begun. The Democrats are likely to increase their majorities in the House and Senate. A huge amount of populist anger is brewing as the Wall Street meltdown spreads to Main Street. Already there is a growing consensus on the need to re-regulate many parts of the economy.

Globally the United States will not enjoy the hegemonic position it has occupied until now, something underscored by Russia's Aug. 7 invasion of Georgia. America's ability to shape the global economy through trade pacts and the IMF and World Bank will be diminished, as will our financial resources. And in many parts of the world, American ideas, advice and even aid will be less welcome than they are now.

Under such circumstances, which candidate is better positioned to rebrand America? Barack Obama obviously carries the least baggage from the recent past, and his postpartisan style seeks to move beyond today's political divisions. At heart he seems a pragmatist, not an ideologue. But his consensus-forming skills will be sorely tested when he has to make tough choices, bringing not just Republicans but unruly Democrats into the fold. McCain, for his part, has talked like Teddy Roosevelt in recent weeks, railing against Wall Street and calling for SEC chairman Chris Cox's head. He may be the only Republican who can bring his party, kicking and screaming, into a post-Reagan era. But one gets the sense that he hasn't fully made up his mind what kind of Republican he really is, or what principles should define the new America.

American influence can and will eventually be restored. Since the world as a whole is likely to suffer an economic downturn, it is not clear that the Chinese or Russian models will fare appreciably better than the American version. The United States has come back from serious setbacks during the 1930s and 1970s, due to the adaptability of our system and the resilience of our people.

Still, another comeback rests on our ability to make some fundamental changes. First, we must break out of the Reagan-era straitjacket concerning taxes and regulation. Tax cuts feel good but do not necessarily stimulate growth or pay for themselves; given our long-term fiscal situation Americans are going to have to be told honestly that they will have to pay their own way in the future. Deregulation, or the failure of regulators to keep up with fast-moving markets, can become unbelievably costly, as we have seen. The entire American public sector—underfunded, deprofessionalized and demoralized—needs to be rebuilt and be given a new sense of pride. There are certain jobs that only the government can fulfill.

As we undertake these changes, of course, there's a danger of overcorrecting. Financial institutions need strong supervision, but it isn't clear that other sectors of the economy do. Free trade remains a powerful motor for economic growth, as well as an instrument of U.S. diplomacy. We should provide better assistance to workers adjusting to changing global conditions, rather than defend their existing jobs. If tax cutting is not a path to automatic prosperity, neither is unconstrained social spending. The cost of the bailouts and the long-term weakness of the dollar mean that inflation will be a serious threat in the future. An irresponsible fiscal policy could easily add to the problem.

And while fewer non-Americans are likely to listen to our advice, many would still benefit from emulating certain aspects of the Reagan model. Not, certainly, financial-market deregulation. But in continental Europe, workers are still treated to long vacations, short working weeks, job guarantees and a host of other benefits that weaken their productivity and will not be financially sustainable.

The unedifying response to the Wall Street crisis shows that the biggest change we need to make is in our politics. The Reagan revolution broke the 50-year dominance of liberals and Democrats in American politics and opened up room for different approaches to the problems of the time. But as the years have passed, what were once fresh ideas have hardened into hoary dogmas. The quality of political debate has been coarsened by partisans who question not just the ideas but the motives of their opponents. All this makes it harder to adjust to the new and difficult reality we face. So the ultimate test for the American model will be its capacity to reinvent itself once again. Good branding is not, to quote a presidential candidate, a matter of putting lipstick on a pig. It's about having the right product to sell in the first place. American democracy has its work cut out for it.

Fukuyama is professor of International Political Economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.