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John McCain -- the Paul Revere of the Fannie/Freddie Disaster

A Townhall reader suggested the title of this post when commenting on my column today about John McCain finally going on offense on the issue of the economy. In it I discuss the ammunition McCain has to work with since several years ago he warned of exactly what eventually ended up happening. Not only is the McCain campaign doing what they can to get the facts about there about where McCain and Obama were on the issue several years ago in McCain's recent speeches, but they are getting some ads out there on the topic as well. Here is the latest titled "Jim Johnson."

The media would have already made the name Jim Johnson as famous as Ken Lay's had his connection been to John McCain rather than Barack Obama. They are not going to inform the voters. McCain will have to and I am glad to see he is attempting to do just that.

Update: Not all the media is giving Obama a pass. From the Washington Post:

TO LISTEN to Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain is a Johnny-come-lately to the cause of regulating financial markets. "He has consistently opposed the sorts of common-sense regulations that might have lessened the current crisis," Mr. Obama said in New Mexico yesterday. "When I was warning about the danger ahead on Wall Street months ago because of the lack of oversight, Senator McCain was telling the Wall Street Journal -- and I quote -- 'I'm always for less regulation.' "

But the full quotation from Mr. McCain's March interview with the Journal's editorial board belies Mr. Obama's one-sided rendition. The Republican candidate went on to say, "But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight. I think we found this in the subprime lending crisis -- that there are people that game the system and if not outright broke the law, they certainly engaged in unethical conduct which made this problem worse. So I do believe that there is role for oversight."
...
In 2006, he pushed for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- while Mr. Obama was notably silent. "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole," Mr. McCain warned at the time.

One element of the Obama campaign's brief against Mr. McCain is that he supported repeal of the law separating commercial banks from investment banks. "He's spent decades in Washington supporting financial institutions instead of their customers," Mr. Obama said yesterday. "Phil Gramm, one of the architects of the deregulation in Washington that led directly to this mess on Wall Street, is also the architect of John McCain's economic plan." Would it be churlish to point out that another author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law is former congressman Jim Leach, a founder of Republicans for Obama? Or that Obama advisers Lawrence H. Summers and Robert E. Rubin supported the repeal -- which was signed by President Bill Clinton?


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Comments (43)

John McCain -- the Paul ... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

John McCain -- the Paul Revere of the Fannie/Freddie Disaster

How dumb do you think people are?

Depends on the person. You?... (Below threshold)

Depends on the person. You? Pretty dumb.

You might go back and look at John McCain's 2005 speech denouncing exactly the practices at FNMA and Freddie Mac that caused the meltdown.

gee, wbgonne, how dumb ARE ... (Below threshold)

gee, wbgonne, how dumb ARE you?

Reality: McCain DID try to get Congress to take action on this TWO YEARS AGO...but the Dem Congress refused!

Reality: Obama IS up to his eyeballs in Fannie Mae money and assocations.

Reality: the MSM will NOT cover this side of the story because it doesn't fit their pre-conceived notion of the story!

that caused the meltdown... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

that caused the meltdown

What caused the meltdown was a system of greedy, unbridled, unprincipled, unregulated capitalism. Which has been visited upon the nation by the Republican party. Of which John McCain is a proud member.

John McCain's 2005 speech

A speech? He gave a speech!? 26 years in Congress, Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, and this is what you got? Sheesh.

the MSM will NOT cover t... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

the MSM will NOT cover this side of the story because it doesn't fit their pre-conceived notion of the story!

I'll ask again: When did Republicans become such whiners?

wbgonne - If you have read ... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

wbgonne - If you have read anything on this topic you also know that McCain sponsored legislation with three other Republicans on the issue, but it was defeated by congressional Democrats. So you either know that and are trying to fool people into thinking all he did was give a speech, or you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

I'm not the one who ... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:


I'm not the one who called him Paul Revere. A bit over the top, no?

Did he try to alert people ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Did he try to alert people to the coming meltdown?

Yes or no?

wbgonne, McCain was cospons... (Below threshold)

wbgonne, McCain was cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005.

When announcing his CO-SPONSORSHIP of this bill he said the following:
"If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole."

Obama? Obama RAN to the microphones to shout "THE SKY IS FALLING!!" the other day. Today?? Today he said this:
"Given the gravity of this situation, and based on conversations I have had with both Secretary Paulson and Chairman Bernanke, I have asked my economic team to refrain from presenting a more detailed blue-print of how an immediate plan might be structured"

Tanslation (for those that don't speak fluent Obama): Obama will scream FIRE!!!, but won't pick up a bucket of water to throw on it!

Courage?

"I'm not the one who called... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

"I'm not the one who called him Paul Revere. A bit over the top, no?"

Not at all. He sounded the alarm loud and clear in no uncertain terms as you would have known had you bothered to read a bit before making your comments about him only giving a speech on the subject. THAT would be Obama -- only giving the speech, and he did it AFTER the fact, not three years before.

WB:"another... (Below threshold)
Larry:


WB:

"another author of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley law is former congressman Jim Leach, a founder of Republicans for Obama? Or that Obama advisers Lawrence H. Summers and Robert E. Rubin supported the repeal -- which was signed by President Bill Clinton?"

Didn't you read that?

And how about Clinton's changes in the Community Reinvestment act of 1997 that MANDATED bad loans.

"How dumb do you think people are?"

Well, I dunno if you are dumb. Can you speak out loud? I do think you are naive about your candidate and that you think in black and white; Republicans are evil and Democrats are saints. Just remember, ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever.


Yes or no?Y... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

Yes or no?

Yes or no? 26 years in Washington. Chair of the Commerce Committee. A career dedicated to deregulation. Yes or no? That ain't how it works, boyo. You been watching too much Rush O'Reilly Hannity.

Republicans are evil and De... (Below threshold)
wbgonne:

Republicans are evil and Democrats are saints

Not what I believe, my friend. I am an independent. In fact, I voted for Bush the first time, my to my regret. Republicans have good ideas (though unfortunately, they are mostly exhausted at the moment). Democrats have some good ideas. Both parties have bad ideas.

wbgonne -You're ab... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

wbgonne -

You're about as much of an independent as Kos.

wbgonne,We can give ... (Below threshold)

wbgonne,
We can give you the facts, we cannot understand them for you.

1. John McCain tried to stem the tide of abuses by members of Obama's advisor team while they were in tenure at the Fannie Mae, the locus for this economic crisis.

2. McCain was prescient. Just like with the surge, lawmakers should have listened to him. (Lorie, the Paul Revere tag is excellent!)

3. Obama had 126,349 reasons for not intervening to prevent this crisis - all of them in dollars donated to him by Fannie Mae; he was the second highest recipient (Democrat Chris Dodd, Chrm of the Banking Committee is no. 1). So you're right about the greed, just wrong about who the greedy are.

You been readin' too much Kos.

WB:#13 is a post I... (Below threshold)
Larry:

WB:

#13 is a post I can agree with. Thank you.

Right now Congress is hostage on both sides by leadership whose ideas are outdated and in large part discredited.

The Republicans need to return to small government and lower spending and the Democrats need to get rid of the nutcase fringe bunch who controls how they think and start worrying about the working class like they used to do.

Just for the record, I think Obama has allied himself to the nutcase fringe bunch and that McCain wants a return to core values. I am sure you would disagree and that is perfectly all right with me.

I think we are ignoring the... (Below threshold)
Burt:

I think we are ignoring the real culprit in the financial meltdown. Somewhere in this fiasco are the fingerprints of George Soros and Moveon.org. He is, after all, the man who brought down the bank of England. Now he is going after the US Federal Reserve and the World Bank for fun and profit. And don't they boast of owning the Democratic party?

Nice evasion, by the way. ... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Nice evasion, by the way. So - did McCain alert people to the meltdown or not? I realize your wrist is getting tired with all the handwaving you do to distract from the topic, so you can keep your answer short.

Did he try to alert people to the meltdown?

Yes or no?

McCain sounded the warning,... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

McCain sounded the warning, and GW sounded the warning even before that. Obama benefited from the status quo.

WB, you are as independent in politics as Al Gore is. ww

Obama may have warned about... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Obama may have warned about the economy months ago, but his only real proposal at that time was a tax cut for the "middle class". And we all know that "tax cut" only means giving back a small amount of what we have already paid. All this talk of tax cuts that we have now is horsesh*t.

You're about as mu... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
You're about as much of an independent as Kos.

Yes, I laughed almost audibly at the proclamation. A "Kos Independent" with the same style and presentation.

Anyway, McCain has never been my first choice, but next to Obama, he is the only choice.

I knew Paul Revere. I serve... (Below threshold)

I knew Paul Revere. I served with Paul Revere. Paul Revere was a friend of mine.

John McCain is no Paul Revere.

People LISTENED to Paul Revere.

A better comparison might be Cassandra. Blessed with the gift of prophesy, cursed that no one would believe her.

J.

I keep hearing, "McCain ... (Below threshold)

I keep hearing, "McCain was 'gung-ho' for deregulation and is now a hypocrite for wanting regulation!"

Forgive me, but why is it flip-flopping or hypocritical to advocate for easing over-burdensome regulations on private industry while advocating for regulation on government sponsored entities in which 'regulation' is a foreign word?

It's not like he fought to deregulate Fannie and Freddie. In fact, it was the other way around.

Regulation is like change. ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Regulation is like change. Some are good others are not. Typical method of liberals who try to be slick, they use McCain being against bad regulations as proof that he is against all regulations. When it suites their purpose they will say McCain is for all regulations since he has voted for some.

A regulation forcing companies (Fannie and Freddie) to take on bad loans is a bad regulation. A regulation to require company selling stocks short (AIG) to actually buy the stocks within short time is a good regulation.

Yeah, but look at the page ... (Below threshold)
John Hansen:

Yeah, but look at the page number.

--Friday, September 19, 2008; A18

This should be front page news. If they feel they don't want to really report it, they bury it.

With millioons seeing their... (Below threshold)
Thomas Jackson:

With millioons seeing their real estate investments devalued, their investments destroyed, their pension hopes smashed, its time to punish the architects and builders of this affirmative action housing plan disaster.

While both parties bear guilt, there is no doubt that the dhimmierats expanded the role of the US government when Andrew Cuomo as sec. of HEW approved subprime mortgages. This was designed to be a bomb and all the dhimmies (led by Barney Frank) knew it was a timebomb.

This will not cost 50 billion to resolve as we have been told, nor even 500 billion but probably closer to two trillion dollars.

We see the government ramping up the printing presses so inflation is coming, in a way that will make the 70s seem tame. It will deprive those under 30 of the ability to obtain a desecnt way of life or a home. It will discorage investment and stifle the economy. Worse as more debt is incurred our credit ratings will go down increasing interest rates.

All because of the stupidity of the Leftists. Bush tried for three years to reign in Fannie May and Freddie Mac but was stopped by the dhimmies. Why do you think that Fannie May and Freddie may contributed so much to Obama, Biden and the rest? Why do you find the dhimmie3s leading these institutions? Why have the financial firms donated so heavily to the dhimmicrats?

Raines, Johnson and all the rest should be tried for fraud and then sent to the slammer until they can repay every American. This goes for Pelosi, Barney Frank and Reid.

Americans need to punish these thieves, whether they be dhimmies or the GOP. Vote the bastards out.

And those who don't believe it
just vote for Obama. It'll be great to watch your children curse you.

"A better comparison mi... (Below threshold)
marc:

"A better comparison might be Cassandra. Blessed with the gift of prophesy, cursed that no one would believe her."

I knew Cassandra. I believe I first heard the phrase "drill now" from her.

Oops... wrong Cassandra. Sorry!

I have one question If you ... (Below threshold)
Hope:

I have one question If you or I had done the pathetic job that the Republicans have done in office would we still be employed. NQ! Hell no! John McCain is part of the Republican Party/Bush BS machine that has destroyed the economic backbone, and repetation of this country worldwide. Fire the republicans!!!!!!!!!they have earned it, damn sure deserve it! I personally would like to give all the bas....a pink slip!

I have one question If you ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

I have one question If you or I had done the pathetic job that the Democrats have done in office would we still be employed. NQ! Hell no!

Interesting did McCain forg... (Below threshold)

Interesting did McCain forget about the Keating 5? Saving and Loan Corruption Scandal. Collapse of the Savings and Loans. Did that just slip has mind? Hypocrite! Read and Enjoy!
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The five senators, Alan Cranston (D-CA), Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ), John Glenn (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), and Donald W. Riegle (D-MI), were accused of improperly aiding Charles H. Keating, Jr., chairman of the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which was the target of an investigation by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB).

After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB in its investigation of Lincoln Savings. Senators John Glenn and John McCain were cleared of having acted improperly but were criticized for having exercised "poor judgment".

How does McCain get the nerve? or does he think Anericans are this stupid. Palin makes my skin crawl.

Sorry to inform you all.<br... (Below threshold)
Wonka:

Sorry to inform you all.
McCain was just jumping on Ralph Nader's shirt-tails, and 4 years late at that.
Macain and Obama both just spout out whetever they think will appease (read: make their campain fund grow) their supporters when it's convenient.

Nader warned Fannie/Freddie could collapse in just this fashion in 2000. ('several' years before McCain.)
That being said, 'I told you so' helps exactly no one right now.

http://www.thenation.com/blogs/jstreet/361063

And before you zombie-like quote 'a vote for Nader is a vote for McCain', just ask yourself how many Dems did not go out and vote or even register in past elections. Answer: far, far more than ever voted independent.

"Senators John Glenn and Jo... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

"Senators John Glenn and John McCain were cleared of having acted improperly"

What part of that do you not understand or are you one of those who think quilt or innocence is not important only that a Republican has been accuse of something?

Hm...interesting a Republic... (Below threshold)
Hope:

Hm...interesting a Republican administration ( is this more specific) have run this country into ruins. A Republican administration has been running this country for the last eight years!! ( or has anyone lived under a rock) No other time since the great depression have this country seen the likes of this. Again would you or I still be employed if we had done such a pathetic job. McCaiin voted over 90% in favor with the Republican Bush/BS machine this is a fact. Ok fine you still like McCain but what about Palin? what the hell was that! Oh joy I can sleep at night knowing she is one heart beat from the Presidency. Give me Biden!!!! any day of week as the Vp. You see I liked McCain had great respect for the man, but what h...is this! He said the economically is fundamentally strong? what!. I give the man credit he said what he meant. Opps! The Republican War machine has not put the country first! We are in financial trouble! I do not have time to argue about what is fact! I am taking my vote to Obama/Biden. I can not and will not accept anything remotely to the last eight years Obama/Biden is the only intelligent choice. Oh joy to think all I ever wanted for Xmas is Palin clueless(idiot) as commander and chief. You tell me what other choice is there! The brave men and women of the armed forces deserve better than Palin. We have McCain to thank for this!

My point (keaten 5) McCain ... (Below threshold)
Charity:

My point (keaten 5) McCain has been involved financial institutional corruption scandel. He was cleared I am not trying to dispute that. Didn't you see I included all the facts. But to accuse others as if he has never come into question is hypocritical. Dang it I am tired of the mud slinging from both sides!!!!!!!! . Just the issues , and how are they going to fix it. That's all I want! Both parties are going to have to work together! in the whitehouse. McCain weakest point is the economy and I personally would like to get back to work!health insurance, food, gas, and a decent place to live. I have a college degree that is four years old collecting dust! Is this so wrong! Tax cuts to a company that gave my job to a company overseas. It was more profitable I was told!

Charity,Thus far, ... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Charity,

Thus far, only McCain is offering substantive ideas on the current financial crisis.

So far, Obama has only voted 'present'. He has not taken a position for or against any of the actions suggested so far in dealing with the situation. That is NOT leadership.

"But to accuse others as if... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

"But to accuse others as if he has never come into question is hypocritical."

He was accuse and was cleared. If he was caught in a corruption then he would be a hypocrite. Everyone but the most partisan on the left admits that McCain should never have been accused and it was done for political reasons. If you can't understand that there is a big difference from being involved in a scandal and someone falsely accusing you of being involved, then there is not much help for you.

McCain has spent mos... (Below threshold)
Wayne:


McCain has spent most of his political career fighting corruption and undue influence. To say he shouldn't be talking about corruption is asinine.

Ok, here's what you do not ... (Below threshold)

Ok, here's what you do not know. I am not a McCain hater! I do not support the Republican plateform that historically lends itself to the rich!. I do not support bad government programs or even worst no intervention of good programs that makes the American dream not possible for everyone. I am an American who has a disability and I was able to prosper under Bill Clinton ( Democrates) there were good government programs that enabled me to get the training I needed and be independent. I was able to get a good job finish school, and not get my college degree. Even better have hope, and not be on welfare and minium wage jobs. Well under the Republican Administration the last eight years has been hell! So until you have been discriminated against pass over denied any government job assistance I hate! hate! hate! the check I get every month! You have no idea what it is like. I don't have a house full of kids just me and my poodle mix, and it is still hell! Health care expense is impossible! I need a President and Party who understands that all Americans deserve a chance at the American dream. By trade I was an engineer trained under the Bill Clinton Administration. Bush Policies layoffs government job training programs slashed! Every time I hear McCain less government spending that means lack of opportunity for the thousand of people who need their medicine even more importantly medical supplies. Jobs are so scarce no one hires someone who they cant work the hell out of becuase they have a disability. I know this for a fact. So it's personal for me! I am just one of these people who just want to bitch about McCain! He's not going to help American like me get back to work!

Haha. Hope and Charity. T... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Haha. Hope and Charity. The Trollies are out tonight, and still without Faith.

Sorry about the language. A... (Below threshold)

Sorry about the language. As I was saying I am not one of these people who just want to complain about McCain I am terrified of four more years of this. I just don't think I can go four more years of this out with the Republicans. Palin now that is scary!

Oh, charity. "He was accuse... (Below threshold)

Oh, charity. "He was accused and acquitted! That's almost just the same as guilty!" Shall we apply the same standard to, say, Bill Clinton?

Here's an alternate explanation, charity, one that has the advantage of being congruent with known facts:

McCain saw just how close corruption in the financial field came to killing his political career. Warned by his close call, he decided he better know a bit more about the subject. As a consequence, he saw how Fannie, Freddie, and the like were spreading around their money and other warning signs of trouble, and saw the current crisis looming years ago. He tried to do something about it, but was unable to convince enough of his colleagues in Congress (the opposition was headed up by the likes of Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank) to do something -- the opposition managed to hold enough votes (Democrats and the occasional Republican) to keep McCain's bills from getting the supermajority needed for passage.

Is that how it happened? I dunno. But it fits the available facts pretty well. And it avoids your hysteria.

J.

Why is it so hard for peopl... (Below threshold)
Eric:

Why is it so hard for people to remember that there are THREE branches of the Federal Government? The Legislative Branch has been controlled by the Democrats for the last 2 years. This banking failure occurred not just on the watch of a Republican President but on the watch of a Democrat Congress.

Jay, good point! I do agree... (Below threshold)

Jay, good point! I do agree that both democrates and republicans are to blame for this disaster. But at the end of the day we have a Republican plateform in the whitehouse with idealogies consistant with Republican form of government. But I am not so sure that McCain can clean up Washington without having to throw key members of this own party under the bus! Is this a realistic expectation? If so then he will spend a majority of his time in the oval office raising hell, and not getting enough done. Making promising out of anger that he can't enforce. Example he stated that as President he would fire the SEC chairman Cox. The President does not have the authority to fire the SEC chairman. Question? or will he cave for ( example ) choosing Palin over Liberman. Liberman was his choice but caved to pressure. Clearly Palin is a horrific choice for this country. Commander and Chief I think not! This type of knee jerk decision making is unacceptable and we all know it. John McCain was forth coming when he admitted in a previous interview he doesn't know much about the economy. Earlier this week he stated the "economy is fundamentally strong" Dear God words from the mouth of Bush! I literally choked! Instead of Palin Hm.. is Romney still in town? I was looking so forward Romney taken on Biden! what a match!. Instead we are stuck with an incompetent idiot in a skirt. One more POW story ( God Bless him and forever grateful for his service) will not fix this problem, New ideas, rational thinking, sound judgement. I'll take a large order to go!!!!!!!!!




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