30 September 2008

There's been a talking point for McCain supporters for about two weeks that has led to a commercial, saying that McCain had warned about Fannie Mae in 2005. That's factually true. What isn't true, which McCain and other right-wing pundits have attempted to claim, is that the bill in question, the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act, was squashed by Democrats. Just with the info you have now, you see it doesn't make sense: Democrats won the Senate majority and committee chairmanships in 2006. Republican Richard Shelby was the chair of the Banking Committee where the legislation gathered dust. The MSM hasn't picked up the story and scrutinized it so the reportage has been left to McCain propagandists.

The bill was authored by Chuck Hagel who was on the Banking Committee along with co-sponsor Elizabeth Dole. Hagel and McCain, who wasn't on Banking, had a working relationship which may be frayed by the Iraq War and Chuck no doubt contacted McCain about a co-sponsorship, which McCain obliged to do, and afterwards he released a statement in support of it. At that time, Fannie and Freddy were run by Republican appointees as were the Senate committees.

It's one thing to use this published statement of 2005 in support of McCain, but for McCain to blame the Democrats for squashing Hagel's bill is dishonest and indicative of the lack of accountability that caused all these problems, right up to the ridiculously one-sided blank check that Paulson publicized and tried to ram through Congress this month.

Note: Of the many problems the events of the week have caused McCain, a notable one is the grassroots fervor of the bailout opposition which will drive conservative Republicans to vote for Bob Barr in Virginia, North Carolina, and possibly Indiana, Ohio, and Colorado. Nader has focused on adding transparency to the bill and so far can't be accused of opportunism over this issue.