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Giuliani's Missed Opportunity

Just hours after the conclusion of the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's two main rivals in the Jan. 29 Florida vote seemed to hand him an issue on a platter.

Hurricanes have routinely ravaged the Sunshine State, destroying property and making it extremely difficult for many homeowners to rebuild due to skyrocketing insurance costs. In order to try to alleviate this burden, Giuliani spoke out early and forcefully in support of a national catastrophe fund -- backed by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) -- that would allow Floridians to enter a national insurance pool to better spread out the risk that insurers incur in providing coverage.

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) said he opposed such a measure, adding: "That insurance policy is there. ... It's called FEMA." Former governor Mitt Romney (Mass.) was more on the fence about the matter; "The CAT fund makes sense to me, but I haven't looked at a specific proposal," he told the Orlando Sentinel.

Given McCain's opposition and Romney's equivocation, it was only Giuliani among the top-tier contenders who stood with the majority of Floridians on the issue. In short: the issue was teed up for Giuliani to bash it out of the park. And yet, Giuliani appears to have bunted rather than swung for the fences -- to borrow one of Hizzoner's baseball analogies -- releasing a web-only ad on the issue.

Here's the spot:

Pretty effective, right? And, at 34 seconds running time, it could have easily been cut down to run across Florida to reinforce the idea that Giuliani alone is on the right side of the issue.

Inexplicably, the campaign decided to put the ad on the web rather than on television. Web ads have their place but that place is not six days before the most important vote of a candidate's life. This is a winning issue for Giuliani and yet he is ensuring that no one outside of the most ardent activists and loyalists see the commercial.

We tried to get to the bottom of this decision, speaking with any number of Giuliani advisers. They insisted that the decision not to put the ad on television had nothing to do with money, which seemed like the most plausible defense for the strategic decision. No one we spoke to offered a hard-and-fast explanation for the decision.

The hard truth for Giuliani is that next Tuesday's vote in Florida is do-or-die for him. For all the talk in his campaign that a close second would keep him alive into the Super Tuesday showdown Feb. 5, his polling slide in states set to vote that day -- including his native New York -- suggests that anything short of a first-place finish would effectively end his bid.

In order to win, Giuliani has to find ways to draw contrasts on television with Romney and McCain -- both of whom have several primary/caucus wins under their belt and enter the Sunshine State with some momentum. We thought Giuliani was on the way to doing that when he began airing a spot late last week taking a subtle shot at Romney, but the inexplicable decision not to put the CAT fund ad on television seems to indicate some level of backsliding on that commitment to contrast.

Giuliani's wait-and-see strategy played itself out quite nicely in the early primary fights, as a series of different winners in early states kept Florida relevant and Giuliani in the mix. But, with the spotlight now on him, Hizzoner seems to be backing away from the very fight that could catapult him to victory next Tuesday and into contention on Feb. 5.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 23, 2008; 2:40 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

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Posted by: Anonymous | May 11, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

'What is our world coming to to hear such rhetoric about the basic need to have insurance.'

So I assume then, Rudy supporter, that you are in favor of universal health insurance?

Posted by: drindl | January 24, 2008 8:06 AM | Report abuse

It may be too late for Rudy anyway. Early voting started two days ago and has been brisk.

Posted by: Mudrock63 | January 24, 2008 5:45 AM | Report abuse

See

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/23/AR2008012304036.html

wherein it is said that:

"Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign aired a new radio ad here Wednesday that repeated a discredited charge against Sen. Barack Obama, in what some Democrats said is part of an increasing pattern of hardball politics by her and former president Bill Clinton."

Sometimes one can win with a "discredited charge". McCain was beaten once this way. Sometimes there is no cost for winning this way. President Bush won this way, twice.

Some Clinton supporters I know are not happy with this turn of events. Some Bush supporters I knew actually apologized to me for the slander of Kerry. Sometimes we are better citizens than our candidates.

Damn shame, isn't it?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 24, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

Amazing how easy it is for the liberals that post here to say that Floridians shouldn't be entitled to Flood or Hurricane Insurance.

What is it with the people who prefer to live in glass houses and not recognize the needs of our citizens in other regions of our great country.

Supply side of economics should not be the deterrent to the availability and affordability of Flood/Hurricane Insurance.

It is unfortunate that so many don't have a clue as to what is being proposed.

It doesn't matter where you live in Florida and to say that the goverment mandates the availability of flood insurance is just a completely moronic statement.

FEMA did such a wonderful job in New Orleans and McCain the man who would cut funding of FEMA would tell you that dissaster relief already exists. Most who have posted here don't even know what FEMA covers and what the allowable borrowed amounts are for dissaster stricken home owners.

The pontificating of morons who don't even live in Florida are suggesting that everyone who lives in Florida should pack their bags and find better shelter is downright shameless and insulting to the people who live in Florida.

It figures that morons would try and engage as to what would be in the best interest of Floridians. I imagine that those people who went to work innocently on the morning of 09/11 should of had terror insurance to safeguard any attacks by jet planes.

I hope that it never comes to a situation where disasster should strike in the most obscure of places and then I guess we should turn our backs and say that the people who built their homes or those who had a job in an office building should of never went to work.

What is our world coming to to hear such rhetoric about the basic need to have insurance.

The stock market went up 300 points today and do you know the reason why?

Answer: Insurance.

By the way I am a Rudy backer and not basher and of all the leaders in the race he is the most qualified to lead because he has already been tested and while Mayor of NY in the land of liberals ( 5 Democrats to every 1 Republican ) he accomplished more than any liberal politician in the history of NYC.

Posted by: rudyiacono | January 23, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Not a Washington Insider, Romney has a sophisticated understanding of the challenges we face in both the national and global economies. He is highly educated and successful leader in business making money by turning around floundering companies such as Staples and produced hundreds of thousands of jobs, understands the importance of people, organization, research, planning, communication and direction. While Governor of the mostly Democrat Massachusetts, he brought the fractured constituencies together and they became the first state with a universal health care plan that seems to work. He took no salary at all as Governor because as he said, I have enough. He lowered state taxes. Increased funding for education. Increased penalties on drunk driving. Never supported the release of criminals convicted of serious crimes. Never was first to bring up religion. As governor he kept his promise not to attack anyone's right to choice of lifestyle or abortion. He turned around MA's economy from deficit to surplus, balancing their budget in less than 4 years. How dare he do his job well and for no pay on top of it!!! When the Salt Lake City Olympics crumbled under corruption and scandal he went to Salt Lake, took over for a one dollar salary, saved the Olympics and made it profitable. He led a massive security mobilization at the Olympics in the wake of the 9/11 attack and, as governor, helped build up Massachusetts' homeland security efforts. He supports a strong military. He is concerned about illegal immigration and what it means to the security of the United States. He wants to retool America and bring the jobs back home. I can certainly understand left wingers hating Romney, after all he's been married to the same woman. He's from a close knit family and values family first. He was class valedictorian at BYU, MBA and LAW degree from Harvard, simultaneously summa cum laude and cum laude and Baker Scholar. Regarding his flip-flopping on big issues? He may have flipped but not flopped! Everyone, and that means everyone in politics makes mistakes, gets to change their mind once after gaining more knowledge, and most politicians seem to change more than once. Stand all of the candidates up next to each other in a direct comparison of what they really have done and then vote for the best person to make good change and run the country in the right direction.

Posted by: dcdinnell | January 23, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

jimd52: I was at Anderson AFB for 18 months leaving in 1960. I still remember the crazy weather, sunshine one minute, a downpour the next. There wasn't much do do except go swimming while I was there.

Posted by: lylepink | January 23, 2008 11:34 PM | Report abuse

The fact is, Giuliani is going drown if he can't make it in Florida. Having spent weeks there, anything less than first would be a humiliation. Giuliani is the guy who sets the standards for: "If I tell you it's so, it's so!" The press seems to never ever follow up with him on specifics. He hasn't really shown himself to be any more than a talker. He was a crisis manager.
That's it.
And, as Global Warming increases it's impact, tornados, floods, fires, mudslides, earthquake zones, avalanche zones, etc., will all make home owners insurance more expensive. The movement back from the coasts will happen after any major hurricane. The movement will initially come from homes destroyed in floods or wind ... but which cannot be rebuilt because replacement costs, plus insurance, will be prohibitive for the average home owner.
This will happen to all of us through prohibitive insurance costs for homes in the wrong places. There's not enough money in the world to build up an effective way to replace all the property which will be destroyed by natural causes. That's what Global Warming will do to us all.
There's simply not anyone person or persons in the current crop of Presidential candidates who can fix all of that. Americans should understand that between the escalating cost of fuel and the heavy damage coming from Global Warming will change all of our lives.

Posted by: zennhead614wheatland | January 23, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

novamatt, thanks for the link. None of the above is running around 9%, and they still have Thompson in the average at a couple percent. With McCain & Romney running roughly evenly, the question seems to be where the undecideds go; should they choose to vote.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

"only Giuliani among the top-tier contenders ."

How can Giuliani be a top-tier contender when he hasn't won anything and usually finishes way below the pack?

Giuliani's top tier status is the creation of the media. His early high polling was due to 9/11 name recognition only, when people started listening to him they realized he had little to offer. Time to stop pretending that Giuliani is anything but a political joke.

Posted by: info4 | January 23, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Jim, I left Clark for good in 1977 and ended up graduating from a high school in hs in 1978. You may well be a few years ahead of me.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

The Florida chart looks really ugly for Giuliani: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/fl/florida_republican_primary-260.html#charts . He's done.

More interesting is what happens if Romney pulls off the win in Florida. This is looking like a two-horse race for the GOP, with Huckabee sliding back into the spoiler/Edwards role if he sticks it out through Feb. 5, which I imagine he will.

If McCain wins Florida, the GOP race becomes pretty boring. How awful that would be.

Posted by: novamatt | January 23, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

The most recent polls seem to favor McCain. Most of them show Giuliani slipping. Romney does have some very effective ads running here in Florida. However, the ads represent another persona for him - the staunch social conservative persona is nowhere to be seen.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Mark

I sent an e-mail to that address - from my combination personal/business e-mail.

campaign diaries - there was an ARG poll our the other day that had McCain 7 points above Romney with Giuliani fighting it out for 3rd with Huckabee

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

There were FOUR polls from Florida today, two with Romney up and two with McCain up. But Giuliani wasn't that far behind -- and is he second in two of these polls. It's still anyone's race in the Sunshine State: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2008/01/count-no-one-out-florida-is-wide-open.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | January 23, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

What difference does it make whether McCain, Giuliani or Romney favor a national CAT fund. Under any of them, Florida will eventually be under water, rendering coverage for hurricane damage entirely moot. Have a nice day Floridians. Keep voting Republican.

Posted by: mnjam | January 23, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

nick

My overseas tours were Naples, Italy from 1/80 to 10/82 and Guam from 7/93 to 5/95. I visited Subic a few times on a WestPac cruise in 1978. I spent a day at Clark one time to see a doctor.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Jim - so you're a Navy man! Were you ever stationed at Subic?

I was an Air Force brat who went to DODDS schools, including those at the now-defunct Clark AB.

Mark - of course insurance is regulated at the state level! What was I thinking? Out of anyone, I should know that as one of my best friends does just that for a living!

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Poor Chris what are you going to do when your IDOL Rudy Giuliani pulls out after LOSING the Florida primary .. there goes your Deputy Press Secretary job in The White House .. SORRY .. and what are you going to write about since you seem incapable of writing about anyone else ???

Posted by: artpiccolo | January 23, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Jim, I own an email address at mark_in_austin@operamail.com.
---------------------------
Nick has my email, bsimon's and drindl's. I have nick's and bsimon's. Nick may have judgecrater's too.
---------------------
Send me one and I'll reply with my business email. Tell me if you want yours forwarded to bsimon and nick, and if you do, they can take it from there.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

JD wrote -

"BTW, you're probably the last conservative left in DC, you and Carol Schwartz. "

I knew her 44 years ago when she was a Democrat.

Small world.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

mark

I would like to get in on the e-mail group.

How should we proceed?

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

femalenick

I remain a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union - have been for over 30 years now. Credit unions do offer the best rates on consumer loans. Like you, though, I don't maintain much money in the account for the same reasons.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

It's at

www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/06/27/raising_sons_rising_expectations

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

nick,

Insurance is written state by state and is subject to state insurance commission regulation.

Romney appears to have no sense of humor. Go to the "Boston Globe" and search "romney" and "seamus". It's the stick.

Many insurance companies are "mutuals", not stock companies. I supposedly own part of State Farm, a mutual, and I receive rebates each year.

Look at your email, please.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Jim, I've had Allstate auto insurance for 20 years, and in November, before my last renewal, I checked Progressive, Geico, and all the other majors just to see if I could save money. Two came close, but not one could beat our rate. Seems that some companies like Allstate award discounts for driving records as well as longevity as a customer.

Now what is strange is that I cannot insure our Las Vegas rental property on a California policy even if the same company operates in NV. That I don't get, and I can't seem to get an answer that makes sense.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, makes sense that USAA would be conservative. I have kept my membership at a federal credit union in San Antonio that I established while a military dependent because their consumer loan rates are lower than at least half a dozen commercial banks in my area. But I don't keep much cash there because they are so conservative and thus their money market rate tends to be lower than commercial banks.

The NY Times isn't all bad. It's never a good idea to throw out the baby with the bath water - on anything!

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

zouk

USAA is not always the least expensive. I switched my car insurance to Progressive (sorry Gecko, they were cheaper) for a decent savings. As for home insurance, they are not writing it in Florida at the moment - not even renter's insurance for an area in Florida that hasn't had a hurricane in 45 years.

They also sell mutual funds and other investment services.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jim. I wonder how that model can extend to those outside the military.

Now a more direct RUDY topic: results of FL polling on 1/20-1/22 were just announced. McCain now leads with 25 percent, Romney 23 percent, and Rudy ties with Huckabee at 15%. That should make you happy, Drindl! (Me, too, btw!)

So much for the Law & Order candidates.

On a side topic, has anyone else noticed that of all the candidates still standing (on either side) that Romney is the only one who doesn't seem to have a sense of humor? I have never seen a candidate more square! I don't expect him to be a comedian, but geez Louise!

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

USAA has excellent car insurance and it is the lowest priced, but its home insurance leaves a lot to be desired. they are extremely picky and I wouldn't be surprised if they wouldn't cover lots of the subject properties we are discussing.

they are also a bank now and are very conservative, although with only military (esque) patrons, their risk profile is much lower than the general population. don't tell the NYTimes, because they think the military is crazy and stupid, which is exactly opposite of the truth.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

femalenick

Yes, it is non-profit, sort of. It does make profits and some of the profits get reinvested or held for reserves depending on loss experience. What is left of the profit is paid in dividends to the members. You also get equity in the company based on the premiums you have paid. This equity is contained in a subscribers savings account. When your balance exceeds a certain amount, they pay you everything above the amount.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

"Why is there a terrorist at my party?"

The occasion was the UN's 50th anniversary concert at Lincoln Center in 1995. Writing in the Huffington Post recently, former New York Public Advocate Mark Green tried to describe in unflattering terms Giuliani's reaction to seeing Arafat in the audience that night:

According to an American official at the UN who saw what happened and spoke to me, Mayor Giuliani "threw a temper tantrum" when he spotted Arafat in the crowd minutes before the curtain went up. He grew "red faced and went out of control," said the official. "Rudy was absolutely infantile like a two year old" and dispatched his aide to eject Arafat--despite the fact that this was a celebratory, symbolic UN event to which the PLO leader was duly invited and ticketed.

God forbid anyone should dampen the UN symbolism that gives terrorist regimes an equal say and places worldwide Jew-killing in political context. With Jews like Mark Green, who needs the PLO? Green went on to describe Rudy's uncontrolled gut reaction as "pro-Israeli antics", while others at the time depicted it as "pandering" to the Jewish vote. But Giuliani explained, simply, "I don't forget." What he didn't forget were the PLO's crimes against America, and that the Nobel laureate and frequent White House guest had "never been held to answer for the murders that he was implicated in."

In his own, more recent, retelling of the Lincoln Center incident, Giuliani related his clarity of mind using plain, Jackie Mason-style wisdom:

I didn't call for a team of lawyers to tell me on the one hand you can throw him out, on the other hand you can't. Maybe you can partially throw him out. Maybe we can have him sit, like, further up. I made a decision. You see, I lead. That's what a leader is about.

This touches on another important Giuliani quality. Unlike Hillary Clinton, whose facial expression "did not change noticeably" when a supporter recently contrasted Barack Obama with JFK by saying that JFK was assassinated and so credit for civil rights laws goes to Lyndon Johnson--just as her expression didn't change in 1999 when Suha Arafat accused Israel of poisoning women and children--Giuliani has human, in-the-moment, morally sound reactions to events and statements. He doesn't first consult with his staff to see what reaction he should have, or wait for a public reaction to determine his.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=6D347ACA-8929-4DC6-8F80-CB95575B44ED

go rudy, annoy the liberals!

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Jim, I forgot about USAA -- so the non-profit model already exists or am I wrong to assume it's non-profit?

I don't disagree with you, JD, in that when it comes to certain insurance (home, auto, etc.) that the federal government shouldn't be involved because there are so many more factors that must be taken into account: location, driving records, climates, etc. That said, maybe it should be operated at the state level, subsidized by state taxes as approved by the respective citizens. Okay, that probably wouldn't go over in TX and FL since they like to brag about the absence of a state income tax...but I digress.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Imagine the idea that several candidates from the same party could disagree on something of substance.

but don't look for this in the Dem party. the only difference there is that one is black, one is female and one is an effeminate metrosexual. and they are desperately trying to reign in votes based on just this and nothing else.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"Hizzoner seems to be backing away from the very fight that could catapult him to victory next Tuesday and into contention on Feb. 5."

Mancrush!

What, we aren't getting another 'virtuoso' performance from Rudy! Say it isn't so!

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 23, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

You are a hard man when it comes to blogging about Hizzoner's. Do not worry his beautiful mind with whats and whys.

Let sleeping giants lay. Rudolph "Nosferatu" Giuliani is placidly talking with Angels while napping in his Florida hammock. America's Mayor is not to be awoken by trifle such as a passing stampede of MacCainistas on a mission to conquer the White House. Judy Nathan is all he needs to be right and jolly, no more, no less.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 23, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

JD, femalenick

Some businesses do choose to self-insure. A friend owns a major fast food franchise. These places have been devastated by property insurance rates in Florida. They are looking into forming a self insurance group. They would contribute a certain amount of money. Administrators hired by them would purchase re-insurance to cover catastrophic losses. The contributions would cover losses up to a certain level. The funds would be invested and they could, as the investments earn money, build up a reserve and pay dividends.

There is, in fact, a large member owned insurance company - USAA. It was founded by military officers. Military personnel and their family members can join.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama was right when he said the clintons and the Libs haven't offered anything of substance in the past decades. all your old 60s ideas are stale and tired and failed for the most part. yet that doesn't stop you from trying to force them down our throats to this day.

and that points out exactly why you can't win presidential elections anymore. with candidates like GOre, Kerry and Hillary, it is going to continue on for quite some time.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Good thing you have those turtlenecks, Mark, but are you sure you're not in the SF Bay Area today? We're experiencing the same kind of day! On days like this, I can imagine myself retiring in the tropics.

I assume that you want that Medicare to be there on Aug. 1 and beyond? And does this mean you support universal health care?

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Ask zouk. Today suddenly he's all for government solving every problem. Well, as long as it's his problems.

And it seems that he is a lobbyist. Well, what a surprise. Not.

Posted by: claudialong | January 23, 2008 05:39 PM

so according to the head moonbat, if anyone advocates a single problem is amenable to government solution, you are now for government solving every problem.

Only to a moonbat with the weakest of rationality.

Liberal math:

1 = ALL


not a lobbyist, although I know many of them. Hard working and personable - the opposite of a Liberal. Guess again. you should know by now that I am paid shill for Exxon and work for the RNC invading blogs and am unemployed and am insane and am an incorrigible moron of below average intelligence - oh wait that last one was rufas.

As usual I am amazed at the ability of Liberals to offer so many solutions with so little actual knowledge of anything. there is so much that you know -all wrong. and so little you actually offer.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Rush ... He's carcking up. Doesn't have much longer now. --- JKrishnamurti

I fully agree. Rush L. has left the reservation, along with the other unthinking, rigid right-wing blowhards on "talk radio" like Hannity, Levin, etc. The influence of these people has peaked and is now on the decline. Most Republicans can think for themselves and have now realized that these rigid ideologues don't represent the future for the Republican Party that we want. No matter how much they try and bash John McCain and pump up Mitt Romney, the "Mac Attack" moves on. When J-Mac wins the nomination, which he ultimately will, it will show just how little influence these sanctimonious turds really have, and that can only be a good thing.

Posted by: danram | January 23, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought Rudy was about smaller national government? Who is going to administer this fund after he cuts the government work force by 15% as promised.

I thought he bashes any form of national health insurance as "Hillary Care?" I guess it's OK if it helps the state he needs to win.

Rudy is the biggest wimp of all time. He has absolutely no sole. Why was he so afraid to go campaign in the early states where people actually get the chance to look you in the eye and see what you're made of?

Posted by: GoHuskies2004 | January 23, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Mark, the problem is, if the Government does it, it will be a) less efficient, and b) forced.

I like femalenick's idea of a credit union concept; but people should be given the option of joining the credit union. If the government covers, then we must join at gunpoint, in effect.

If they cannot get a mortgage without insurance; or cannot afford what insurance they could get; well, that's the market sending a very clear message to stay away.

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

danram: rudy appears to want to be president of a select group of states only. interesting approach.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 23, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I have to admit, I've been really disappointed in the way Rudy has been pandering to voters lately. While McCain has always been my guy, Rudy was a strong #2 for me in case J-Mac didn't pan out. But first he proposes "the biggest tax cut in American history" which this nation simply can NOT afford under present circumstances, and then he follows it up by pandering to Florida residents by promising a big new federally-funded program to make it cheaper for them to buy hurricane insurance. Hey look, if you want to live in Florida, fine. But if you do, then YOU should have to pay the cost of hurricane-proofing your house and of buying the insurance to protect it, not me! John McCain was 100% right to come out against it, and this is yet one more example of why people are lining up behind J-Mac: He tells it like it is, regardless of whether or not it's what people want to hear.

Posted by: danram | January 23, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

One last note to drindl - did you see my note to you in reply to your quote from the Fresno Bee?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Correction (I found the Economist issue in which this was discussed): it wasn't Allstate that canceled policies in FL; they simply stopped writing new policies in FL, LA and parts of TX and NY. State Farm stopped renewing some policies. In 2006, Poe Financial, FL's 4th largest insurer went belly up, leaving 316k policyholders without coverage. A state-run insurer, meant to be the last resort for those who can't get private insurance and was operating on a deficit has since been inundated.

Mark is right -- "it appears that insurers do sometimes opt to cut and run from profitable markets." A friend of mine who oversees the insurance industry on behalf of his state has told me this on numerous occasions. Certainly, it's a complicated issue, but it does make me wonder if insurance shouldn't instead be operated more like a credit union, i.e., member owned and non-profit, with the members determining the underwriting rules, including insisting on building codes.

I posed the question about whether or not insurance companies should be able to cancel policies earlier because, if consumers buy insurance for financial protection against disasters & they end up having to make that claim, it seems wrong that the company can then cut and run because a consumer had to make a claim.


Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

OK - I could subsidize bsimon in Minneapolis if he could subsidize me, in return.

I am eligible for Medicare August 1.

Drindl, you got me.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Awww, too bad, Cillizza. You'll have to eat all those Giuliani t-shirts and yard signs you bought.

Posted by: jlelijah | January 23, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

drindl, it was 40F today and wet, and it will not be 65F [but still wet] til Saturday and it will not be sunny and 70F again until Sunday.

Palm trees do not like it. I have a rubberized little wetcoat that I bought for visiting my kids in England and I have worn it to work for 2 days now.

Nick, this was a turtleneck day. :-)

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

'blog where I come to annoy liberals'

'you must carry a heavy burden in life with so much outward hate eminanting from your being.'

indeed, as always, he describes himself well.

'I have no problem with a governmental entity "selling" insurance at a small "profit" that essentially keeps me in peaceful Austin from subsidizing bsimon, in strife ridden Minneapolis.'

Indeed, Mark.. like Medicare.

Posted by: drindl | January 23, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Actually JD, reading what you wrote again, I see your point. But I do not understand how it is different from what I suggested to begin with.

Assuming no Commission restraints, you are saying that if the local insurance market is not profitable enough, people should move elsewhere.

In that case

- where insurance could be sold at a profit but the insurance industry, exempt as it is from antitrust laws, chooses to leave because it is not profitable enough -

I have no problem with a governmental entity "selling" insurance at a small "profit" that essentially keeps me in peaceful Austin from subsidizing bsimon, in strife ridden Minneapolis.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"Somebody tell me again why it has to be the government who solves this problem?"'

Ask zouk. Today suddenly he's all for government solving every problem. Well, as long as it's his problems.

And it seems that he is a lobbyist. Well, what a surprise. Not.

Posted by: drindl | January 23, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Mark, my guess is that insurance companies think they would look like 'less the bad guy' if they just pull out of a market, vs quintupling rates (or more).

Since insurance is mostly a commodity, it's just a PR technique that hopefully allows them to compete elsewhere.

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

How could a Republican support a national insurance fund? Doesn't that violate the principles of a free market? If you want to live in a hurricane's path, why should folks who live in safe places subsidize your risk? If we have socialized home insurance what's next? National healthcare, perhaps?
Oh well, why expect consistency in Republicans when there is a buck to be made or a promise to be delivered.

Posted by: vfazio | January 23, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Spectator - I would say that my social skills are not reflected on an anonymous blog where I come to annoy liberals.

I must assume that based on that idea, your social skills ARE reflected by your posts and you seem as nasty as a rattlesnake. Must be a clinton supporter. sorry for those around you. you and the drindl's of the world must carry a heavy burden in life with so much outward hate eminanting from your being.

and yes indeed I do teach math to graduate students as a hobby. you ought to try thinking some time. It is envigorating.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

So zouk claims to be a Ph.D in math? Based on his nonexistent social skills, I'd say it's also likely he has Asperger's Syndrome, AKA the Little Professor Syndrome.

Now it all makes sense!

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 23, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

JD, I like your example.

I have actually seen insurers leave markets in TX and CA that they claimed were profitable.

Perhaps KOZ's example of inability to lay off risk on reinsurers was the hidden explanation.

Perhaps the industry was flexing its muscles with the Lege or the Insurance Commission over some unrelated matter.

But on the surface, it appears that insurers do sometimes opt to cut and run from profitable markets.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Jd - Yes, I know, I am a PhD in math, especially probability and decision theory. It does have some theoretical approaches that I am aware of, for example Shafer Dempster probability or baconian methods but the industry does not trust these methods like old fashion Bayesian stuff.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I think if you want to exclude federal money from insuring against catastrophic loss, you must not be a Lib. what would happen is you would create artificial ghost towns where the rich have fled, abandoning their worthless properties and some poor migrants forced to stay, with no economic incentive in place. It would create a whole series of sub-sea level new orleans like ghost towns, populated by poor squatters with no public services.

this would shatter the economies of entire states including LA, MD, FL, CA, MS, AL, KS, AK, NJ, anything with a beach, a fault, a river, high winds or a dry season. etc.

then again, that does sound like the Liberal utopia you all are working for. At least there wouldn't be any Walmarts there.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Insurance premiums are based on the probability of a loss and the cost of the loss. what is the probability of a terrorist attack on Capitol hill in the next ten years?


Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 05:07 PM

Zouk, having worked with the part of DHS trying to figure *exactly this problem out*, let me tell you, even they are somewhat stumped. And they put their FFRDC on the problem, lots of PhDs, etc.

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Why should people who do not live in FL have to pay to rebuild the homes of those who choose to live in an area regularly hit by hurricanes. If you cant stand the heat (or wind)....

Posted by: kjconnolly | January 23, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

On the terrorist zone thing, I find it bizarre that insurance is unavailable;

Insurance premiums are based on the probability of a loss and the cost of the loss. what is the probability of a terrorist attack on Capitol hill in the next ten years?

you need to have a history of like occurances to answer this from an actuarial perspective. wars too. Lightening and acts of God all excluded from coverage.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Mark, again I don't buy that. Let me use an extreme example to prove a point.

Let's say your house is worth $500k. And let's say you live in Denton TX (gateway to my favorite Indian Casino, Winstar... but I digress). Ok, let's say Denton gets on avg 2 tornados per year, on avg F4s that destroy one quarter of the town.

If I charged $500k/year in premiums, per household... would I be profitable? you bet I would.

Now, would the government let me charge that much? Probably not, not if there's an insurance commission. Would people pay it? No, they'd move away after declaring the tax loss, after their house was destroyed. Or they wouldn't buy there in the first place... which is what we'd want to happen, if 1/2 the town gets literally blown away every year; it's too dangerous.

So, back to your opportunity cost argument: of course they could make the appropriate return, if the market 'allowed' it. But the fact that either gov won't let them, or the market won't let them, means people shouldn't be living there in the first place.

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

JD - it is not the price of the premium, it is the inability to package and sell them in the secondary markets. Just like mortgages, if they don't meet certain compliance standards, the primary will have to hold them in their own portfolio, greatly expanding the risk, especially for geographically co-located collateral.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Who would have thought months ago, that goper's would be trying to not talk about rudy? He was their golden boy not long ago. Now they look the other way when he is brought up. Talk about economics instead.

Sorry zouk. Rudy is done. This blog proves it. I can sleep better now.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 23, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

JD - Insurers actually sometimes choose to deny coverage even where they can make a profit if they can make a more substantial profit on the same risked resources in another state.

This reminds me of the notion you and Razor sold me many months ago on that corporate income taxes could influence in which country a business invested, even if the business could make a profit in the USA, with American levels of taxation.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"So are you for government bailouts or not - or is just on things you prefer to decide on the fly?"

I think gov't bailouts have to based on a rational policy. I find it irrational to repeatedly bail people out for suffering the same catastrphe in the same places, like flood zones and beachfront property in hurricane zones. It is a waste of taxpayers money. On the terrorist zone thing, I find it bizarre that insurance is unavailable; I admit, i was needling you a bit on that one.

I find your comparison to welfare benefits to be a stretch. Isn't there a lifetime cap on those though, now that you mention it?

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

JD - the house in DC is an office, located for the convenience of congressional clients who don't like to walk very far. we live across the river in Alexandria, can't afford the DC taxes and don't have three days to stand in line at the DMV.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I seriously believe that he has lost interest. Maybe he'd be more interested in the VP slot, since everyone seems to think it's an attack-dog position, which suits his personality better.
He'd never win the general anyway, and the stories about his mistress-turned-wife that are potentially out there should make him reconsider his bid, if he cares anything about her at all.

Posted by: amadeus56 | January 23, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"with Senator McCain is not issue by issue by issue or an issue here, an issue there. Our disagreement, our problem is ideological. It's about ideology. We're firm in our principles that form our ideology, and you in the McCain-Lieberman Party look at us as a bunch of Shi'ites and Sunnis, and what you are is a bunch of spineless linguini. By the way, I'm a tribal chief. By the way, progress being made on our casino. I'm Chief Wagawaga El Rushbo of the El Conservo Tribe. Well, if I'm a tribal chief, we're going to open a casino. We'll sell cigarettes tax-free, and we're going to get special dispensation so people can actually smoke the cigarettes they buy from us. How about that, in the United States of America? People are going to love our casino! At any rate, it's ideological. It's not issue by issue by issue -- and that's, I think, what they don't understand.
"

rush

He's carcking up. Doesn't have much longer now

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 23, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

jimd - thanks. I'm kinda slow like that sometimes. But hey, I rent for the express purpose of not needing to know this kind of stuff.

And before anyone makes fun of me, yes I'm aware that's not the best financial decision. But at least I don't have a subprime loan!

Posted by: rpy1 | January 23, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

feamlenick - insurance is cobbled together location by location with exceptions and riders all over the place. the more general point is that some natural or even manmade disasters are not amenable to private markets.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

speaking of femalenick, the point about building codes is an excellent one. Perhaps disaster insurance payouts should include a sliding scale based on how a structure was built. I recall an article on building in the west, i.e. wildfire country. Certain houses survive, while neighbors' homes do not. Why? Often times, it has to do with how the house is built. After the fire, do the premiums get jacked up for the house that survived? Probably. But should they?

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

simple simon, you don't in theory, Lloyds of London does. But you know as well as I do that the Congress will not allow all those citizens to become broke based on an attack or even something more uncontrollable, like the weather. a bailout will happen. Lloyds will refuse the claim and congress will pay me instead.

I am curious as to why I should pay for your unemployment or welfare because you choose to live in an area that no longer has jobs.

why do Lib arguments break down so easily when taken to their logical conclusion?

So are you for government bailouts or not - or is just on things you prefer to decide on the fly?

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, I normally ignore your posts because you're usually just lashing out at those who don't agree with you, but I wanted to note one thing about CA hillside fires: other than taxpayer money being spent on putting out the fires as they do for every other state, I believe that insurance policies solely pay for rebuilding purposes -- no tax dollars here. Earthquakes, as in the big one in 1989, may be a different story.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"If the left was going to incite violence, would they have now? "

Would have by now that is

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 23, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

bsimon at 4:42: made me laugh out loud. thanks for that.

Posted by: esmerelda123 | January 23, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

rpy1

Flood insurance is federally subsidized.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

rpy1 writes
"I think that femalenick's point is interesting, though -- what happens if insurance companies refuse to insure a property (at any price)? If it can't get insured, and no one can purchase it, you can imagine a pretty nasty economic slide downward in a region."

Voila!! You have the bsimon one-time-only payout for building in stupid places. I will add terrorist zones to the list that already includes hurricane zones and floodplains. I posted about the idea a couple times, downwind. UPthread. Somewhere.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"There is nothing more pleasant than to watch Mayor 9/11 die a slow death.

Posted by: pbnyc59 | January 23, 2008 02:43 PM


Ladies and gentlemen, the voice of the American Left

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 04:21 PM
"

A metaphor jd. Come on. The left are not fascists. If the left was going to incite violence, would they have now? No. You people are the fascists inciting violence agaisnt americans.

But pull out one line and exagerate it to prove a poiint. Like you chirstians because half of the "render to ceaser quote". Nobody's buying it anymore. Either join reality and 2008 america or go underground. It wouldn't be the first time a free people had to hide their beliefs and go underground

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 23, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Sry Zouk, I believe your story, but I don't buy the logic. If the market cannot deal with it profitably, then there is some outside forces at work (the DC government... monkey with free enterprise? I'm shocked; shocked I tell you!).

BTW, you're probably the last conservative left in DC, you and Carol Schwartz. And I am writing this from Ballston, hardly a bastion of laissez faire.

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

koz at 4:41 actually summarized an argument for nationalized health care. Kind of funny.

Posted by: rpy1 | January 23, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"My house on capitol hill was uninsurable under private insurers because it was within a terrorist zone."

Why should I share the risk for your desire to live within a terrorist zone?

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As a fellow new Yorker it troubles me bitterly to see how Giuliani has fallen from the top of the bunch to 4th behind Romney
Many articles have been written and discussed the reason behind it, perhaps the most acceptable theory is the fact that because he did not compete in the early states he clearly missed out on all free media coverage, even if he would have lost all states, it wouldn't have been by such huge margins, and his concession speeches would have been covered , getting him more free press.

However reading your article today "Giuliani One Note"
http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12619
I couldn't disagree with you more, the fact is, that Giuliani has NOT been talking to much about 9-11 in the last 6 months , yes we did talk about in the beginning but after too many backlashes (whether it was the Biben Joke, or the $9.11 house party) that is when he stopped using 9-11 as his motto.

We all remember very clearly at the debates when Giuliani continued stressing his achievements in New York, taxes and unemployment, it was then when all pundits were saying that he focuses too much on the past and too little about the future, it was then when he came up with his 10 Commandments for the future.

So looking back now.. The reality is that when 9-11 WAS at the for front and when he DID talk about 9-11 that is when Giuliani was on top of the GOP polls, and when he stopped talking about 9-11 that is when is dropped in the polls.
It is clear that the reason he was on top most of last year was because his name recognition of 9-11 and his heroism of those days, and the less he talks about it the more he slips in the polls,

Of course we know that 9-11 was NOT the only reason Giuliani would make a great president, but just the opposite because he is a great leader, thus the reason he was so powerful and great on 9-11, the same qualities needed for a president is what was needed on 9-11.

As a matter of fact I am quite upset why the Giuliani camp did not create some outside 527 committees to bombard us with images of Giuliani on 9-11, Showing the world that it ONLY Giuliani that was the voice of calm during those difficult times, Giuliani was only leader holding news conferences from ground Zero, he was the voice of reason and strength. Just like almost every other major candidate has some outside 527 group working on their behalf, So should Giuliani have had them this should have been on TV in every state.
Of course the Giuliani camp would immediately disown and condemn those groups, and assure everyone that it does not have the blessing of the campaign, but the backers would all be strong Giuliani backers pushing the message , why wasn't this done months ago ?

Posted by: leol | January 23, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm catching up, but just wanted to point out that lots of mortgages (now) for properties in high-risk flood areas require flood insurance. If you don't have it, some places will add the cost of a policy to your mortgage (and the bank will be the sole beneficiary).

I think that femalenick's point is interesting, though -- what happens if insurance companies refuse to insure a property (at any price)? If it can't get insured, and no one can purchase it, you can imagine a pretty nasty economic slide downward in a region.

Posted by: rpy1 | January 23, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

fOR ANYONE ON THIS SITE i HAVE OFFENED. It's not about you people. I'm just showing you why the gop propoganda is destroying america. Trying to recipracate in a small way. What is the differance between me and rush? Why should I get silenced and he should get rich? Not that I fight for my country for money. It's about sacrafice. Why is it only some americans have to sacrafice for freedom? While others rape pillage divide and conquer. What do they ever sacrafice? Why do this cult leaders still have a following?

"RUSH: By the way, ladies and gentlemen, I want to say to you and everybody else here in the audience that I talk about David Brooks not because he is influential, because he's not. That's the point. He's lost his influence. That's why they're upset. They're lashing out at people they think have robbed them of their influence. But I did it, I talk about Mr. Brooks -- who I've never met and I have no personal animus for, but I talk about Mr. Brooks -- because he is the vessel through which I choose to address the other liberals and pseudo-conservatives who wish the demise of conservatism as they promote McCain, purely and simply. A lot of people... I'm getting e-mail, "Rush, why are you talking about this guy? All you're doing is elevating him."
"

r

u

f

u

s

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 23, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Should an insurance company have the right to cancel a policy because it loses money?

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 04:33 PM

In my opinion? Absolutely. Otherwise it's some combination of an illegal taking and/or slavery, both of which have constitutional amendments banning them.

But why are they completely pulling out? Is there some reason that the insurance companies cannot raise premiums to the point where it would be profitable? I suspect that the government of Florida has some kind of cap in place on premiums.

(If so, there's a lesson to learn here: you interfere with the market, and the law of unintended consequences takes over...)

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

JD asks
"Somebody tell me again why it has to be the government who solves this problem?"

You'll have to ask Rudy.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

JD - this is actually a problem that private industry will not be able to solve in an economic fashion. When a hurricane or flood or fire or earthquake hits, a private company resorts to the remaining reinsurance market that has actually bought the insurance securities. this market has dwindled significantly in the past ten years after so many claims. this has the ability to wipe out an entire industry, one that is well-established in banking, real estate, retirement securities, etc.

by spreading the risk to the entire country it becomes manageable, although CA residents won't like paying for FL hurricanse and KS won't want to pay for CA fires.

My house on capitol hill was uninsurable under private insurers because it was within a terrorist zone. Despite this type of accident being excluded from coverage, only Lloyd's of London would issues a policy, and not for the full value.

If an attack actually happened and the property value went to zero, because of say a dirty bomb, guess what congress would do about it. same thing as NO. The modern world has created this risk in a greater proportion to any large risk we have ever had before and only the Federal government is capable of handling it.

finally one thing that actually is appropriate for the government and dontcha know all the kooky Libs are against it. go figure.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Jim, the difference is that those buildings are still intact! No rebuilding needed. It's much less expensive to replace the contents than it is to replace a building that was wiped out by a natural disaster. So again, if you want to build in a danger zone, build one that is designed to withstand that disaster as the medievals did!

In CA, we have building codes to help protect against earthquakes. Shouldn't there be building codes to protect against the hurricane winds if you're in those areas? You'd think that this would at least be a minimum. But hurricane after hurricane, you see roofs flying off.

I also spent years living in Southeast Asia where there is a typhoon season (tropical version of a hurricane). A poor country, yet most of the buildings hold up. It's only in the shantytowns where you have roofs flying off or houses being mowed down. You'd think the richest country in the world would do better.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

By the way, one building had the highwater marks from the bigger floods identified by year.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to pose a question: for those who believe in the free enterprise system and letting the market forces play out, how do you feel about insurance companies refusing to renew policies in Florida because of the multi-billion payouts they've had to make in recent years? The state of Florida has had no choice but to become an insurer, which is probably the reason Giuliani took this stance.

Should an insurance company have the right to cancel a policy because it loses money? This is a national discussion that is happening quietly. States are having discussions with insurance companies on this very topic because they don't want to be insurers. Insurance companies are arguing for hurricanes to be treated like earthquakes, i.e., requiring separate insurance riders, if they're to conduct business in these hurricane-prone states at all.

Jim, you might know better how many policies have been dropped in FL, but I remember reading that Allstate canceled approx. 250k.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Interesting discussion on FEMA vs some new federal flood/disaster insurance program.

While it makes sense to spread the risk out over as wide a population as possible, I, like others here, are wary of using some new gov bureaucracy to accomplish this.

Re-insurance is a huge industry, and I don't know about you, but when I got my current mortgage, it said I was 'outside the 500 yr flood plain', so presumably they take this into account... and Nationwide charges me accordingly.

Somebody tell me again why it has to be the government who solves this problem?

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

femalenick

I was in the charming little town of Passau, Germany in early November. The old section has many well preserved medieval buildings. It is at the confluence of the Danube and two other rivers. They periodically experience flooding. You can see the highwater marks above the ground floor of the buildings. It amazes me that people live like that generation after generation. Our guide, a well-educated semi-retired lady in her 60s, told us about her experiences as a little girl huddling in the second floor (European first floor) of her home as water came within foot or so of the upper floor. She was disappointed that her father wouldn't let her ride in the boat through the streets of town.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

"Why should the rest of the nation insure bad choices ??"

the voice of the liberal left. but you have to add caveats here. bad choices do not include getting pregnant, not buying health insurance, losing your job, not saving for retirement, abusing your body, not studying, not graduating, breaking laws, borrowing more than you can afford, spending more than you make, etc.....

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

"What I could never understand is how the people would continue rebuilding/repairing their homes when they knew that it would happen yet again."

No kidding. Certain rivers around here do the same thing. Inevitably, the media finds a long-time resident to comment "Why, they said this wouldn't be any worse than the flood of '92, but it beat even the flood of '65 - and the water was up to the windowsills that time."

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Jim - I agree with your last points. See, it is possible to be an HRC supporter and still agree with you, bsimon, and Mark on specific issues! :) The same thing can clearly be said for Claudia.

Outside of San Antonio is a small town called Seguin through which the Guadalupe River runs. During the 10 years I lived in Texas, the river would flood every so many years. What I could never understand is how the people would continue rebuilding/repairing their homes when they knew that it would happen yet again.

After Katrina (I think it was this one), there was a Florida coastal home featured in the NY Times that withstood the hurricane as it was designed specifically to do so. So the only caveat I would make is that if the houses are designed accordingly, I have no problem with developing in "danger zones," provided that the environment is protected as Claudia noted.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Wall Street pulled off a stunning comeback Wednesday, surging higher in late trading and wiping out what looked to be yet another precipitous decline.

first the war, now the economy, what will the griping Libs complain about to get elected now? what with minimum wage passed they have run out of issues.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing more pleasant than to watch Mayor 9/11 die a slow death.

Posted by: pbnyc59 | January 23, 2008 02:43 PM


Ladies and gentlemen, the voice of the American Left

Posted by: JD | January 23, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"Why should the rest of the nation insure bad choices in regard to building near the seashore or in a hurricane alley? Not even one bailout."

A good question. Its my magnanimous side. Some of the people living in such situations are not the super-rich, and can't afford to just writeoff their investment in a home and restart elsewhere. The effect is to grandfather them in, rather than changing the rules and saying 'screw you'. I am open to the idea of stepping down the payout over a long time frame, upon initiating the program - say 2% per year; Fed insurance might pay 100% of your property value if you get hit this year, 98% next year, etc.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"It wouldn't have occurred to me to ask taxpayers to subsidize my risk."

Because you are a moonbat. Flood insurance is a federally subsidized form of taxpayer handout.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@bsimon "That sounds like a suspiciously liberal, big-government solution to a local problem. I think Fed disaster insurance should pay to rebuild on any given site once and once only. How many times should Fed dollars replace homes built in floodplains or hurricane paths?"

Why should the rest of the nation insure bad choices in regard to building near the seashore or in a hurricane alley? Not even one bailout.

Posted by: JuicyJuice | January 23, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

And Jim, building in fragile coastal areas also damages natural barriers and creates a greater risk of flooding.

Posted by: drindl | January 23, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Let me add that I think that John McCain's position on the issue is correct. We need to strengthen FEMA to the efficient, well-run organization it was under Clinton, and help individuals struck by disaster rebuild ONCE, with the caveat that they will have to buy private insurance to cover the next loss, or move.

I had a house right on a river up in the Catskills for a time, and I paid quite a chunk for my flood insurance. It wouldn't have occurred to me to ask taxpayers to subsidize my risk.

Posted by: drindl | January 23, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

femalenick

I would support continued insurance coverage for people who live outside the danger zones. However, the development in fragile coastal areas has produced astronomical prices for these properties. Obviously, no lender would write mortgages for these properties without the safety net of federal disaster insurance. So if you want to talk about the government helping the rich get richer, look no further than these multi-million dollar seafront properties.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"In order to try to alleviate this burden, Giuliani spoke out early and forcefully in support of a national catastrophe fund '

rudy will pander to anyone about anything. why should I or any other taxpayer bail out someone who chooses to built or rebuild in a flood, fire, hurricane or other disaster zone? why should I pay for their poor judgement?

As I mentioned yesterday, a big part of the subprime mess is credit default swaps:

Pearlstein has a good piece today on that yesterday and today on the rate cut:

'After all, what got us into this mess in the first place was too much cheap credit that was used to buy houses, finance corporate takeovers and commercial real estate and speculate in commodities, driving up the price of said houses, takeover targets, office buildings and commodities to levels unsupported by the economic fundamentals.

Now the bubble has burst and the prices of those assets are beginning to fall back to more reasonable levels. Why would anyone want to interrupt that process by bringing back the cheap credit?

The short and oversimplified answer can be summed up in three words: the Great Depression. For that was very much the attitude of the Federal Reserve and other central banks after the stock market crash of 1929.'

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/22/AR2008012203065.html

And Samuelson does too, although strangely, none of this stuff ever bothered him before:

'Amid the mayhem on world financial markets, it is becoming clear that capitalism's most dangerous enemies are capitalists. No one can have watched the "subprime mortgage" debacle without noticing the absurd contrast between the magnitude of the failure and the lavish rewards heaped on those who presided over it. At Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, large losses on subprime securities cost chief executives their jobs -- and they left with multimillion-dollar pay packages. Stanley O'Neal, the ex-head of Merrill, received an estimated $161 million.

Everyday Americans will conclude (rightly) that this brand of capitalism is rigged in favor of the privileged few. It will be said in their defense that these packages reflected years of service, often highly successful. So? It's not as if these CEOs weren't compensated in all those years. If you leave your company a shambles -- with losses to be absorbed by lower-level employees, some of whom will be fired, and shareholders -- do you deserve a gold-plated send-off? Still, the more serious problem transcends the high pay itself and goes to the wider consequences for the economy.

Wall Street's pay practices perversely encourage extreme risk-taking that can destabilize the economy. Subprime mortgage losses may simply be chapter one. Now there are signs of problems involving securities known as "credit default swaps."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/22/AR2008012202615.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Posted by: drindl | January 23, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

jimd: all things to all people is the Willard Mittens Romney approach to life.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 23, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Mark, bsimon, and jimd52 -- my Republican roots come into play on issues like federal disaster insurance. Though I wouldn't quite go so far as demanding that they rebuild elsewhere, I'm with Mark on a 1-time bailout when it comes to hurricane disaster relief for individuals.

We in CA have to buy earthquake insurance, and it's expensive as hell. Why shouldn't people who live in the pathways of hurricanes have to do the same? If you can't afford it, then I say move!

John McCain is right about no new agency being needed, what with FEMA already in place. Seems to me like pandering by Rudy.

Posted by: femalenick | January 23, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

the continued void of the Dem congress - we tried, we failed. How clintonesque. Time for another failed vote to lose the war I presume.

"or the second time in three months, the House failed Wednesday to override President Bush's veto of a bill that would greatly increase spending on a popular children's health insurance program."

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Weston, Fla. - In December 2002, Ariel Dunaevschi, then the owner of a furniture business in Caracas, Venezuela, was on vacation in New York with his family when opponents of President Hugo Chávez called a crippling labor strike hoping to bring the government to its knees. (Snip) The Dunaevschis are part of a wave of Venezuelans, mostly from the middle and upper classes, who have fled to the United States as Mr. Chávez has tightened his grip on the country's political institutions, imposing his socialist vision and threatening to assert greater state control...


Meanwhile hollywood Liberals and Joe Kennedy flock to kiss his feet. Can we arrange a permanant trade?

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

ooops

the last part of the last sentence on my previous post should read "although I would bet it is in mailings to targeted groups?

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I've been watching the TV ads and I have heard Romney on POTUS-08, he is talking like the pragmatic, problem solving business man turned governor he was in a previous incarnation. The hard core social conservative rhetoric is nowhere to be seen - although I would be it is in mailings to targeted groups.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that this topic is too complex for your bumper sticker analysis.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The proposal is considered a "big government fix" and Giuliani cannot afford to go hog-wild in favor of it when he is already on thin ice with conservatives (even if he believes in it). It's only logical he won't lead with this proposal as a platform- Mr. 9/11 is actually kind of gutless and always was. Without a little more audacity, his campaign is without hope.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | January 23, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Now he knows how the rest of us feel.

The Illinois Senator is still a young man, but not so young as to have missed the 1990s. He nonetheless seems to be awakening slowly to what everyone else already knows about the Clintons, which is that they will say and do whatever they "gotta" say or do to win. Listen closely to Mr. Obama, and you can almost hear the echoes of Bob Dole at the end of the 1996 campaign asking, "Where's the outrage?"

This has been the core of the conservative critique of the Clintons for years. So it is illuminating to hear the same critique coming from Mr. Obama and his supporters now that his candidacy poses a threat to the return of the Clinton dynasty. Even Democrats are now admitting the Clintons don't tell the truth -- at least until Mrs. Clinton wins the nomination.


Mr. Obama's two examples are instructive because they are so wonderfully Clintonian. On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Mr. Clinton attacked Mr. Obama's claims of having opposed the Iraq war all along as a "fairy tale." This is a tough charge coming from a two-term Democratic President in a Democratic primary, and it probably helped turn some voters against Mr. Obama.

But it was also a classic distortion intended to turn voter attention away from his wife's own Iraq fairy tale. She's the candidate who voted for the war and backed it for years before she decided she had to be sort of against it, only to later become really against it, and now to favor a withdrawal starting in 60 days. We think Mr. Obama is dangerously wrong about Iraq, but compared to Mrs. Clinton he's a model of consistency.

Some in the press corps argue that Mr. Clinton's attacks are hurting his wife. But if they were, he'd stop. His behavior is part of the familiar Clinton playbook of letting others do the dirty work so the candidate can stay above the fray. Hillary and other surrogates took on the task of saving her husband from his lies under oath by inventing the specter of the "vast right-wing conspiracy," calling Paula Jones trailer trash, and portraying the widely respected Ken Starr as a rabid partisan.

Now Bill is returning the favor by attacking Mr. Obama


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120104819435508233.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries


Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"that sounds like a brilliant way to raze the property values"

Huh? Are you saying the free market isn't offering them insurance? Perhaps if the land is uninsurable at its current values, those values are artificially high. Or are you saying the gov't should step in and artificially influence the market?

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

mark

I agree on the one-time bail out, a good part of the reason for the catastrophic results from hurricanes is the over-development of environmentally fragile coastal areas - especially on barrier islands.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

bsimon

I don't think Rudy wears well, the longer he has been in Florida the lower his poll standing goes

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

simple simon - that sounds like a brilliant way to raze the property values in FL, CA, LA, TX, KS, MS, etc.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"Mitt Romney was more on the fence about the matter"

Kind of surprising actually based on his history of supporting what is convenient at the time . . . He told people in Michigan what they wanted to hear and he won. You'd think he would just tell the people of FL what they want to hear too.

You've got to admire McCain, for sticking to his beliefs. It will helpl him in the general election if he makes it. If McCain can convince voters that FEMA will be managed competently, then I think FL voters will overlook this difference.

Posted by: HokiePaul | January 23, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, fed disaster insurance should pay once only per recipient, conditioned on moving out of the floodplain or wetlands [New Orleans] and where there is hurricane coverage should be permitted to offer conditional relief on the same basis if the likelihood of a repeat strike is too high for a private insurer to cover.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 23, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

classic clintonism:

"Well, I voted for it, but I hoped it didn't pass."

the bankruptcy bill

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"In order to try to alleviate this burden, Giuliani spoke out early and forcefully in support of a national catastrophe fund ... that would allow Floridians to enter a national insurance pool to better spread out the risk that insurers incur in providing coverage."

That sounds like a suspiciously liberal, big-government solution to a local problem. I think Fed disaster insurance should pay to rebuild on any given site once and once only. How many times should Fed dollars replace homes built in floodplains or hurricane paths?

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is the only candidate who attended the MLK
memorial in Atlanta. He got over 45% of the African
American vote in Arkansas and he got
the endorsement of many of the clergy at the King
event. He also was invited to sit with the King
family. Any of the other R candidates would be getting
kudos through the roof for this, but the corporate
media only compliment candidates who they OWN.

Mike Huckabee was a Republican Governor who inherited
a deficit and left a
surplus. He also took Arkansas from 48th to 8th in
education. Huckabee is the REAL Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington. 'Read All About It!'
mikehuckabee.com

Posted by: ChipShirley | January 23, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Seems like if Rudy is imitating anyone, its Fred. I'm starting to wonder if he really wants the job.

Posted by: bsimon | January 23, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

zouk

I guess you think everyone to the left of Jesse Helms is a liberal

The Florida surveys are all over the place but the recent ones all contain bad news for Rudy. I am a registered Republican and will be voting in the Florida primary for McCain.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I seem to remember a poll a while back that said McCain was dead and gone. then another that said Huck was on top everywhere. then there was that one that proclaimed Obama the winner in NH.

how about we see what the actual voters have to say before we "get three coffins ready". I know you Libs have very short attention spans, but you only have to wait until next tuesday night to find out that the rumors of Rudy's death were all hope and no reality - sort of like Obama's campaign. you Libs seem to like that sort of thing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

so rudy won't pull a "clinton" and go all ugly

you could say pull a bush and go all ugly - his campaigns are at least as ugly as clinton's

see South Carolina, 2000

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

so rudy won't pull a "clinton" and go all ugly. and for that the Myasmic stream media is dissappointed. who can out-clinton a clinton. there is nothing uglier.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I saw a poll the other day that had McCain pulling away and Rudy was fighting with Huckabee for third place.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 23, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - Global warming could reduce how many hurricanes hit the United States, according to a new federal study that clashes with other research.

goracle, is global warming good? I thought it was "settled".

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jan/23/na-study-links-global-warming-to-fewer-hurricane-l/?news-nationworld

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 23, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing more pleasant than to watch Mayor 9/11 die a slow death.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | January 23, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rudy? What's the point? Why are you leaving out mike gravel? they are in the same boat. if you going to talk about one end of the irrelevant spectrum, talk about the other end of the irrelevant political spectrum

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 23, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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