Last night the WHannabes debated their fantasies of immigration and financial reform. Also, Fox continued to shut other broadcasters out of the post-debate coverage. (More)

“It’s not an adult argument”

The wingnuts were on parade last night. The Washington Post has an annotated transcript, for bored masochists, I guess. For the rest of us – who are not bored and/or not masochists – Politico has a listicle and ABC’s Rick Klein offers an analysis:

The stage was smaller. The rhetoric was milder. But the broad contours of the presidential race were somehow brought into sharper relief by an evening that was often dull.

Talk of immigration, foreign policy and bank bailouts was a throwback for a Republican Party that’s been rocked by sideshows, surprises, and campaign drama. As comfort zones go, though, this was awkward territory for a GOP that’s seeking its own identity while reaching out to a changing electorate.

The New York Times highlighted immigration as the big flashpoint:

The splintering over immigration, in a campaign dominated so far by the personas, speeches and backgrounds of the candidates, illuminated the brightest dividing line between Republican hopefuls like Mr. Bush and Mr. Kasich, who favor a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and the many primary voters who have embraced Mr. Trump’s harsh language about immigrants in the country illegally.

While several other candidates, like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, received a pass from the moderators on immigration, Mr. Kasich took on the issue directly after Mr. Trump defended his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and to identify and deport some 11 million people.

“Think about the families; think about the children,” Mr. Kasich said. “Come on, folks, we know you can’t pick them up and ship them across the border. It’s a silly argument. It’s not an adult argument.”

Mr. Trump, whose counterpunches were a memorable part of his early debate performances, replied coolly at first, citing President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s approach to deporting immigrants in the 1950s.

“You don’t get nicer; you don’t get friendlier,” Mr. Trump said. “We have no choice. We have no choice.”

But Mr. Kasich stayed on the attack. “Little false little things, sir, they really don’t work when it comes to the truth,” he said.

Mr. Bush then tried to pounce. He twitted Mr. Trump, his longtime rival in the race, for suggesting that Mr. Bush be allowed to speak – “What a generous man you are” – and warned that Mr. Trump’s harsh proposals would drive Hispanic voters to support the Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“They’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this,” Mr. Bush said.

Perhaps some Clinton campaign staffers were been high-fiving each other. But most Democrats, probably including Clinton and most of her staff, would rather our nation have an informed, intelligent discussion on immigration reform.

“The Big Lie”

Most Democrats would also prefer an informed, intelligent discussion on financial reform. That should start with separating wingnut myth from reality, as the Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konzal explains:

Carly Fiorina: “Government created the problem of a real estate boom. How did we create it? Under Republican and Democrats alike, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, everybody gathered together…”

Stop right there. This is what the finance writer Barry Ritholtz calls the Big Lie, the false idea that the government was responsible for the subprime boom through affordability goals at the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and through the GSEs.

But it wasn’t. The GSEs market share actually fell from about 50 percent to just under 30 percent of all mortgage originations during the peak bubble years from 2002-2005. The losses from 2006 to 2012 at the GSEs were only about 2.7 percent, compared to 5.8 percent at deposit banks and, crucially, 20.3 percent (!) for private-label mortgage securities.

To quote from a recent review by David Fiderer here: The Federal Reserve Board found “no connection between CRA and the subprime mortgage problems.” A subsequent Fed study found “lender tests indicate that areas disproportionately served by lenders covered by the CRA experienced lower delinquency rates and less risky lending.” Per the Minneapolis Fed: “The available evidence seems to run counter to the contention that the CRA contributed in any substantive way to the current mortgage crisis.” These findings were echoed by the Richmond Fed.

The St. Louis Fed posed a question: “Did Affordable Housing Legislation Contribute to the Subprime Securities Boom?” And the data offered a clear-cut answer: “No… We find no evidence that lenders increased subprime originations or altered pricing around the discrete eligibility cutoffs for the Government Sponsored Enterprises’ (GSEs) affordable housing goals or the Community Reinvestment Act.”

This was a Wall Street phenomenon, not driven by the federal government. Not understanding this points you in the wrong direction.

Konzal’s essay is worth reading in full. Conservative ideology demands that the lesson of the Great Recession be “government must stay out of the way.” But reality doesn’t stand on its head to satisfy ideology.


“The exclusive right to broadcast live from the Spin Room”

And Fox continued their practice of shutting other broadcasters out of the post-debate coverage:

The spin room at the Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal debate is much quieter than in some previous debates.

The reason? No media other than Fox Business is allowed to broadcast live out of the spin room. It’s the same rule that was in place during the first GOP debate, hosted by Fox News. Other networks can film from within the spin room, but they are not permitted to broadcast live from the room. It’s a practice unique to Fox and not one enforced by CNN and CNBC, the other networks who have hosted GOP debates.
A Fox Business spokesperson said that as the host of the debate, the network “has the exclusive right to broadcast live from the Spin Room.”

Apparently Fox’s solution to ‘media bias’ … is to shut everyone else out.


Photo Credit: Scott Olson (Getty Images)


Good day and good nuts