September 17, 2008

Two Failing Grades

ThreeSources has taken a couple of whacks at Senator McCain for his poor response to the current ECWTASTGD (Economic Crisis Worse Than Anything Since The Great Depression). While it's deserved, I want to pass out two failing grades and suggest that Senator McCain might still be a better choice.

The requested Mac-a-Whack goes to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page. His reflexive populism is bad politics and bad economics. After "getting in Obama's head" with his choice of Governor Palin, he allows Senator O inside his cranium:

We'll leave it to the debates to elicit just what each Senator regards as the "economic fundamentals" in a $13 trillion economy, but for our money the notable thing about the exchange was how fast John McCain let his opponent's sarcasm push him off message, such as it is.

One whiff from Barack Obama about "the mountain in Sedona where he lives," and by day's end Senator McCain was ranting about "corruption" and how he was going to "reform the way that Wall Street does business." Yesterday Senator McCain's inner populist had cooled enough to admit the existence of "honest people on Wall Street," but it still sounded as if this week's version of the McCain Presidency would be more about restructuring private financial markets he doesn't understand than fixing the Washington he knows.

To discuss Senator Obama's reaction, I'll yield the floor to Obama supporter Megan McArdle. She calls his reaction "high test hooey" and questions his reflexive blaming of President Bush:
What, specifically, should the Bush administration have done, Senator? Don't tell me they should have beefed up SEC enforcement, since this is not a criminal problem (aside from minor lies by Bear execs after the damage was already done). Perhaps he should not have reappointed Greenspan, or appointed Ben Bernanke? Both moves were widely hailed at the time. Moreover, to believe that a Democrat could have done better is to assert that a Democratic president would have found a Fed chair who would pay less attention to unemployment, or a bank regulator who would have tried harder to prevent low-income people from buying homes. Where is this noble creature? And why didn't Barack Obama push for him at the time?

Indeed, I ask the Senator to name one significant thing that Bush has done to create this crisis that couldn't also be laid at the feet of St. William of Little Rock. If Democratic policy is so good at protecting the little guy from asset price bubbles, how come the stock market crashed in 2000?

This kind of foolish grandstanding is not the change we need. It's just more of the same.

UPDATE: Michael Shear has a bylined WaPo editorial that smartly asks why McCain is embracing regulation "after many years of opposition. And there's video of the "greed" comments. Ouch.

2008 Posted by John Kranz at September 17, 2008 11:14 AM

Inquiring Refugees want to know: at what point does the profit motive become greed? Where is the bright line between the two?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 18, 2008 12:19 AM | What do you think? [1]