Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

McCain Misfires

John McCain has just demonstrated his vulnerability as a presidential candidate. Speaking from prepared remarks at an Iowa rally today, he said that he would fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This outburst demonstrates McCain’s ignorance, his impetuousness and his vindictive streak. Not bad for one remark.

McCain blames Cox for creating open season for “short sellers,” speculators who bet that a stock may go down. It’s true that short sellers helped to sink financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, and that they are now attacking the stock prices of the two remaining big investment banks, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. It is also true that last year Cox made short selling easier. But McCain’s threat to fire the SEC chairman is still outrageous.

The most basic reason is that a presidential candidate should not go about publicly pressuring the chairman of a regulatory agency. Government agencies are supposed to be professional and technocratic. They are not supposed to be political footballs. The more politicians brow-beat agency bosses, the less their technocratic decisions will be respected. McCain is damaging the machinery of government, dragging it into the mire of partisan discord. This is not consistent with his image as a good-government crusader.

Next, McCain’s comment is outrageous because his view of short sellers is crass. Betting that a stock will go down is just as legitimate a way to make money as betting that it will go up. Short sellers help to deflate bubbles before they get too much air in them. They dig into the books of companies and frequently are the first to blow the whistle on fraud. In normal times, at least, short sellers help markets to price stocks as they should be priced, thereby promoting the allocation of scarce capital to the firms that use it best. When Cox abolished a roadblock in the way of short sellers last year, he was doing the right thing.

Now, these are not normal times, not by a long shot. Given this week’s convulsions in the markets, there is some justification for throwing sand in the gears of short sellers. When markets are stable, it’s healthy to have shorts digging up dirt on companies and humbling a few of them; when markets are panicking, it’s too easy for shortsellers to set off a stampede that mows decent banks down. And so, even before McCain’s outburst, Cox had moved to dampen shortselling. But McCain is evidently unwilling to give him credit for that.

McCain is a loner rather than a team player. He is a political brawler rather than a manager. The financial turmoil is raising questions about how he’d perform in a crisis.

By Sebastian Mallaby  | September 18, 2008; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Mallaby  | Tags:  Sebastian Mallaby  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Debate Foreshadows the Debates
Next: All About Sarah, Scene 2


I have always enjoyed your excellent columns. However, in this I disagree. As a horrified taxpayer, I would welcome some strong-tempered Senator to fire some of the greedy no-limits Wall Street executives who feel they are above the law and cavalierly play God with the money entrusted to their stewardship. When they fail, they suffer nothing except a bailout by the people they cheated. Prision is too good for them, but none. will be emprisioned. They will, more likely, get golden parachutes and will go around lecturing on business practices. It stinks.

Posted by: zaney8 | September 18, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Bluster - the central idea of modern conservatism. It always win the approval of the under-educated and unknowing. So cries like "Axis of Evil", "Fire the SEC chairman", "drill baby drill" etc. usually end up making matters worse.

McCain is way out of his league and he quite simply lacks the conceptual tools and sophistication to deal with the present financial crisis.

Posted by: Anonoman | September 18, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Good post- the SEC should be above partisan politics, but much like the Justice Department, the Federal Elections Commission and too many others in the past eight years, the Republicans cannot leave well enough alone. They must find scapegoats in the government and look for ways to weaken, subvert or abolish them.
In this particular case, it demonstrates McCain's profound lack of understanding about the role of a government agency in tending to our nation's financial health. Cox (from Mallaby's post) is doing his job; McCain is looking for targets upon which to vent his considerable (trumped up) outrage, so he goes after Cox.
Does anyone think this is a rational governing strategy?
Yeah, McCain is a loner and a brawler-- so what makes anyone think he has the judgment and temperament to lead this country, especially in such bad times?
Not me.

Posted by: DB | September 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

If that offended you, you must have loved the rest of the speech. I had to guffaw out loud when McCain thundered that Obama was "part of the problem in Washington!" Eek! Apparently, McCain not been in Washington -- he must have been in one of his other houses for the past 30 years.

Posted by: fmjk | September 18, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

this our capitalsitic system. all the tendrils are a part of the whole. you cant just say one is bad and not look at the others or how they are affected by the revamping or elimination of one of them. if no short selling then no long change each together so they work as a whole.

Posted by: michael shimansky | September 18, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

By the way, zaney8, McCain couldn't fire those "Wall Street execs" if he wanted to. Cox isn't a Wall Street exec; he's a federal employee trying to do his job.

Posted by: DB | September 18, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"By the way, zaney8, McCain couldn't fire those "Wall Street execs" if he wanted to. Cox isn't a Wall Street exec; he's a federal employee trying to do his job."

Oh, come, come, now. Don't confuse us with facts! Facts are bad! This is a campaign about "personalities, not issues."

Posted by: CT | September 18, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Christopher Cox is a highly qualified public servant appointed by this President, so I am more than astonished that John McCain wants to fire him. There is a lot of blame to go around for the real estate bubble that has resulted in highly leveraged investment firms exploding. Unfortunately, leverage works on the loss side as a multiplier also. But I believe that we are fortunate to have someone who is truly qualified in this position right now. John McCain is being unfair and acting desperate.

Posted by: RedHead | September 18, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Add this to McCain's comments from 2005, coupled with his comments (not the sound bites, the real discussion) from yesterday are instructive about how he sees the world. To McCain, the problem comes down to individual greed and dishonour, and regulations would be designed to limit what an INDIVIDUAL does.

But how would McCain react and what would he do if the problem were actually systemic or structural? His toolbox doesn't seem to get at that.

I thought that conservatives had to read the Federalist Papers, or at least be familiar with the famous quote: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Does McCain think government exists to try to make men be angels, or (as the founders thought) to introduce _structural_ checks and balances into the system.

Unfortunately, his focus on personal honor doesn't allow him to see the real problem.

Posted by: kc | September 18, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

DB - Thanks for bringing Zaney8 up to speed. That post is reflective of the lack of understanding about what this crisis is all about. This isn't EnronWorldComTyco etc.... The problem here is all to do with deregulation, a repug pet program. At this point, players in the financial system do not want to lend to anyone, because they can't be sure who has how much debt that is backed up, collateralized, by worthless mortgage backed securities, so this whole business is part of the sub prime melt down. Let's see now who needs to go to jail here? Uh, Phil Graham for one, possibly George W. on who's watch all of this is occurring and maybe, just maybe John McCain, who never met a regulation that he did not want to get rid of. His sudden "getting" of religion on regulation is laughable considering his history. The guy is so fond of saying that he's Reagan disciple and we know for certain that deregulation was a Reagan hallmark that brought us the half a trillion dollar savings and loan debacle, which reminds me of Charles Keating. McCain took money from Keating, who was a crook. When he got caught, the tough guy cried so he could keep his job. The voters of Arizona let him get away with that. They shouldn't have.

Posted by: Bob | September 18, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse


If you like the author's columns then why not try reading them before you start posting your nonsense. You've missed the point of this article entirely.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Mr. McCain acting out under fire ---- he's losing it. Maybe another hockey mom speech or selling zee plane zee plane on Ebay will turn things around

Posted by: campbell-greg | September 18, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

McCain seems, so often, shockingly immature to me. The temper, the impulsive words and actions... these are traits you find in a difficult three year old. These are not the traits I want to see in my President. If he's elected, I think he could end up being as huge an embarrassment as was Bush. America will be forever branded as a low-brow tough-talkin' bully.

Posted by: DogBitez | September 18, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Mallaby is an elitist! McCain makes decisions from his gut, not his brainy brain, and this is what we need. Just look how well that worked the past eight...oh wait. Nevermind.

Posted by: Mark Anderson | September 18, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha.


Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | September 18, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Mallaby is right, this is yet another manifestation of the problem that McCain has with his temperament. It's not high noon at the OK Corral when guns are supposed to blaze from the hips. This is a time for a reasoned approach to all of Wall Street's problems and all the problems in our economy. By his own admission, McCain knows nothing about the economy with all of its intricate pieces he is ill suited to lead anything but a battle charge, and it's not certain he could do even that.

Posted by: Butch Dillon | September 18, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

A Wall Street Journal quote from a few years go: "What is a lever on the way up is a screw on the way down."

Posted by: oldhonky | September 18, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

What about the democrats involvement in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Dodd, Obama, and Frank are the three largest recipients of campaign contributions from these organizations.

Posted by: Steve | September 18, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The good news is that we needn't really worry that McCain actually means anything he is saying. That's also the bad news.

Posted by: Howard K | September 18, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

McCain was happy to have a fellow opponent of regulation appointed to head the SEC. Cox agreed with McCain that what the SEC should do is not promote new regulation, but police bad apple. But now it is expedient for McAngry to throw someone under the bus. If John Kerry was a flip-flopper, McCainus is a ping pong ball and has just as much gravitas as one.

Posted by: turningfool | September 18, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't that long ago that WaPo's own Robert Novak was urging McCain to choose Christopher Cox as his VP. I'm betting McCain's glad he didn't heed Novak's advice.

Posted by: LPLT | September 18, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

McCaine is scary, Palain is even scarier. What is even scarier still is that these two are as close as they are to occupying the White House.

Posted by: Jeff | September 18, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Typical McCain. Find someone to lable the enemy, blame the whole mess on Obama, and act as though he was no where around when all of this happened. Come on.

Posted by: Russ | September 18, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

If McCain knew anything about the economy, Wall Street, etc., he would know that the SEC is an independent commission and as president he couldn't fire its members.Just another burst of temper without understanding the situation.

Posted by: macntazz | September 18, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Great that this sort of thing is being noticed.

However, it's the same tit-for-tat mentality which got us into Iraq, and which many Americans still applaud.

There are two competing mindsets in this election, as there are in the nation - if we can't move beyond "blame and punish" to "understand and deal with" we're finished, and the Chinese will take over as no. 1 nation in the much nearer future.

Posted by: simonbuc | September 18, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public's trust," McCain told the crowd at a rally in this battleground state. "If I were president today, I would fire him."

Dear Mr. McCain,
The president can't fire the Chairman Christopher Cox. Talking about playing politics. Stop putting your foot in your mouth McCain.

Posted by: foot in your mouth McCain. | September 18, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Get Sarah to whack him on a fly over!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Good column - I am sure that Cox was no great shakes, but this shows that McCain is completely ignorant about how Wall Street works (or worked I guess at this point)....

Posted by: crp3 | September 18, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

At the same time the remarks are being made about how McCain responded, goes to show where we all at. Eventhough make made these remarks doesn't necessarily mean will not go back into balance of the situation, he is just venting because he cares. I know this may sound off the wall. But at least he revealed or was open to admit the fact of short sale when most of big boys didn't in the first place, when this mess evolved. That is what I'm looking for, McCain when in a better type of stage of events, will do the right thing, even after he responds suprisingly. I still trust him, he is simple, he just vents..he is eccentric. He has observed the major players for a long time, he knows what has to be done..

Posted by: Sutton | September 18, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, that doddering old fool McCain gets more senile every day.

Sending him and Sarah Palin to fix the economic crisis is analogous to sending two kids into a room filled with dynamite with a couple of blow-torches.

I can't believe anyone is actually stupid enough to vote for them.

Posted by: owiz | September 18, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

interesting. Perhaps the Chairman of the SEC wants to see McCain fired.

Mr. Cox has enough heavy rain coming his way, and his faults are many. However, McCain is very disingenuous to jump off the greed wagon right about now. I am sure that one or two of the casa McCain properties were purchased with Cindy's earnings when Wall Street was spewing profits their way.

A rich man who rants against Wall Street is really pissing in the soup.

Posted by: roboturkey | September 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Why are the polls so close? Not only do around 25 percent of Americans watch FOX News Channel on a regular basis, but, from coast to coast, there are more than a thousand far-right talk radio stations occupied by shows that make Morning Joe sound like an Olbermann Special Comment. And 17 percent of Americans are glued to it at work and in their cars. Talkers like Hugh Hewitt, Sean Hannity, John Gibson, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Bill Bennett and Glenn Beck broadcast on your public air around the clock. Non-stop. Unrelenting. Only interrupted by Accu-weather and traffic. Free to anyone with an AM radio.
I don't know if you've dared to listen to far-right talk radio lately, but I can assure you that they're not ignoring Senator Obama -- or his family. Put it this way: if you only got your news and opinions from talk radio, you'd probably believe that Senator Obama is some kind of foreign-born baby-killing Manchurian Candidate terrorist -- if not a sexist uppity black man who, if he loses in November, will incite race riots in every city.
Could it be -- I don't know, just a hunch -- that the opinions of perhaps a third of all Americans are shaped by FOX News Channel, cable news shows like Morning Joe and, especially, far-right talk radio? Could it be that the lies and blind-patriotism of these far-right propagandists are painting an historic, brilliant, accomplished, patriotic presidential candidate as some kind of Bin Laden meets Farrakhan chimera? 24 hours a day? In every town in the Union? Distracting Americans from this economic crisis and skewing their priorities -- making pocketbook issues seem less important than lies. And political hacks still wonder why half of Americans vote against their financial interests every two years. Joe Scarborough still wonders out loud why Senator Obama isn't 20 points ahead in the polls.

Riddle me this, Joe. Given the ideological landscape of cable news, talk radio and the nefarious lie-based caricature therein of Obama as a black-power, fetus-crushing terrorist, why isn't John McCain 20 points ahead in polls?

Posted by: greg | September 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

If I read the reports correctly McCain never named Cox. Does he even remember who the SEC chairman is? And don't even bother to ask Palin. That would only lead to another moose-in-the-headlights moment.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

McCain can say these crazy things because he knows the Bush Administration will back him up if push comes to shove. I wouldn't be surprised to see Bush demand Cox's resignation to support McCain.

By the way, it looks like we are going to bail out all the bad investments at the expense of the US taxpayer in order to superficially support the market. I expect that there will be resistance to other than superficial regulation as long as they can keep the market propped up with taxpayer money.

Everything these people do is political. And, hey, if it doesn't work, at least they drained the Treasury into their pockets.

Posted by: Mary | September 18, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have the foggiest notion of what Sutton was trying to say? He and grammar are clearly not on speaking terms.

Posted by: malhsmith | September 18, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

What an f'in' idiot opportunist McCain is! As much as rightwingers love to bemoan the lack of experience in Obama, Senator Kent Conrad (you know, the smartest financial guy in Congress) had it exactly right the other day: Obama's smart, articulate, patient, and unflappable.

Contrast with the old fly boy and his shoot-from-the-hip sidekick. Exactly what this country does not need.

Posted by: abqcleve | September 18, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Everyone on the Street knew that removing the restrictions on shorts, was going to create a huge windfall for the Hedges, and a disaster for individual investors.
The original rule said that if a brokerage firm could not borrow the stock to fill a short, in 3 days, then the seller was "bought in". Meaning we would simply buy the stock at the market. So you didn't short a stock without knowing that you could borrow it somewhere.
Along comes Cox and says " if you can't find the borrowed securities after 13 days, please report it ". All of the economic laws of supply and demand just went out the window. No previous SEC Chairman would ever allow this.
It shows what happens when the "less government is better" rule is applied to complex markets that must be regulated.

Posted by: WallStreetBruno | September 18, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Mallaby says of McCain's decision to fire Chris Cox:
"This outburst demonstrates McCain’s ignorance, his impetuousness and his vindictive streak. ...
McCain is a loner rather than a team player. He is a political brawler rather than a manager."
The SEC is the manager of the stock market and its relationship to our financial institutions.
Let's fire him.
Shake up the one institution trying to keep a lid on this mess.
That way, it can spew all over the place.
McCain's not thinking straight.
We need steady leadership.
We need teeth in the regulations that keep the market in balance.
Deregulation is a short way of saying let the market screw their customers, namely us, in our savings accounts, our investments.
This is a bear market; if we have investments, the bear will eat us right up.
Remember that when the blood is flowing, somebody is going to benefit from the trouble they are causing the rest of us.
Deregulation enables these investment banks and insurance companies to chew into our portfolios and rob us blind.
The SEC, when it administers regulations with alacrity, protects us.
John McCain is just demonstrating that he's not fit to be president.
That's all there is to it.
These guys have basically had us in their sights for 30 years.
They've been having a good time at our expense.
It's time to put the Repugs to bed for a good long while.
They had their chance.
Their daze of ripping us off and robbing us blind need to be curtailed.
The American economy cannot stand much more instability like this.
The only way to do that is to change the whole situation in Washington.
And the way to do THAT is to elect Obama and Biden, and replace some of the most egregious offenders in Congress.
Obama/Biden '08

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | September 18, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Were you going to point out that the president CAN'T fire the head of the SEC? Or is that pre-9/11 thinking?

Posted by: Jenn2 | September 18, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

...As a horrified taxpayer, I would welcome some strong-tempered Senator to fire some of the greedy no-limits Wall Street executives who feel they are above the law and cavalierly play God with the money entrusted to their stewardship.

Posted by: zaney8 | September 18, 2008 2:27 PM

I know others have commented on zaney8's post, but it points up exactly why McCain is such a poor steward of anything related to our government.

Under no circumstances should a president, much less a senator, be in a position to "fire" any "greedy Wall Street executive." They aren't and shouldn't even be in a position to fire the head of the SEC.

The problem needs to be laid clearly on the table: a Republican administration abetted by a Republican Congress has invited and encouraged an environment where anything goes. It's free market capitalism at work, exactly as they envisioned it and relaxed laws and oversight to enable.

There is no indication at this point that any of the brokers or the head of the SEC broke any laws. They just exercised extremely stupid, greedy short-term tactics to maximize their wealth.


Posted by: abqcleve | September 18, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Could you be opposed to the reform McCain has been talking about. Sounds like a good idea to me. Get rid of the guy. Let me support King Obama!!!! So you would not fire him...just give him a second chance!!!! I think I will take my money and run!! Let him play with yours!!

Posted by: Ray | September 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

McCain is getting his advice from the wrong "fundamentals".

Posted by: miknugget | September 18, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about anything John McCain says he's gonna do, as soon as he and Palin are elected, she will f*ck him to death and be president. And then the hockey mom will lead us into our end-times. I'm not really religious but I'm pretty sure she's the anti-christ.

Posted by: guitaristo | September 18, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Right. Don't short the Wall Street maggots of commerce. That's unpatriotic! How dare the market-keepers permit such un-Republican behavior.

Right. So tell me, whatever happened to greed worship? Greed is good, right? That's what I remember hearing. How wonderful laisse faire capitalism is because it harnesses the power of greed.

No kidding. It sure did. And then it took the whole cart right over the cliff.

Posted by: fzdybel | September 18, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Many of you, including McCain and the author, need a civics lesson. The President cannot FIRE the SEC Chairman.

Posted by: Elaine | September 18, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Just another example of the McCain's rash, fire-from-the-hip without the foggiest idea what the hell he's talking about, approach to "leadership."

Is this the guy we want running the country? Good grief.

Posted by: Monk | September 18, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

This is a situation of historical proportions. No one is totally prepared for what to do next because it's unnavigated waters.

As the columnist said, if you wanted to get a steady hand and intelligent discussion about the reasons behind it and potential solutions, is there any doubt whether you'd want Senator Obama or Senator McCain leading the group?

In no sense are McCain/Palin up to the job. My question is who they would appoint to tell them what to do next, because you already see that is occuring on the campaign.

Posted by: amaikovich | September 18, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Creative destruction... the investment banking business model is obsolete now that every corporation in the world is fully stocked with computers, connectivity, and MBAs. In order to keep the profit machine going, Wall Street firms got more exotic taking higher and higher risks in harder and harder to understand (and sell/liquidate) assets , while still employing the same leverage (30x) that was used when the IB business was about buying stocks frome one guy and selling them to another.

It is the 30x leverage (which means a 3% drop in the value of assets pretty much wipes out your equity) that is the real killer.

Should the SEC have thought about this... yes. Should the CFTC have thought about this (in the context of futures/options/derivatives)... yes. Should the Fed and Comptroller of the Currency have thought about this along with State regulators (in the context of the impact on the banking system)... yes.

Unfortunately the Republican Mantra of deregulate... deregulate... (and the Clinton era of triangulation between the social liberals and economic conservatives) supported the policies that have made the current melt down a reality.

Fortunately, the fix here is pretty simple and basic. New rules will limit the amount of debt on houses (80% loan to value), on companies (80% loan to value), on financial institutions (10% equity against senior secured loans, 35% equity against debt not senior secured, 50% equity on equity or other non debt investments)... Leverage will come down at the government, financial, corporate and household levels... That is the fix... it will be very painful and take years to implement. But the future will be brighter when it is achieved.

From the depths of the Great Depression and the war that ended it, the world has seen 50 plus great years of economic performance... all is not lost.

Oh -- as for John Mccain... he will join Herbert Hoover in the annuals of history in calling for too little too late... Change is coming and it won't be in the form of a guy who has been part of the problem for 25 years....

Posted by: Jack S. | September 18, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

These were prepared remarks. We all know and expect McCain to make mistakes when he is talking off the cuff; he is - after all - an elderly man who has never been that bright.

But these were prepared remarks. That means the team surrounding him has no idea that the President cannot fire the SEC Chair. And these folks are the "experienced" crowd?

Posted by: jericho4119 | September 18, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Notice that anyone who shorted stocks earlier today probably got shellacked. The market isn't perfect, but it does have a habit of shaking out idiots.

Posted by: gromanski | September 18, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse


LOL - Now that was good!

Posted by: Melissa | September 18, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh Steve,

Your fingerpointing is so CUTE...!

Now be a big boy and eat these tasty brussel sprouts that were grown especially for you (and all the other taxpayers)...

You can nibble on Barney Frank's honey-smeared toezies for dessert...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Keep remembering:

The profits are privatized and the losses are socialized...

And this from the party that screams "socialism" at the drop of a hat...

Posted by: c earl jr | September 18, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Does McCain wish to repudiate his good friend and economic advisor Phil Gramm, that champion of deregulation, who put in place all the things necessary to create the mortgage mess we are in? Does McCain wish to repudiate himself, that self avowed deregulator, for being 'asleep at the switch', since he was a part of the oversight business too? And to now claim that regulation is good and that he is a 'Teddy Roosevelt Republican' and that firing Chris Cox would solve the problem and to rail against greed. Does he wish to continue to support putting Social Security money in the stock market so that the capitalization can just wipe out most of the seniors? What would he know about the whole thing? All this from a man who has no problem collecting the Social Security check every month, while at the same time disparaging the system. If he was sincere, he would have told the Government, 'thanks, but no thanks!'. Send the man to a retirement community on a beach with a nice pair of flip flops and a fruity drink!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree with this but it is not coherent with McCain's record.
McCain tried all his life to fire SEC
Now he wants to fire SEC chief
I have always enjoyed your excellent columns. However, in this I disagree. As a horrified taxpayer, I would welcome some strong-tempered Senator to fire some of the greedy no-limits Wall Street executives who feel they are above the law and cavalierly play God with the money entrusted to their stewardship. When they fail, they suffer nothing except a bailout by the people they cheated. Prision is too good for them, but none. will be emprisioned. They will, more likely, get golden parachutes and will go around lecturing on business practices. It stinks.
Posted by: zaney8 | September 18, 2008 2:27 PM

Posted by: fair and balanced | September 18, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

I remember being taught as a young waitress "Serve from the Left; Take from the Right" and it still holds true, thirty some years later.

The worker serves, and takes her deferred compensation at retirement; the capitalist in our corporate welfare system takes their deferred compensation as they bankrupt the company holding the worker's compensation.

McCain's outrage should be saved for the golden parachutes his cronies and supporters will float away on.

Someone ought to look at his and Palin's portfolios before the election.

Posted by: Mom | September 18, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"That means the team surrounding him has no idea that the President cannot fire the SEC Chair. And these folks are the "experienced" crowd?"
(Posted by: jericho4119 | September 18, 2008 5:23 PM)

Technically, no, the President can't fire him and McCain comes across looking possibly uninformed. But in practical terms, a President can (and has) fire him. Just a few years ago Democrats demanded the President fire Harvey Pitt as SEC Chairman. Lo and behold, it happened.

Posted by: Trav | September 18, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't this statement by McCain show his pandering to the masses who does not have the ability to know whether he is correct on a statement or not? I am from a 3rd world nation and I am shocked to see in the most powerful nation on Earth, this kind of pandering is allowed and goes un-noticed by Fox and other media outlets.

Posted by: Guy from LA | September 18, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Presidential Nominee just said that he would fire the SEC chairman. Even though that would be impossible. It will make the news. Maybe not Fox, but that's not news.
McCain is turning eerily Nixonian and he hasn't even been elected.

Posted by: Gericault | September 18, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I share zaney8's desire to see someone take the fall for this mess, but I don't think it should be a bureacrat who was simply doing what the law permits. The blame ultimately rests with the Republican-controlled Congress that deregulated this sector of the financial market.

What disturbs me about McCain's response to this whole thing is that he's raging against the greed of Wall Street. The whole point of capitalism is the single-minded pursuit of profits. The solution is not reforming the moral character of Wall Street executives, but, rather, regulating smartly and effectively.

I'm not saying the Wall Street execs responsible for this mess should not be ashamed, but I am saying that McCain's should not be trying to have people fired for the very (stupid) rules that he and his advisors were responsible for creating.

I do also have much more confidence in Obama's ability to regulate this industry. It really does matter that this campaign staff is not populated by lobbyists. It really does matter that his economic plan spotted this issue a long time ago. It really does matter that he does not share McCain's deregulatory instincts. And it does matter, too, that Obama is just exceedingly intelligent and will make smart, nonideological decisions when faced with the complexities of regulating this sector of the financial market. McCain would be depending almost entirely on recommendation from his advisers who, as Obama notes, are not to be trusted, given that they had a hand in creating this mess.

Posted by: formerDCdude | September 18, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

McCain has said something which needs saying, but you find fault with it anyway. Could it be because he is a Republican and you must find chinks here and there where you can send barbs?

Posted by: rohit | September 18, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

McCain didn't really mean it, come on, he's just pandering, again.

Posted by: pandering | September 18, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Sebastian, your comments would make sense were Christopher Cox in fact a technocrat. But Mr. Cox has, at least until recently, carried the spear for the unfettered deregulation of Wall Street that underpins this crisis.

Had Mr. Cox, or the White House, believed that the economy needs rules of play, we'd be better off today. The subprime mess was fueled by unregulated mortgage brokers who bundled subprime loans for unregulated investment banks. Those loans in turn were rated by rating agencies which have in turn been largely unregulated. The SEC, under Mr. Cox and his predecessor, William Donaldson, largely declined to regulate Wall Street and the rating agencies. Why? The "free market" and "market transparency" were supposed to impose sufficient discipline on the players.

As well, additional regulations to increase margin requirements on short sales would hold sellers' feet to the fire--and the enforcement of pay to play is fair dealing. Again, judicious regulation can help to produce market discipline.

The endorsement of unfettered deregulation, as practiced by Mr. Cox and the Bush administration, has failed abysmally. A change in direction is needed and the sacking of Mr. Cox would help to produce that change.

Of course, the best way to change policy direction would be to elect a Democratic president. While I happen to agree with Senator McCain that Cox should be sacked, I also note that McCain has changed his positions on the economy almost daily of late. Mr. McCain's flip-flops don't inspire confidence, even if he happens to be right about Cox.

Posted by: ANetliner | September 18, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Jack S., who writes (above) that the economy needs to be deleveraged. Great post, Jack!

As well, while the President cannot technically fire the SEC chair, he in fact can request that person's resignation.

And as DC observers know, the White House has appointed highly political chairs to independent agencies. The idea of an independent technocrat (as voiced by Sebastian Mallaby) may live on at the SEC staff level, but recently appointed SEC chairs are anything but apolitical.

Hence, I agree with McCain that a change is needed in SEC leadership. I just don't agree that McCain is the best choice to be the Chief Executive to make that change. Again, I agree with Jack S. that McCain on the economy is too little, too late.

Posted by: ANetliner | September 18, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Well, I see that McCain has rather conveniently buried Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who walked away with $45 million after she ran that company into the ground.

Fiorina's offense? Not that she waddled away with the loot, but that she told reporters that McCain was not qualified to run a major corporation.

And now McCain, eager to show that he would "do something," lashes out at the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who he suddenly has discovered isn't doing his job to McCain's standards.

First it was a blue-ribbon commission to write a report. Now it's let's fire the head of the S.E.C. Tomorrow it will be some other wild shot off into the blue yonder.

It is becoming painfully clear that John McCain is a has-been who for years has been riding on a carefully crafted image that never had any substance to begin with. Today, he's a 72-year-old man, going on 90, hopelessly confused and befuddled by the world around him.

What's even worse is knowing that, under these circumstances, a vote for John McCain will be a vote for President Sarah Palin. That will be roughly the equivalent of Nero installing his horse in the Roman Senate. God help us all.

Posted by: Magic Dog | September 18, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the column above. Short selling sounds "bearish", but just as Myerson explains, they help keep a stock's price realistic. That helps keep irrational bubbles from growing that will burst later, leading to chaos.

McCain's rash comments really do underscore his lack of knowledge of economic issues. He's out of his element now that the economy is front and center IMO.

Posted by: Mark | September 18, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

McCain's remarks today do just go to show he's not fit to be President. First, our economic crisis was not solely caused by the SEC - there are other regulatory agencies that also haven't done their jobs because the Republicans, including Sen. McCain, have been against appropriate regulation. Second, SEC Chairman Cox was an appointee of President Bush, the same President Bush that McCain has supported for the past 8 years. Third, if McCain has questions now about Cox's fitness for the job, why didn't he ask questions during his confirmation hearings? Fourth and finally, the President of the United States can't summarily remove the Chairman of the SEC. This is just another example of how out of touch with reality John McCain really is.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Head of State

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Also Will Call For Democratization, Removal of Burger King

ABC News:

"At a joint rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Thursday, Republican John McCain slammed the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) for being "asleep at the switch" saying that if he were president, he would fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the SEC since 2005 and a former Republican congressman...
But while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president."

Perhaps he could name him President of Spain.

Head of State

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Short-selling is a completely legitimate and free-market way to profit when the stock prices of over-valued companies decline. Short-selling of a stock does not "make" the price go down - it may create negative sentiment against the stock, but that sentiment does not stand up if the finances of the company are transparent and healthy. The fiscal health of investment banking houses is anything but transparent and short-selling is a great way to punish their lack of transparency. Banning short-selling is anti-market and anti-stockholder in the long run.

McCain's diatribe against Cox is the populist raving of a clueless politican. He wants a head to roll, any head, to satiate the masses.

Posted by: Jim H. | September 18, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

McCain's short temper, vindictive streak, desire to label himself as an "outsider" . . . does he have PTSD?

Posted by: Tess | September 18, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

It's unbelievable that anyone is supporting McCain/Ridiculous! One would have to be completely insane/mentally challenged to actually pull that lever in their favor. It's treasonous at this point!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse


The set of folks with a larger stake in this election - Blue Star Families.

As military family members who support Barack Obama, we knew there was something different this election cycle. More interest in the Dem candidate, fewer Republican bumper stickers than we're used to seeing. But nothing prepared us for this. Our new Blue Star Families for Obama website went live yesterday ( We expected it to generate a little interest, but hey, we're volunteers, we've done no publicity about it, no press release, no ads, nothing. So we didn't expect over 3000 hits in the first few hours.

Blue Star Families for Obama was started by five Army and Marine Corps wives back in July. We have a budget of zero. You might otherwise know us as the casserole brigade. But in just two short months we have generated chapters in 23 states, helped host a care package service event at the convention in Denver attended by Michelle Obama, attended dozens of rallies and roundtables and hosted house parties across the country. And keep in mind - we admire John McCain's service to his country. What we do not admire is his vision for tomorrow and his long refusal to provide real support to the military community.

Military families are flocking to Senator Obama because we recognize real respect when we see it. The Senator's admiration and support of military families and veterans is clear in his record, his stump speeches and his constant reminders to the country that we should all be a part of the war on terror - and not just by going shopping.

If you need proof, look no further than the new GI Bill. Supported by every major veterans' group in this country. Passed by a veto-proof bipartisan majority (hello, Governor Palin?). A real chance for veterans who sweated it out for years defending this country without question to contribute to it once again, through a solid education and upward mobility. Senator McCain inexplicably and inexcusably opposed the bill for budgetary reasons. Military families have seen eight years of attempted cuts to our benefits by the current administration. Do they really think we are getting too much? We dare you to come and live our lives for a couple of years and make that argument.

On our website we'll be posting comparisons of Obama v McCain's voting record on defense and veterans issues. We'd compare McCain's plans for military families to Obama's, except that only Barack Obama has a plan that directly addresses our issues.

So we say to the many thousands who have checked out our site in the last day or so, and to the rest of you: Please come back. Keep reading. Decide for yourself. And join us in electing a president who will restore our respect and sense of community with our civilian brothers and sisters, not one who will continue to ask us to serve in silence.

Written by Laura Dempsey and Kathy Roth-Douquet

Posted by: Anonymous | September 18, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse


The set of folks with a larger stake in this election - Blue Star Families.

As military family members who support Barack Obama, we knew there was something different this election cycle. More interest in the Dem candidate, fewer Republican bumper stickers than we're used to seeing. But nothing prepared us for this. Our new Blue Star Families for Obama website went live yesterday ( We expected it to generate a little interest, but hey, we're volunteers, we've done no publicity about it, no press release, no ads, nothing. So we didn't expect over 3000 hits in the first few hours.

Blue Star Families for Obama was started by five Army and Marine Corps wives back in July. We have a budget of zero. You might otherwise know us as the casserole brigade. But in just two short months we have generated chapters in 23 states, helped host a care package service event at the convention in Denver attended by Michelle Obama, attended dozens of rallies and roundtables and hosted house parties across the country. And keep in mind - we admire John McCain's service to his country. What we do not admire is his vision for tomorrow and his long refusal to provide real support to the military community.

Military families are flocking to Senator Obama because we recognize real respect when we see it. The Senator's admiration and support of military families and veterans is clear in his record, his stump speeches and his constant reminders to the country that we should all be a part of the war on terror - and not just by going shopping.

If you need proof, look no further than the new GI Bill. Supported by every major veterans' group in this country. Passed by a veto-proof bipartisan majority (hello, Governor Palin?). A real chance for veterans who sweated it out for years defending this country without question to contribute to it once again, through a solid education and upward mobility. Senator McCain inexplicably and inexcusably opposed the bill for budgetary reasons. Military families have seen eight years of attempted cuts to our benefits by the current administration. Do they really think we are getting too much? We dare you to come and live our lives for a couple of years and make that argument.

On our website we'll be posting comparisons of Obama v McCain's voting record on defense and veterans issues. We'd compare McCain's plans for military families to Obama's, except that only Barack Obama has a plan that directly addresses our issues.

So we say to the many thousands who have checked out our site in the last day or so, and to the rest of you: Please come back. Keep reading. Decide for yourself. And join us in electing a president who will restore our respect and sense of community with our civilian brothers and sisters, not one who will continue to ask us to serve in silence.

Written by Laura Dempsey and Kathy Roth-Douquet

Posted by: SueMVetforOBAMA | September 18, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

What is common amongst the following:

Finacial Institution: Regulator
Bear & Stearns: SEC
Lehman: SEC
Morgan Stanley: SEC

All three have either failed or are in precarious position. And the regulator in all three cases is SEC.

In contrast Banks like J.P. Morgan, Bank o America which are regulated by the FED, FDIC etc. have not failed, but, have helped some of the earlier players.

So the question does arise if there is a problem in the way one set of players are being regulated. If yes, should the regulator be held accountable?

Posted by: Regulus | September 18, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Let's be honest with ourselves here. This is what McCain is doing.

First, he looks around, he hears reports, the American People are about as angry as we've been for a Long time. This is a different kind of anger than what we felt on 9/11, these are our own people screwing us like this.

So, McCain thinks, and talks: I'm angry, I'm really really mad, I'm just like you!

Huh? As I've watched his behavior and his words this past week, I being to wonder in which percentile would be place McCain among the population, especially as regards economic intelligence but overall as well.

I doubt if he exceeds the mean, I really do.

Posted by: hn | September 18, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain will say or do anything to get elected. Have you not noticed that? He is an old man getting senile and unfit to hold the position of the presidency. He does not have the judgement or the temprament to do so. Imagine who he will like to handle the affairs of this country to if he should become incapacitated or die? Shallow Palin!

Posted by: midas20874 | September 18, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Zaney8--Are you John McCain himself? Or just as stupid as he is? Or is this the good conservative doctrine that believes you can "fire Wall Street executives" (even though they don't happen to be in your employ.) Maybe the President should be given the power to fire, say, the Washington Nationals manager as well.

Posted by: jad | September 18, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I think Sebastian was spot on with the observation that the incentive and ownership structure of hedge funds may explain why three of five american broker dealers have gone belly up or entered shotgun weddings. However, with the story from the NY Sun suggesting that the SEC in '04 allowed these five firms to increase their debt/net capital ratio above 12- to the 30 or 40 we here about now-suggests regulator error on the part of the SEC. For that- not the stupid uptick rule- should Cox be shown the door with Coyne and Fuld.

Our ranking Congressional finance/banking regulators (Republicans & Democrats) should probably find new committees too. The buck doesn't stop there, but it should take an extensive pit stop. Either they do not understand their role or chose to be negligent. An opening on Ways and Means may become available.

Posted by: Joe | September 18, 2008 10:24 PM | Report abuse

Look, both Obama and McCain (and their campaigns) are saying idiotic things everyday. If you want to pretend like any of this really matters, you can. However, most well informed people have already made up their minds. This is just a "show" for the undecided people. Mallaby thinks that by pretending to be recently swayed by events he can affect the more feeble minded of the swing voters. Maybe he is right. He must feel dirty afterwards.

Posted by: Scott3 | September 18, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Does the president have the authority to fire the SEC Chairman? McCain writes a LOT of checks he'll never be able to cover.

Posted by: aleks | September 18, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

It's sad to see McCain at the point that he needs Sarah Palin to be along to get someone to show up to see him. He needs her ,though. because she remembers her lines better than he does. He can't remember what he said yesterday about the economy. "In crisis" or "fundamentally strong"? Please prompt me, Sarah!

She and Todd need to stay near McCain and his team of lawyers and lobbyists to avoid the supoenas for the investigation of abuse of power that might send them to jail. So they all need each other.
Given the circumstances we've come to, I suggest they rename the " Straight Talk Express" the "Hospice Express". Seems more fitting for this phase of the campaign.
Who can McCain or Palin fire tomorrow? I hope they find some "Hater" to fire.

Posted by: slysosome | September 18, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

You forgot the word "again" in the first sentence of the article. And while you're at it, you may as well ditch the word "consistent" in all sentences referring to McCain's "image". He seems genuinely unaware that fact-checking what he said two minutes ago, two days or two years ago is easy for anyone. His stammering delivery and inability to remember what continent some countries are on might result from all the spinning and reversing he's doing.

Posted by: Mark | September 18, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

What is funny is that you are outraged that a presidential candidate is pressing a sitting regulatory head. Yet there was not a peep when Obama sat with Iraqi officials and undermined a sitting President or bad mouthed the US in a foreign capital (Berlin)

Posted by: John | September 18, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis. The biggest fear is that McCain as president will make decisions based on his "gut feel". McCain's gut feel is not very good but once President, nothing can stop this guy from leading America down some dangerous path.

Posted by: Oscar | September 18, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

But why do they still allow naked shortselling? Shouldn't selling stock you don't own be illegal?

Posted by: Marc Edward | September 18, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Zaney8, I'm sorry y ou didn't check into the nature of our independent financial regulators and the federal role in our economy before you posted, but at least your lack of information is more excusable than MCCain's.

After all, McCain has spent virtually his entire life in Washington, 26 years as a Senator.

Moreover, the Republican plutocracy has been providing McCain with private briefings on all the current issues, from hurricanes to budgets. Perhaps he was peeved that the SEC didn't give him his own private song and dance?

And John, please try to be at least marginally more truthful than the McCain campaign itself. Check your gossip before you post it.

The only candidate who's tried to interfere with our relationship with a Middle Eastern country is -- according to GQ -- your boy McCain,

Poor old fella, he can't remember when he shot off his mouth.

Posted by: Helen | September 18, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: kubrickstan | September 18, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse


LOL - Now that was good!

Posted by: Melissa | September 18, 2008 5:43 PM "

Ditto, ditto!! (from a non-ditto head)

Posted by: eliyahu | September 18, 2008 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Uh, john, where is it illegal for Obama to talk with Iraqi officials? Other senators and congressmen have done so. What did he say that undermined the president? It appears that the Iraqis are more favorably inclined to Obama's timetable plan, so much so that the president has considered "time horizons." What did he sy in Berlin that was bad-mouthing the USA? He certainly didn't say anything that the wordl already didn't know about us. It appears that his openess and willingness to cooperate with our allies, rather than dictating to them, has created a better environment for US foreign policy. Our allies would much rather deal with a sober open-minded leader than a shoot from the hip guy like mccain, who would only continue bush's disastrous policies.

Posted by: stryker | September 18, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow. If McCain is melting down like this now as he sinks in the polls, I can't wait to see his performance at the 9/29 debate. Should be entertaining. We'll be keeping the popcorn handy.

Posted by: binkynh | September 18, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

What a pair they make: McCain and Palin! People whose first impulse is to dismiss an employee who they do not have the right to fire.

Posted by: frank logan | September 19, 2008 12:10 AM | Report abuse

McCain has a phobia that psychologically disqualifies him from being President and Commander in Chief. Be the second person to know that and be the first to post the type of phobia McCain has. Research!

Posted by: ghostcommander | September 19, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Sean, I kept waiting for you to point out the most ignorant bit of all in McCain's rash statement. Even as President, he would not have the POWER to fire the Chairman of the SEC.

Posted by: Martimr1 | September 19, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Mallaby describes a state of the world which doesn't exist under the Bush administration:

Government agencies are supposed to be professional and technocratic.

I agree--they are supposed to be. They have
not been. McCain will almost certainly be no better than Bush.

Posted by: garbage1 | September 19, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered the possibility that McCain is trying to "throw" the election? Picking a thoroughly unqualified running-mate, making a multitude of outrageous statements and running a campaign based on outright lies seem like the actions of someone with no intentions of winning. Do you think he hoped his party's members would find his actions so despicable that they'd vote for his opponent? I'm, personally, stunned that he's gotten so much leverage from his bad behavior and that Republicans are so eager to distort their values to embrace his antics.

Posted by: Gina | September 19, 2008 2:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm beginning to believe that the "whisperings" in the 2000 campaign about McCain's being UNSTABLE are true.

At the time, I thought it was another Rove inspired insult. But watching some of the rants by McCain and his "daily lies in the daily ads" he runs, simply makes him looks like a madman. Worse than W.

Then he picks this Palin character who is Cheney in a skirt, but with the brains of Bush, and he looks like a real old man who has lost his marbles.

I guess if I had been in the Senate for 26 years and with my best bud, Gramm,and had deregulated everything in sight, I'd be hiding behind a skirt from the tundra, too.

Posted by: jh | September 19, 2008 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Better than his explosion about firing Cox was McCain's statement yesterday to Michigan autoworkers that "We're going to do something for the workers. For the workers." McCain plans to tax workers for employer health care payments. Maybe after he passes that tax, all of us on employer health plans can get a bailout from the Federal Reserve?

Posted by: Observant Guest | September 19, 2008 5:22 AM | Report abuse

"Betting that a stock will go down is just as legitimate a way to make money as betting that it will go up."

Well, yes and no. Running a stock down becomes much more of a sure thing than running a stock up, because as the stock price is reduced, a company (especially one in the financial services industry) becomes vulnerable from a leverage perspective and the lower stock price works against efforts to mitigate the situation. If they sell stock to raise capital they play into the short sellers' hand. They cannot buy stock to help support the price without further eroding their capital ratios. On the way up, there is no such strategic conundrum (nor is there any need for the company to address the stock price). So to suggest that there is no difference between a short sale rout and a strong rally is disingenuous. Any fair minded person would see the difference (and the need for some potential limiting rules associated with short sales).

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 7:12 AM | Report abuse

it's amazing how half the US is so easily brainwashed. it's really amazing that europe and asia even know who is the right candidate and half of the US doesn't.

Posted by: chili | September 19, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

You are wrong in your thinking because it is based on a time and a people that do not exist anymore. Today, people have no honor. They lack integrity, a love for their country and respect for its citizens. They are driven by greed. America's professionals did a whole lot of things they "should not" have been doing and it is time to hold everyone involved accountable. Forget about professionalism, and political correctness. Bring out the hammer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Annwithe | September 19, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I thought the POTUS doesn't have the legal power to fire a SEC chairman. Though after the Bush-Cheney years I guess the law doesn't matter so much anymore, or at least it doesn't matter for the politically connected.

Posted by: EL | September 19, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

zaney8 said,
"I would welcome some strong-tempered Senator to fire some of the greedy no-limits Wall Street executives who feel they are above the law and cavalierly play God with the money entrusted to their stewardship."

zaney, Cox is not a wall street exec. re-read the article or get someone to explain it to you. then go vote for McChange.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Reader John writes:
How many times do we have to hear:

We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Social Security.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to fix Medicare.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to provide health care to ALL Americans.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help out Americans losing their homes.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to help all our veterans returning from war.
We don't have ENOUGH MONEY to rescue "no child left behind".


We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to bail out Bears Stearns.
We DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY to pay for an unnecessary TRILLION DOLLAR war.

When the LITTLE GUY needs help, they scornfully say, "GET A JOB!"
But when one of their BIG GUY CRONIES need a bailout, what do they say? SURE, NO PROBLEM. Where's the checkbook?

"But what about the debt we're leaving on the backs of our childen and their future?"
"Children? WHOSE Children? OUR children won't have to pay for this. YOUR children will."

The Republicans have had their hands in our pockets for well over 8 years.
Now they are robbing us blind IN BROAD DAYLIGHT and smiling about it!!!!
The Republicans have shown their true colors and now they expect us to vote them back into office?

What's next? Should we bend over and spread 'em? Oh, I'm sorry, but we've ALREADY DONE THAT!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"I guess if I had been in the Senate for 26 years and with my best bud, Gramm,and had deregulated everything in sight, I'd be hiding behind a skirt from the tundra, too."

thanks for that one. got me to !lol

Posted by: Anonymous | September 19, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

McCain's remark that he would fire Cox and punish all the bad guys is just a bone thrown out to those who seek simple answers and want retribution for this mess. It is a worrisome indication of how McCain would respond to crises should he become President.

Surely, surely the country must be ready for a reasonable, thoughtful approach to management, yes management, of this country's challenges. We won't get another chance if we blow this election. I believe the US is on the cusp of a slow decline if
the talent and resources of America are not re-directed into more productive and self-sustaining activities.

Posted by: steveo | September 19, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

McCain needs to stick to issues he knows, like how to deal with the Prime Minister of Spain, whoever that is.

Posted by: mike in CA | September 19, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

It's PostPartum, not PostPartisan. Both 'Parties' fattened on lobbyists through years of deregulation and look the other way regulation.
When thy finally gave birth to Obama and McCain, a three hundred million to one shot, it was no surprise. Politicians breed true.
No choice is better than the belief in some choice.

Posted by: Morton Kurzweil | September 19, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The ability of homebuyers to get 0% down or to borrow against their homes such that their debt is over 100% of the value is a stupid move for the home owner. While it's unfair that lenders could package deals like this, isn't there something to be said from a personal responsibility point of view. Might the old rule of max 80% debt on a house be as a buffer for the market rise and fall? so that you'd "never" be upside down? This is why we pay PMI for more than 80% debt. Where is all of THAT money going? I mean, many of us have to pay PMI, then we pay taxes, THEN the banks (who took our PMI) need a bailout too?!

From this point of view, the government should stop making the regulation (or allowing banks to charge PMI). It should be one or the other. If a bank is charging the person(taxpayer) PMI, then they should not have access to a bailout, loan or whatever FROM THAT SAME TAXPAYER. In the Constitution we have the right to not be taxed twice, but obviously the banks and corporations have found their way to double-dip our pocketbooks.

Posted by: howard | September 19, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

What a pair they make: McCain and Palin! People whose first impulse is to dismiss an employee who they do not have the right to fire.

Posted by: frank logan | September 19, 2008 12:10 AM


Posted by: The Democratic Warrior | September 19, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Quick thought-

Instead of the fed doing the bailouts, can't Cindy McCain just sell her wardrobe??? Or maybe they start selling off some of their houses????

Posted by: The Democratic Warrior | September 19, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a reactionary and therefore would not be very good at dealing with crisis as the President of this great country. Coming in and saying you would fire the head of the SEC after the fact is not leadership it is followership. Saying one day that you favor deregulation and then on the very next day saying you are an advocate for regulation is not leadership. It is pandering.

Pat from Wisconsin

Posted by: Fred 1 | September 19, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

John McCain and Sarah Palin are both IDIOTS!!!!!~

Posted by: summer | September 19, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I take his comment as a way to prove to the people that he is willing to do what it takes. The flip side to that is, firing a man who was hired in 2006 and has been working to help contain these horrid events that were started before his time isn't necessarily the right thing to do. In the end, McCain will realize that it was not prudent to make these remarks as a presidential candidate who is not strong on the Economy. He essentially took a position that could potentially decrease confidence in light of the moves Cox and Paulsen are making which are in fact intended to increase consumer was at cross purpose to the ultimate goal. Perhaps he could have been less stalwart about naming names and instead share his view of how to fix the issue, not just with a commission, but really help fix the issue. This doesn't appear to be the voice of a maverick, it sounds like he is constantly looking for a scapegoat. Compare his last couple of speeches to Obama's and you'll see who has more ideas about how to fix this problem instead of passing blame although they both have given insight on what they think caused this crisis.

Posted by: ... | September 19, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Most of you at the Post are a joke. Come know...we know that Frank, Dodd and the rest protected FNMA FDMAC from increased regulation and oversight. McCain tried (see your own editorial today) as did the Bush Administration earlier. As to the SEC, since Britain stopped short selling yesterday and it took to today for the SEC to follow I suspect McCain is right. The SEC was not the main player here...Congressional Democrats were if one were objective...but the SEC could have done more sooner regarding Wall Street and did not.

Posted by: NJCalling | September 19, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

If these folks get into office, we are going to see a lot of political footballs and "vengeance firings." It's how they operate.

November can't come soon enough, but I dread it anyhow.

Posted by: Bittercat | September 19, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey NJcalling, you are an elitist. Sorry but pandering is pandering. I wonder what the limits of the "straight talk express" are in terms of doing anything and I do mean anything to get elected. Flip flopping from day to day on major policy issues is not very Presidantial. And please spare me the Obamma does it too line. I know he does. That does not make it ok for Mr. Formerly known as the straight talker.

Pat from Wisconsin

Posted by: Fred 1 | September 19, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

McCain wasn't joking when he said he is clueless when it comes to the economy. That may have been the only true statement he's made in the last fourteen months. He screwed up when he pronounced the economy fundamentally sound on Monday. When howls of disbelief reverberated over his statement, he sought to negate the fallout buy calling for the SEC chairman's head. This isn't a misfire, McCain has no ideas, no vision for this country, short of staying in Iraq and following the course Bush laid out, and that he, McCain supports.

Posted by: str8up | September 19, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Running a stock down becomes much more of a sure thing than running a stock up, because as the stock price is reduced, a company (especially one in the financial services industry) becomes vulnerable from a leverage perspective and the lower stock price works against efforts to mitigate the situation."

If the market is reasonably efficient and the stock in question has a readily discernible intrinsic value, then short-selling should not be a problem. Short-selling could be abused in a concerted effort by a large brokerage to put selling pressure on a stock or by spreading false rumors about the target company's financial health, but a complete ban on short-selling is not a rational response to these issues.

The problem with WaMu, Wachovia, and the investment houses is that(with apologies to Burton Malkiel)God Almighty Himself doesn't know the intrinsic value of these companies. Their highly leveraged capital structure is the reason shorts want to short them, and in a free market they should be allowed to do so. If WaMu, Wachovia, Goldman-Sachs, and Morgan Stanley are structured in such a way that they can't survive a downturn in the capital markets, then why should these companies survive? The SEC wasn't interceding to prevent long buying of the stocks of these companies as the property bubble inflated and they were piling up profits, leverage on their balance sheets, and enormous bonuses for their employees. Why does the SEC intercede on the down-side?

The reason is that banning short-selling is a no-money-down way to protect the companies that got greedy in the property boom. Banks that kept their heads during that time - U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, B of A - don't need the protection. Banks and investment houses that got greedy do. The damage averted today could be multiplied many-fold in the future if the lessons of the Great Property Bubble of 2007 go unlearned.

Now that the Fed is apparently going to absorb all of the toxic mortgage debt in the market the point is becoming moot anyway. The fine points of this as yet unspecified plan could be a nightmare to us taxpayers for years to come. We'll see...

Posted by: Jim H. | September 19, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

This entire argument boils down to the question of,who should we make sure gets screwed less in this financial crisis? The wealthy risk takers? Or the working class tax payers? Republicans choose the wealthy, hands down.

Posted by: J Lauber | September 19, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Why are you thinkers trying to make this political race about real issues it is supposed to be a popularity contest, like voting for Prom Queen. My fragile female little barbie sheeple brain can't handle it. Can someone pass me Caribou Barbie's Mooseburger recipe?

I mean really, does the wrinklely old white dude even know what he is talking about? Don't grandpa's play with their grand kids? Why does this one what to live in that White House, it doesn't have a pool or mountains nearby, yuck? And it takes too long to get to Park Ave from there. Can't his rich wife buy him a better one?

Oooohhh PLEASE, make this all go away, my last brain cell is dying and I want to live to know who is the next Idol.

Posted by: Sierra | September 19, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Who would Homer Simpson pick? Mr. Burns? Ned Flanders?

Posted by: 2Funny | September 19, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe John McCain will fire Cox via the Blackberry that he invented.

Posted by: The Democratic Warrior | September 19, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

It was incredible to see Barack Obama stand up on the stage today with his economic advisors and not make politics out of the situation the current economic policies have gotten us into. He had announced that he was meeting with his economic advisors (includes Warren Buffett, Paul Volcker, and Robert Rubin) and would lay out his detailed plan. Volcker published the below article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal and this was surely going to be the cornerstone of that plan. However, it became apparent that that treasury secretary Paulson and Fed chairman Bernanki had adopted much of what the Obama plan was going to be so Obama stood down. Announcing his plan would have been political and this is too important to the American people to allow our financial system to fail. Obama did the big thing and did not announce the details of his plan. Yesterday McCain did the little man thing and tried to scapegoat this on Chris Cox the head of the SEC (although McCain called it the FEC). On Monday McCain had said our financial system was basically sound by Wednesday he is trying to highjack Volcker’s plan and call it his own.

Please realize that this is the most dangerous economic times in our lifetime. We are in real danger of 1929 collapse of our banking system. Please read Volcker’s article. This resurrection of the Resolution Trust will give the markets time to find valuation in an orderly manner and prevent a crash. We are going to have to realize the government is capable of regulating markets to control greed. We also must pay our bills. We cannot spend money and not collect enough taxes to pay for all the programs (social and defense) that the majority of the citizens want.

Finally thank God we did not put the social security system into the market as Bush and McCain have proposed three years ago.

Posted by: bradcpa | September 19, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Good one warrior: but who will txt 4 hm. BFF GW? P BLL SRA?

Posted by: 2Funny | September 19, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

LOL 2Funny. Clearly gov srh will.

Posted by: The Democratic Warrior | September 19, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

John McCain reflects typical Republican thinking, which is to exagerate the danger and see threat where there is none. A recent piece of research found that the political preference of individuals could by determined by their reaction to pictures of a gross nature (magots) or of mutilated bodies. Persons who reacted with a high degree of anxiety were found to be conservatives, those who remained calm were found to be liberal. Worth thinking about before we put another war freak in office.

Posted by: kaycwagner | September 19, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Great obsevations. John McCain is getting real scary. If he was ever pro business his rant about the SEC chairman sounds like something from the paranoid left. The problem we are dealing with was set off by a lack of regulation that has nothing to do with the SEC!

Posted by: Mike | September 19, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I can hardly believe that America has finally figured out that McCain is as much of a stump, if not worse than Bush is when it comes to across the board issues affecting our country.
What company will hire you without knowledge of a computer?

Posted by: masterdel | September 19, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Today McCain has a 6 point plan to regulate the financial markets. I thought he was a de-regulator? Well I guess things change when you're behind in the polls.

Posted by: fulltime observer | September 19, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

With Gov. Sera Sera as VP pick, speculate on a cabinet, God's will forbid? What me worry Alfred E. Newman for Treasury or education? Dudley Doright, opps, Canadian. No, I got it, the Brain from Pinky and the Brain for Secretary of State. Ohhh, ohh, Larry Craig , Health and Human Services. Colorado is a swing state, so announce Eric Cartman early!!!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 19, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Picking Bullwinkle I guess would show he is bi-partisan!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 19, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain is nuts. He was in the Senate for all of this deregulation. He supported Phil Gramm and has called Gramm his economic guru.

Hearing him rail against Washington is just surreal. Like hearing him rail against republicans at the convention. It's like he just woke up from a long sleep.

This is what McCain said in May 2007:

"You are interviewing the greatest free trader you will ever interview, and the greatest deregulator you will ever interview,"

From the WSJ blogs - said at the 5th Annual All Things Digital conference.

Yes, McCain has a lifetime of experience. A lifetime of experience that includes deregulating the financial industry with his BFF Phil Gramm. Phil Gramm who McCain described as his economic guru.

Posted by: Sandy | September 19, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

2Funny, Bullwinkle would never agree to serve in a Palin-McCain administration.

Posted by: j salerno | September 19, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Give John McCain a break - he hasn't had time to prepare to talk about any issues. It took our economy tanking and huge government bailouts of our major financial institutions to get him to talk about the issues. Prior to this, his campaign said this election would be about "personalities, not issues." Until know, he's had to bone up on Britney, Paris, and what color lipstick a pig might prefer...

Posted by: bethechange1 | September 19, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmm... so he helped strip the SEC of much of its regulatory powers... then blamed the stripped-down regulatory agency and its boss....

Someone in the press needs to ask him specifically what Cox should have done within current regulatory guidelines... and then ask him for the letter he sent Cox demanding that action. No one really saw this coming, and even if they had, there was nothing Cox could have done. And McCain knows it.

This tells you all you need to know about McCain's character. This was the final straw. I usually donate after the convention, but I held up this time because I wasn't too thrilled with the tone. Today I gave Obama my donation, and Nov 4 he gets my vote.

Posted by: Sad and laughable | September 20, 2008 12:02 AM | Report abuse

It's easy to say that short sellers are just the mirror image of buyers. This isn't true. Buyers actually have to put up money to buy. Many short sellers just claim they have something to sell, but wait a couple days before actually obtaining the stock they sell. This means that many more "shares" can be sold than can be bought. The balance is broken.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

McCain wants to show America that he is an Action Man.

He is pointing the finger today but if he is elected what will he do? Fire a few big names and say: 'problem solved'?

Slogans and spin will not cure the nation's problems.

Did you know that Sarah can see Russia from Alaska? This makes her qualified to be the VP and the President all rolled into one.

Posted by: Robert James | September 20, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Please save America from catastrophe of force 5 Hurricane McCain-Palin from striking USA and destroying its economy. They are two economic illiterates like two blind men who tried to lead each other and fell in a deep hole.

They will start more wars in the world if elected to bully the world and ruin America if little is left by incompetent G W Bush after eight years.

Warmongering and blood shedding Republicans have destroyed American economy by wasting over four trillion dollars of American tax payers money illegally invading Iraq and occupying and leaving it in a bigger mess than ever in its history.

John McCain is not a duplicate of president G W Bush in face but they are identical twins in warmongering, bullying and invading other countries.

Posted by: Saqib Khan | September 20, 2008 2:39 AM | Report abuse

Not to mention that the President doesn't really have the power to "fire" the SEC chair anyway ... what an idiot and a liar. John McCain is a LIAR! Whatever dignity he had left after hiring the Rovian bastards who had slurred him in 2000 has gone out the window in the last month. But, hey, he's gone from a "Deregulator" to a populist in 2 days so who knows what other tricks he has up his sleeve? LIAR

Posted by: Hey, did I mention I'm a LIAR??? | September 20, 2008 2:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Sebastion! Enjoyed your column and also the debate which it engendered. As an Australian I am keenly interested in the outcome of this coming election, so I appreciate the varying points of view I find being aired in your feedback. Having just got rid of our resident idiot last year, we are hoping for better governance in the next few years despite the global uncertainty. Our current leader is not quite so willing to follow your resident idiot into adventures like Iraq, nor whatever stupidity McCain/Palin might dream up in the future to save their collective asses if elected. We have been staunch allies of America in the past and no doubt, will be in the foreseeable future. Might I suggest an I Q test for the four highest jobs in your leadership?
We are worried that another intellectually challenged individual be appointed to the Whitehouse. Neither we, nor you, can afford it. While not wishing to interfere with your election in any way, the discussion in your column would seem to indicate that Obama is a fairly obvious choice, given that he seems to have displayed a basic intelligence lacking in his opponents
Good luck America!

Posted by: valart | September 20, 2008 3:23 AM | Report abuse

Obama made a really bad deal when he agreed to take the Lincoln Savings/Keating misuse of power off the campaign table. Nothing could be more telling about McCain's feelings about bank/S and L oversight. Maybe a Swift Banking 527 will pick it up.

Posted by: 2sense | September 20, 2008 3:48 AM | Report abuse



Posted by: LTC US Army | September 20, 2008 4:30 AM | Report abuse

But, hey, he's gone from a "Deregulator" to a populist in 2 days so who knows what other tricks he has up his sleeve? LIAR

Posted by: Hey, did I mention I'm a LIAR???


Why should McCain's comments surprise anyone? After all, he did cite Teddy Roosevelt as his political role model and if you are a student of history, you know T. Roosevelt was one of the biggest flip-floppers and public sentiment wind catching populists there ever was.

Actually, the parallels between Teddy Roosevelt and John McCain are rather striking.

As Mark Twain wrote in 1905:

"We are insane, each in our own way, and with insanity goes irresponsibility. Theodore the man is sane; in fairness we ought to keep in mind that Theodore, as statesman and politician, is insane and irresponsible."

Posted by: Oh brother! | September 20, 2008 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Ya know what you all are missing here is that Mccain shouldn't be blaming Cox for the mess we are in when it comes to the economy. He should be blaming and firing himself as he was the one that pushed through all the deregulation of this industry between 1999 and 2001 when he was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. All you MCCain lovers should take pause and think about that.

Posted by: Mike | September 20, 2008 4:51 AM | Report abuse

McCain clearly showed reckless judgement on matters of government. The McCain camp is in a illusion, Carly F. pretty much put the nail on it about McCain and Palin, it's understandable that should would through a blow at Obama, but to diss her candidate? The McCain camp performance and interview for this position of commander in chief, executive officer, leader of the free world, leads much to be desire.

Posted by: Annette | September 20, 2008 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Magoo's been having a lot of Senior Moments lately. I wonder if he could pass a formal mental status examination. He should be examined by a certified neuropsychologist. Of course, we had Mr. Reagan (Alzheimers) as President, and many Americans thought he was great. But then again, half the population have IQs < 100. Maybe that's why we seem to elect the wrong people all the time.

Posted by: jbk | September 20, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

This assessment of McCain's maturity and judgement is surely correct. The guy is in way over his head. That said if Cox deserves to be fired it's for being a good, loyal Republican. Cox is a far right free market anti regulation conservative. That's why he was appointed the job after all. Once there he directed the SEC in accordance with his philosophies which you'd expect. Now when those philosophies have proved a disaster McCain, who also subscribes to the same philosophies, but is looking for a scapegoat starts attacking Cox. It's a measure of just how phony and irresponsible this guy is and totally unfit to be entrusted with the presidency.

Posted by: John | September 20, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

It's quite obvious he doesn't know what he's talking about.

Posted by: djk | September 20, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

McCain's behavior has not changed since he was at the Naval Academy.

He defies and dislikes authority, rules, etc. His anger against his preordained path to the Navy and his father and grandfather now focuses on people he doesn't agree with, and they are many. He doesn't treat others with respect when he erupts and, in fact, teaches them by these explosions not to disagree with him. He is not given to self-analysis, so his character and behavior remain the same as they were when he was 20. Life experience counts when the person learns from that experience. McCain's life experience has had no influence on him.

He doesn't understand computers, email, etc. He will be in a no-computer bubble, subject to the interpretations of aids. and he will explode when frustrated.

He has poor judgment--witness the lobbyists who are his advisers and dear friends, and witness the poor choice of a vice president, who has no experience, and witness his lack of consideration if he will survive his four-year term or not.

I am close to McCain's age, and I know how age can slow me down, intellectually and physically. Since I am of his generation, the Vietnam generation, I say I have had enough of my generation fighting that war over and over.

Finally, can we afford another cowboy? Can we afford another president who shoots from the hip? no matter how brave he was 50 years ago?

Posted by: julia | September 20, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Now that the Obama-Biden ticket is pulling ahead, the Palin-Drone ticket is getting more and more desperate. And desperation leads old Drone to say foolish things. Perhaps he now realizes that having picked an inexperienced novice as partner wasn't such a good idea after all.

Posted by: bodo | September 20, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

The problem with McCain is that he is completely reactive. Notice his action is to fire Cox after all the damage has been done. McCain's failings will lead this country into dangerous territories from which it will require all our fortitude and wealth to extricate. Bush's "gut decisions" are McCain's less than thought out statements are two sides of the same coin. The US taxpayers are paying the price for electing Bush. Let us hope we do not end up electing McBush next. We may end up in a war with Russia next!

Posted by: Oscar | September 20, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe that the President can fire SEC Commissioners.

Posted by: Marshall | September 20, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

McCain shoots from the hip and has retracted many statements so far in this campaign. His backing a Cheney position of confrontation by Saaskesvili got his head handed to him after going up on the bear. Rice and Gates have the informed opinion and although the UN is useless with Russian veto power, it does make a statement to the world. There was little else we can do with Russia holding the EU energy card. McCain was against Powell on Somalia, Shinseki on Iraq, Fallon on Iran, the Joints Chiefs on drawdown in Iraq and buildup in Afghanistan, same for the surge which I believe is the cause of the recent gains by the Taliban in the real war theater. Zadari is starting to push against the Taliban and we should do the same in Afghanistan. Even if it takes stripping Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Germany of troops.

Posted by: Jimbo | September 20, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

What's disturbing is that either McCain honestly thought a President can just fire the head of the SEC over policy choices, or he and his campaign cynically chose to pretend he could.

Either way that's troubling.

Posted by: Hillman | September 20, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Democrats for John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008.

Posted by: Lisa | September 20, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

McPain cannot tell the SEC from the FEC, Spain from Latin American, his 22 years in the Senate from his five years in Hanoi. He lies about everything because he can no longer tell lie from truth, dishonor from honor. It has to do with losing his marbles, not because he is an inveterate liar. That belongs to his VP beauty queen, Pain, whose enthusiastic lying works well with McShame's thundering rages. He is in a raging mood every day, thundering against Wall Street, hapless television interviewers, and of course against Oabama every minute. What a historical President he will make. For the first time we will have an enraged Commander-in-chief from day one. Get ready for bomb, world, bomb, and that trigger-finger on the button. We are all his friends, unless we are all his enemies. Vote McBush for 8 worse years of high noon.

Posted by: lin | September 20, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

McCain is back to his pre-convention form where gaffe-a-day was his protocol. This man makes GWB look like nobel scholar. Besides the Cox misfire, McCain couldn't figure out whether Spain was in latin America or Europe during a radio interview and it almost sounded like he no idea who their president was either...aya aya yea!! At least he has Palin whose foreign policy experience consists of being able to see Russia from her window.

Posted by: Ryan | September 20, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

McCain needs to misdirects our attention away from him and his own 30 year tenure in Washington D C by affixing blame and making a scapegoat of others. IN this way, we forget to ask just what it is he did to earn him his self-acclaimed title of 'maverick' and 'reformer.'

1. After the Iraq occupation went bad, he focused our wrath on Donald Rumsfeld; never mind that McCain, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, did not vocally support General Eric Shinseki's larger troop estimates; McCain did not ensure our troops had proper Kevlar vests and up armor Humvees; and he did never talked about the woeful conditions of Walter Reed and other Veteran facilities for wounded soldiers.

2. McCain went after the SEC director, but he never mentions the roles his friends and campaign associates played in weakening the federal regulatory and oversight functions. In the last ten years, Phil Gramm deregulated the banking industry; Joe Lieberman aided and abetted the insurance industry by altering the suditing practices that brought us the Enron debacle, runaway executive pay and outrageously lucrative stock options that incentivized CEOs to unbalance corporate books.

3. As Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, McCain allowed mega-mergers and takeovers of the "public airwaves" but did not provide broadband space for emergency radio traffic needed by first-responders in national disasters like 9/11 and Katrina. But he helped Rove and Bush focus your attention on the 'cut and run' Democrats who wanted to spend the billions making our own ports safe or giving the first-responders broadband access,

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

aaney8, You want McC to fire "the greedy no-limits," but I will BET that YOU are one of the "greedy believers" in the trickle down ideology that put the Republicans in power. YOU did this to us.
zaney8 wrote:
I have always enjoyed your excellent columns. However, in this I disagree. As a horrified taxpayer, I would welcome some strong-tempered Senator to fire some of the greedy no-limits Wall Street executives who feel they are above the law and cavalierly play God with the money entrusted to their stewardship. When they fail, they suffer nothing except a bailout by the people they cheated. Prision is too good for them, but none. will be emprisioned. They will, more likely, get golden parachutes and will go around lecturing on business practices. It stinks.

Posted by: zaney8 | September 18, 2008 2:27 PM

Posted by: Lynne | September 20, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't think people realize how dangerous Palin is. Read September 14, 2008 article by Jo Becker, Peter S Goodman and Michael Powell, subject: Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes.

Ms Palin who calls the Republican race the Palin/McCain Ticket just may be influencing Mr McCain more than his advisors.

What is in it for her....guess.

Posted by: Linda | September 20, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You will not be surprised to know that economic-policy pundit, Filomela Klorotes, was not disturbed by the financial market crisis. She is, after all, a professional who relies on taxpayers to socialize the losses resulting from unfocused, incompetent or dishonest corporate decision-makers.

According to Dr. Klorotes, the organization men, just like the politicians she knows so well, in due course learn how to shift the costs of bad choices to the public. In her opinion, that is how things operate in any kind of regime. Therefore, she concludes with her usual sang-froid, there should be no caviar for the general. Not even cakes and ale for that matter. You may not agree with Dr. Klorotes's conclusions, but you will probably see method in her reasoning.

Despite her ideological coherence, a plausible source of her inner peace, Dr. Klorotes is leaving today for the Amazon in order to soothe her rattled nerves. She confided to some of her advisees that she can no more stand the palinization of her idol's presidential campaign. The good Doctor, according to one of her assistants, is particularly sad because Senator John MacCain's handlers insist on selecting inadequate musical scores to enliven what she considers his political crusade. It is rumored that her favorite song, A Whiter Shade of Pale, did not receive from the campaign the attention it might deserve.

Posted by: G.P. Carvalho | September 20, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

The Bush administration will be looked upon as one of the worst in our nation's history. He brought his buddies from Texas and they got rich. Bush has been about secrecy and lack of responsible oversight, be it the billions lost to corruption in Iraq to the present problems on Wall St.

Posted by: Al | September 20, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

hey, I heard Palin/McCain would hire Jon Lovitz, the pathelogical LIAR for press secretary. Yeah! That's the ticket!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

jbk: Love the Mr. Magoo reference!Mr. Magoo and Stimpy it looks like to me!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

John wrote:
"What is funny is that you are outraged that a presidential candidate is pressing a sitting regulatory head. Yet there was not a peep when Obama sat with Iraqi officials and undermined a sitting President or bad mouthed the US in a foreign capital (Berlin)'
It's so depressing when false stories "stick" with partisan-minded voters. The New York Post story alledging that Sen. Obama asked the Iraqi officials to delay troop withdrawls was proven to be false - by both Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed who traveled with him and, believe it or not, representatives from the Bush administration. Now, if Bush administration officials support Sen. Obama's account of what happened, you know it was false! They were all very clear that Sen. Obama deferred on any issues that would be best addressed by the Bush administration. And, what sentence during Sen. Obama's speech in Berlin represented "talking against the U.S. to you???" Just because someone speaks about returning to our better nature and better relationships with the world community, it does not mean he is bad-mouthing the U.S. No one could hurt the image of the U.S. like Bush/Cheney have. John McCain seems to have the same impulsive, hair-trigger responses that Bush did, which would be more of the same. Compare Sen. Obama's measured response to the financial crisis versus Sen. McCain's reactive responses, which he then had to retract or reframe all week.

I know I'm probably wasting my breath, but just in case anyone has an open mind to look into the facts about the untruths you published in your note, I wrote this anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

To the repukeliscum morons infesting this board:

The President cannot fire the head of the SEC. It's not in his powers. So, all that McCain is doing is demonstrating that he, and you if you support him, are idiots.

Posted by: POed Lib | September 20, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

McCain is the most dangerous man in America. He is more of a threat than bin Laden, Russia, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and China combined. He wants to destroy our nation's economy while exporting war. He has flip flopped on every stance he had taken in the past. Now he wants us to believe he is a Socialist too. What ever happened to the 'deregulator'?
But don't you worry, Palin will lead to the promised land and the Rapture.

Posted by: Jim Harrington | September 20, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

jsalerno, I have decide that Obama reminds me of Bullwinkle anyway. Kinda makes sense since Palin loves to shoot moose! And why exactly does she really know so much about Russia? NATASHA!!! Boris/Natasha vs. Bullwinkle/Rocky in November. And now for something you'll really like!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Mallaby:

I agree with your all of your points on Senator McCain. Regrettably he: has a limited understanding of economics; has told the Wall Street Journal that he has an aversion to regulation; tends to shoot first and ask questions later (of the SEC Chair, Chris Cox); and does not know when to hold fire (offering a plan to address credit market and foreclosure problems instead of waiting for the plan of Sec. Paulson and Fed. Chair Bernanke and then commenting on it).

By the way, I have to give Sec. Paulson and Fed Chair Bernanke top marks for workig hard to get through this crisis. They are both very smart, cool-under-pressure and technically capable. Right now they are serving America well in this time of crisis. I am sure I reflect the views of many when I say "thank you".

Posted by: Charles | September 20, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Mallaby:

I am confused by your point on short selling.

Short selling is indeed an integral part of a capital market.

However, can you give any consideration to the fact that short-selling needs to have two rules on it:

1. No NAKED shorts - one should not be able to sell a stock without having a documented borrowing arrangement;

2. No SELLING ON DOWNTICKS - selling on a downtick is just "polong on" and allows a short seller to accelerate a trend that can be started (by that short seller)with a few sales of stock on which one is long at a quiet moment in the market's day.

A third point is that the short seller should have the specific approval of that shorting by the person or pension fund with the long position. In other words, stock should not/cannot be "borrowed" from the unsuspecting holder of shares who is not actively trading his or her account.

Posted by: Charles | September 20, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

It looks like the real "Backfire" here is
certainly not Sen John McCain or Gov Sarah
Palin but the Democratic Socialist/Marxist
Liberal Loser Fake Messiah Lying Coke Snorter/Drug Dealer,Peacenik,Corrupt to
The Hilt Barack Hussein Obama and Loud Mouth Old Fool Joe Biden,along with all the
various WAPO Obama Shills like this one,as

Posted by: Sandy5274 | September 20, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Do John and Cindy McCain remind anyone else besides me of Thurston Howell III and his wife Lovey on Gilligan's Island? Maybe Obama is a little like Gilligan and Biden is the Professor. I guess that would leave Palin to play either Ginger, she does wear lipstick, the Skipper,he's kind of a bulldog and Sarah was a fisherwoman, wasn't she?, or MaryAnne, small town girl. Hmm, I can't decide. Help me out my friends.

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

hey Sandy, you Rock! Now thats what I'm talkin' about!!! Too funny!!!!!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

hey Sandy, tell me WAPO is not an enthnic slur against Italians, please, cause I don't do bigotry and you would no longer ROCK if it was!!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Someone in these comments said that Obama, Dodd and another Democrat received the most money from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That assertion is de-bunked by the facts. Obama received about $126K from individual employees. Isn't it interesting that McCain says NOTHING about the $169K he got....all from Directors and the CEO. Who do you suppose might fight for real people? It certainly is not clueless McCain!!

Posted by: Maeve | September 20, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

What do the savings and loan meltdown of the 1980s and the mortgage meltdown of this day (2008) have in common?

1980s - George H.W. Bush (Bush I) as GOP president, Neil Bush (son of Bush I) associated with Silverado Savings & Loan (insolvent savings bank taken over by the U.S. government and bailed

out by the taxpayers), John McCain as a member of the Keating 5 who inteferred with an the Lincoln Savings S&L regulators as McCain tried to convince them to back off investigating

Keating's bank, Resolution Trust Corp. (RTC) bailing out the savings and loans that were operated by reckless, corrupt and/or greedy executives and campaign donors. John McCain received

campaign contributions and other goodies from Charles Keating, not to mention that Cindy McCain and her father was an investment partner with Keating in a real estate venture. Throw in

the Gulf War that was happening as the Silverado S&L mess was unfolding. I remembered that the Silverado scandal disappeared from new coverage after the war started.

2008 - George W. Bush (Bush II - son of George H.W. Bush) as GOP president, Andrew McCain (son of John McCain from the first marriage) mixed up with Silver State Bank of Nevada (insolvent

bank was taken over by the U.S. government and had seize the bank, bail it out and sell to State Bank of Nevada. The FDIC estimates that the resolution of Silver State Bank will cost the

deposit insurance fund $450 million - $550 million. Andrew McCain, an officer in Cindy McCain's company, resigned suddenly from that bank's Board of Directors for "personal reasons" just

before the FDIC seized the bank -- coincidently during the summer primary season after his father became the presumptive GOP nominee. John McCain, on the other hand, is still a member of

the infamous Keating 5 and against market regulation before he was for it (flip flop). RTC II is in discussions and on the way for yet another rescue of financial institutions that are

again operated by reckless, corrupt and/or greedy executives and campaign donors. Oh...don't forget that we have the Iraq War and the so-called War on Terror going on today and John

McCain is also knee-deep with advisors who once lobbied for AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other financial industry concerns, not to mention rogue (and want to be rogue) governments.

Just think that George W. Bush and McCain (who expressed agreement) wanted to privatize and mix the Social Security system with Wall Street. Don't forget that McCain once said that he

wanted to do the same for healthcare insurance as was done for banking. McCain said that "opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done

over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." Let's see here...I wonder whether McCain

still thinks that his healthcare insurance idea will fly with the voting public after this latest meltdown of the finance industry.

In the meantime, Jeb Bush is still waiting in the wings for his turn as president. see, everything old is new again. Literally.

Posted by: HIStory | September 20, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

maeve, you Rock! But McCain is not actually clueless, he has lots of clues, he just dosen't know how many. He will have his staff get right on it and get back to you!

Posted by: 2Funny | September 20, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree that short selling,SEC chief,Fed Reserve etc. not responsible. Those Politicians who have slowly eroded our regulations for the last 25 years are responsible. This begin with Reagan era and has gone on sense then. The reality is that the Republicans have been the majority and they have made smaller (i.e weaker government) their mantra. They only want government for Farm subsidies,oil company benefits and earmarks. They have dismantled the regs,underfunded the agencies,loaded them with incompetent political cronies and accepted millions in "contributions". This is not to say the democrats have clean hands,they did not resist these changes.
As noted, the banks,with strong regs are still alive and well.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 20, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

This guy, Cox, not only is doing his job, and can't be fired, even by the President since his job is like so many other regulatory possitions; they are appointed by the Congress and John McCain was one of those senators on the committee that nominated and approved of. Also, a few months back, McCain was actually considering Cox as a VP running mate - how's that for flip flop. And, all this deregulation is what McCain and Bush and all their cronies have been creating for the past 25 years.

How can Obama be responsible for something that was in motion before he was even in the Senate - you can't have it both ways - he can't be an inexperienced newcomer and an old time Washington insider at the same time.

Phil Gramm, we all know his take on the current situation, and he was one of McCain's BFFs, was the architect of this kind of deregulation and lobbying by the financial sector that created this mess, remember Enron - check out Gramm's role and his wife's role in that.

The neocons keep saying "less government" but now that our system is broken, and they broke it, how can we trust them to fix it - in the words of Bill Press on Air America Radio. They hope to dismantle our government by ensuring that everything will go wrong so they can privatize, just like what they have done to the military and hope to do with Social Security. Can you imagine what would happen if your entire retirement depended on this crazy market?

Posted by: Patricia | September 20, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

The fact remains that WAPO Obama & Other
Socialist Democrat Shills have all also now
combined to Smear both Sen John McCain and
Gov Sarah Palin,while at the same time very
openly attempting to portary the biggest
pair of frauds and lying empty suit draft
dodging cowards fake Messiah Barack Hussein
Obama and that creepy old big mouth loser
Joe Biden as the Second Coming and the Creator as well,and no wonder our country
is a mess and we are still fighting in Iraq
and Afghanistan and going broke at the same
time along with now bailing out the crooks
in big money operations white collar criminals from Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and all the rest and even Crazy "Trying to
Save The Planet Nutcase" Madame Speaker
Nancy Pelosi and her Do Nothing Democrats
and Messiah Barack Hussein Obama and Joe
Biden would waste 10's of Billions of Our
Taxpayer Dollars to bail out the Auto Industry and throw money away at the UN
and to Hell with suffering low income and
middle class Americans in their greedy and
desperate attempt to out spend village idiot George W Bush and Draft Dodger Cheney
and to get the Worst Possible President and
Vice President Messiah Barack Hussein Obama
and Loud Mouth Drunk Joe Biden Elected. And
that alone proves "Obama/Biden NOT The KIND

Independent Voters For McCain/Palin 2008

Posted by: Patty 2008 | September 20, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Whether it is Iraq or the proposed firing of SEC Chairman Cox, McCain has revealed that he shoots before he thinks!

Posted by: Kwaku Azar | September 21, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

What about the democrats involvement in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Dodd, Obama, and Frank are the three largest recipients of campaign contributions from these organizations.

Posted by: Steve | September 18, 2008 3:30 PM

The $$ BO has got was from workers, McCain has gotten like 160k vs about 12k for BO from Directors and up at FM/FM

Posted by: mcfail | September 21, 2008 2:46 AM | Report abuse

I find it insulting to my intelligence when people jump on Fannie and Freddie to divert the argument to Obama and the Dems. To be sure, some of the folks running F&F were responsible for some shady mortgages, but F&F is not the root of the problem. F&F and other corporations and institutions did exactly as they were encouraged to do by the Bush Administration's promotion of the Ownership Society. I copied the following from the White House website:

America's Ownership Society: Expanding Opportunities

"...if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America, and the more people have a vital stake in the future of this country."
-President George W. Bush, June 17, 2004

The Challenge: America's Changing Society

Life in America is changing dramatically, and President Bush believes that the Federal government should change too to help meet the challenges of our times. American families should have choices and access they need to affordable health care and homeownership; Americans should have the option of managing their own retirement; and small businesses, which employ over half of all workers, need lower taxes and fewer government mandates so they can grow.

Sound familiar? Sounds like a McCain stump speech to me.

So, F&F lent money with high risk of return in order to promote the Ownership Society paradigm and like most corporations in America they aimed to profit as much as possible from exchanges. Go figure, they operated like high rollers in our market economy in order to secure wealth. Isn't that always what happens in capitalism without regulation?

The long held GOP platform of deregulation is what lead to this crisis. Many Democrats, including President Clinton aided this cause by acquiescing and also due to the all too tempting influence of big money. Regulation is the answer. You'd think that the GOP which champions "law and order" with regard to individual citizens would have foreseen that greed and corruption would overtake these big corporations and would recognize that even corporations require policing.

Now lawmakers are battling over the bailout. The Dems are trying to include protections for the middle class as well as the corporations and the GOP are arguing against measures that help homeowners at risk of foreclosure. Is their disdain for the working class so great that they would rather see thousands of more foreclosures which would surely lead to further economic meltdown? It's time they put aside their hatred of entitlements (although note that McCain receives both Disability and Social Security benefits - a cherry on the top of his millions?) to aid in the stabilization of our economy. We can not just sit by idly as more and more people in our country fall into poverty while the CEO's of these corrupt corporations make out with millions as their payoff for their shady dealings.

The question to ask yourself is who do you trust to change this system? A man who has been in Washington for 26 years arguing for deregulation, whose most trusted economic adviser was responsible for the major deregulation legislation in the 90's which planted the seeds of this disaster, who was involved in the Keating 5 scandal and whose son was involved in an S&L scandal... or a man whose first work in the Senate was a sweeping ethics reform bill, who has worked in Washington for only 4 years, but who chose not to live there and has refused to move his campaign organization to DC, instead making the beltway folks go to Chicago, and who has refused to take money from Lobbyists and PACs and insisted that the DNC do the same... The choice seems pretty clear to me.

Posted by: Tane | September 21, 2008 4:18 AM | Report abuse

"I understand the economy. I was chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversights every part of our economy." --ignoring the fact that it is actually the Senate Banking Committee which is responsible for credit, financial services, and housing -- the very areas currently in crisis, CNBC interview, Sept. 16, 2008

On 11/19/93, McCain took to the Senate floor to support an early financial deregulation bill and decry what he called "the tremendous regulatory burden imposed on financial institutions." The guy who now claims to be the trustbusting Teddy Roosevelt back then lamented "the rapidly increasing regulatory burden imposed on banks is to cause them to devote substantial time, energy and money to compliance rather than meeting the credit needs of the community."

Ten years later, McCain was bragging to the Associated Press that "I have a long voting record in support of deregulation," and to CNN that "I am a deregulator. I believe in deregulation."

And, during this year's presidential campaign taking place in the shadow of financial meltdown, McCain was only months ago insisting on PBS that "we need less government [and] less regulation" and that "I'm always for less regulation."

Posted by: ripley | September 21, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I think a shake-up of the SEC is in order, as well as all the other regulatory/oversight agencies. They are NOT doing their jobs. I have helped people fill out complaints about banks in this foreclosure mtg mess and these legitimate complaints are NEVER taken seriously. These agencies are NOT looking out for the "little people" and McCain is right to symbolically remove Cox as chair.

Obama never has a clear strategy and continues to vacillate -- which the MSM likes to spin as "nuance".

Do you honestly think that the voters are going to be distracted from the facts that it was the runaway greed of Fannie/Freddie that precipitated this crisis? Let's be real about that. Yes, it was fueled by greed on Wall Street, but also greed on the part of radical "community organizing" groups like ACORN and LaRaza that were given huge sums of public money to advance their class and race wars. The loosening of lending guidelines was irresponsible and driven by exactly the type of politics that Obama continues to perpetutate.

We need LESS of Obama's race and class wars and more common sense.

There is greed and blame on both sides, but I feel the Dems are well ahead on shameless pandering, greed and corruption.

Hmmmm, let's recap:
-Obama's ties to Fannie/Freddie money to look the other way
-Obama's ties to ACORN
-Jefferson's freezer of cash
-Charlie Rangel's current ethics problems
-Obama's "dear friend" Kwame Kilpatrick moving out of the mayor's mansion in Detroit.

As Obama would say, "Enough".

Posted by: Karen S | September 21, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Anon writes:

"McCain is way out of his league and he quite simply lacks the conceptual tools and sophistication to deal with the present financial crisis."

Not to worry. McBush read Greenspan's book(allegedly) and he'll have the expertise of Phil "whiner" Gramm, Meg online flea market Whitman and Carly golden parachute Fio-rino to fall back on.

Posted by: MA | September 21, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, lets recap:

McBush and wife Cindy cavorting with Charles Keating.

McBush voting against the Bush tax cuts, before voting for them.

McBush saying the fundamentals of the economy were strong on a recent Monday morning, then singing an entirely different tune by that afternoon. And yet another aria by the Tuesday morning talk shows.

Is McBush just confused, having a senior moment or five, truly as clueless about econmics as he claimed (perhaps more so) ?

Vote McSame for four more years of the pain !

Posted by: MA | September 21, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Now he says that Cox is a good guy.

Posted by: McCain: "Never mind" | September 21, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

McCain, McCain, McCain.....

God Bless us All.

Posted by: workinwithu | September 22, 2008 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Mccain slammed again by conservatives. He's dead in the water.

Posted by: psr | September 22, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

After the Enron debacle, Bush appointed a knowledgable securities industry executive and hundreds of millions in fines were imposed for the shenanigans played by the investment banks. He was replaced by Congressman Cox, a San Diego politician whose congressional colleague is in prison. Until last week Cox permitted naked short selling, a form of illegal manipulation of the market, to go unchecked. Why does the Post allow a load of trash such as Mallaby's column to be published under its name?

Posted by: reformthesystem | September 22, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

From 'Fact Of The Matter" at

Does the press indeed fear McCain....

Sunday, September 21, 2008
Does the Press Indeed Fear McCain and the Rebushagain Party?
As you will note in almost every POST, one question I continuously ask myself is this, "why does the press suppress the TRUTH about John McCain and not report on it? Why is the press that he receives almost 70% positive or apologetic or advice for him, when in fact the things that he does are not very positive at all. His stances against a woman's right to choose, his desire to overturn Roe vs Wade, his desire and agreement with conservative talker Michael Medved on doing away with the Department of Education, doing away with the Department of agriculture, (side note:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes the $300 billion farm bill and subsidies for ethanol, positions that both supporters and opponents say might cost him votes he needs in the upper Midwest this November.His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, is making a more traditional regional pitch: He favors the farm bill approved by Congress this year and subsidies for the Midwest-based ethanol industry. McCain instead has promised to open new markets abroad for farmers to export their commodities.In his position papers, McCain opposes farm subsidies only for those with incomes of more than $250,000 and a net worth above $2 million. But he’s gone further on the stump.“I don’t support agricultural subsidies no matter where they are,” McCain said at a recent appearance in Wisconsin. “The farm bill, $300 billion, is something America simply can’t afford.”...side note ends)

Which is definitely a sign that he does desire to get rid of the Department of Agriculture. He opposes $300 million dollars for American agriculture needs, yet from day one he has supported this quagmire and occupation of Iraq. I'm definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm far from the dullest. He stated that it was really those farmers with $250,000 dollars of earnings or with farms worth over 2 million dollars, yet, he wants to make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% permanent. So on the one hand if they are rich farmers give them no tax breaks but on the other hand if they are rich business owners (corporate) give them tax breaks? That's a tad confusing wouldn't you say? A sort of speaking out of both sides of the mouth or speaking with a forked tongue, if you will....This just more evidence that as Senator Kerry put it at the Democratic National Convention that, "Candidate McCain needs to finish the debate with Senator McCain,"...John McCain needs to finish the debate with him self. McCain is 2 faced.

McCain also agrees with Michael Medved's idea to get rid of the Department of Health care, Isn't that special? Problem with all these facts you will not hear a peep about in the press. Just as the Corporate Media kept it silent when it was discovered that Senator McCain's Campaign begin sending out millions of absentee ballots to guess who? Barack Obama supporters. This storey surfaced the first week of September and was first reported by a stand-in on the Tom Hartman show on Green960, the following day Newsweek reported it.

Here is an article the mainstream press refused to touch...

Monday, September 15. 2008
McCain's Absentee Ballot Mailer Fiasco Spreads - Could Disqualify Some Voters
Reports from around the country advise that John McCain's campaign has sent confusing or incorrect absentee ballot request forms to voters in ten states at least. Affected so far are Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon (reported by blogger, not confirmed) Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin so far. In each state, the mailers have a different error, in any of these cases, the voter could be disenfranchised by the error. In at least one state a voter could disqualify themselves or be vulnerable to election challenges if they mailed these forms in. Mailers sent to Wisconsin voters are encouraging voters to send their applications to clerks in communities where they do not live. If you receive an absentee ballot request form from the McCain campaign ( or any private entity) and you do want to vote absentee, then instead check with your County Board of Elections to get the correct information.

Florida Voter Caging Warning: McCain mailer w/absentee ballot requests September 9. 2008. Sasha Rethati of "Sound off with Sasha" on WGCU radio warns "snow birds" about a big caging scam in Florida. McCain mailers are sending people unsolicited absentee ballot requests. These mailers can be used to remove voters from the rolls.


Fraudulent Absentee Ballot Requests in Iowa? by mshakir1 Fri Sep 12, 2008 (blog, not confirmed independently)

Several days ago, I received an interesting piece of mail from John McCain 2008. It was a vote-by-mail application, which I thought was curious because I have never registered as a Republican or donated money to his campaign...After opening the application placard, I noticed that the application was asking for the usual info (name, address, date of birth, etc.), but was unusual was what else it was asking for.

At the bottom of the application, there were 3 check boxes that could be filled out, any one of which could serve to prove one's identity. One of the check boxes was for an OHIO driver's license number. This was curious for me, because as you have probably guessed by now, I live in IOWA. Then I looked at the back of the application card, and the mailing address was for the Director of the board of elections in Columbus, OHIO.


Although many other states have moved to give voters the right to cast their ballots in advance of Election Day, either in person or by mail, there is no provision for it under Pennsylvania law.

...An absentee ballot cast under improper circumstances — by someone who just didn’t want to be bothered to leave the house, for instance — could be subject to challenge and disqualification, she said.


Be careful if you receive unrequested absentee ballot application WDBJ7 September 10, 2008

"Why is a Republican, Democrat, anybody sending out an unsolicited request?" wonders Murdock.

McCain's mailer creates controversy By MARK PITSCH 608-252-6145 FRI., SEP 12, 2008

The state elections agency is investigating complaints about a massive campaign mailing Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign has directed toward Wisconsin Democrats and other voters.

... in some cases, the incorrect clerk's address is printed on the application, leading some Democrats to wonder if the Arizona senator's campaign is deliberately trying to get them to apply for absentee ballots in places where they aren't eligible to vote.

"They're trying to knock me off the rolls," said Democrat Beverly Jambois, of Middleton. "I can't tell you how upsetting it is to me. This is how you win elections? By disenfranchising other voters?"

Her household received the flier this week addressed to her husband, Robert, a lawyer for the state Department of Transportation. The couple are registered to vote in Middleton, but the absentee ballot application was addressed to the city clerk's office in Madison....

A Wisconsin paper calls upon McCain campaign to set things right:

McCain camp must resolve mailing fiasco The Capital Times. An editorial — 9/15/2008

When it comes to the right to vote, it is not enough after a dramatically inappropriate move to say, "Oops."

The campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain has dispatched a mass mailing to Wisconsin voters -- including many Democrats and liberals who are not likely to be McCain backers -- that encourages eligible voters to send their applications for absentee ballots to clerks in communities where they do not reside.

Following the instructions of the McCain mailing could lead voters to run afoul of election rules and regulations -- and that might lead to the disqualification or even the prosecution of an innocent citizen for supposed wrongdoing.

UPDATE at 9:12 pm CDT September 15, 2008

State Republican Mailer Under Fire As Unfair Confusion Tactic Mailer Directs Voters To Return Absentee Ballot To Wrong Address

MADISON, Wis. -- Absentee ballot mailers are under fire from Democrats.
Democrats believe a mistake by the Republican Party could be an effort to mislead or even disenfranchise voters. More than a 100,000 mailers from the John McCain campaign were sent out with an application for an absentee ballot. The problem is that the mailers were sent to a particular address, but if the voters returned the application it was addressed to another city.

The state Republican Party called it an honest mistake......YEAH RIGHT, and John McCain's PROPAGANDA ADS are honest mistakes right? 26 honest mistakes in a row, WOW, either McCain and his camp are suffering from a group experienced bout of dementia and Alzheimer's or THEY ARE CROOKS AND LIARS. Yet the press refuses too report these huge stories that reveal the BASE CONNIVING and SCHEMING character of Candidate McCain. They keep it covered up.


Media Matters reported Friday September 19, this piece about the press and it's fear of McCain....

Despite attacks on media by McCain campaign, case studies show disparate coverage in McCain's favor

Summary: The media have for months reported complaints by the McCain campaign that they have favored his opponent in their coverage of the presidential race, while making little attempt to assess the accuracy of those complaints or to confirm or refute them. But in a review of the media's coverage of two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. Barack Obama and two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. John McCain -- specifically Obama's ties to Bill Ayers and Antoin Rezko, and McCain's dealings with donors whom he reportedly benefited and his association with G. Gordon Liddy -- Media Matters found that the five major newspapers and the three evening network news broadcasts have frequently mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko, but have rarely mentioned McCain's dealings with donors and have ignored his association with Liddy.

Here's one more.....

CBS' Reid aired McCain attacking Obama for purportedly being in the "Washington culture of lobbying" without noting McCain's own lobbying ties

Summary: On the CBS Evening News, Chip Reid uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain claiming that the "crisis on Wall Street, my friends, started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence-peddling, and [Sen. Barack Obama] was right square in the middle of it." However, Reid did not mention McCain's own ties to the "Washington culture of lobbying." According to a Mother Jones report, "at least 83" McCain aides, policy advisers, or fundraisers "have in recent years lobbied for the financial industry McCain now attacks."

Here's just one more example....


"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser

The media's counterproductive focus on negative campaigning

It's getting awfully hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without seeing a news report about the presidential campaign turning negative. It often seems the media consider the tone of the campaign more important than the collapsing economy, the war, our continued failure to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and the Bush administration's apparent disdain for the Constitution -- combined.

Before we go any further, let me be clear: I'm not saying that negative campaigning isn't as bad as the media makes it out to be.

I'm saying negative campaigning is essential to American democracy.

See, for voters to make good decisions, they have to have good information. And, unfortunately, candidates aren't in the habit of telling voters things they've done (or plan to do) that are unpopular, or of running ads about the flaws in their own proposals. And since voters need to know the candidates' weaknesses as well as their strengths, and the disadvantages to their proposals, they need somebody to talk about those things.

Oh, sure, we could rely on the media to do that. How have they been doing lately? Anybody think they did a good job of assessing the candidates' relative weaknesses in 2000? Of poking holes in the Bush administration's tragically flawed arguments for the Iraq war? Of putting down the doughnuts and barbecued ribs long enough to pin John McCain down on how long he's willing to keep fighting in Iraq, what, exactly, he plans on doing to Social Security, how he would pay for his tax cuts and wars, or how much you have to make in order for him to consider you "rich"?

Anyone who thinks we can rely on the media to tell us what the candidates don't want us to know should head over to the Swampland blog, where Time reporter Michael Scherer insists that it is unfair to bring up John McCain's lengthy history of voting and speaking in favor of Social Security privatization. Scherer says we should instead simply look at the position statements on McCain's campaign Web page (statements that actually don't provide any reason to think that McCain no longer supports privatization, though Scherer seems to think they do. See my posts on Media Matters' new blog, County Fair, for further explanation.)

So, we need candidates to engage in negative campaigning -- that is, in criticizing their opponents' positions, experience, and previous performance. That's far different from dishonest campaigning. Or from tactics that cross the line from "negative" to downright sleazy. Those tactics should be called out by the news media, and frequently. But the media's reflexive focus on simply "negative" campaigning is unnecessary and often counterproductive.

It is unnecessary because the question of whether a candidate or campaign is "too negative" is a visceral question, not a logical one. Voters don't need reporters to try to measure negativity for them or to keep reminding them of it. If something is too negative for them, voters will have a visceral reaction against it; if not, they won't. Either way, they are perfectly capable of coming to that conclusion on their own. (With the important exception that if a campaign is running a viciously negative below-the-radar campaign, such as a whispering campaign like the one George W. Bush waged against John McCain in 2000, voters can benefit from the media shining a light on those tactics.)

What voters can't easily do on their own is assess whether ads are true, false, or somewhere in between. That's where the media can be useful. They have the resources -- and, ideally, some expertise -- to assess the validity of claims made in campaign ads. That's how reporters can actually be useful -- by doing what the voters can't do for themselves, and doing it well.

Unfortunately, the news media often lump true criticism together with dishonest or sleazy criticism, as though all negative campaigning is equal, and equally bad. This week, a study concluded that a larger percentage of Barack Obama's ads since the political conventions have been "negative," bringing another round of news reports that drew false equivalence between very different tactics.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project looked at a single week's worth of ads in determining that 56 percent of McCain ads and 77 percent of Obama ads were "negative." Aside from the dangers in drawing conclusions from such a small sample of campaign ads, the findings are of limited value given that the project made no effort to assess the veracity or fairness of the ads in question. In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the study counted any ad that so much as mentioned the opponent's name as "negative."

I suppose it might be mildly interesting to know that 56 percent of John McCain's ads mention Barack Obama, or that 77 percent of Obama's ads mention McCain. But it doesn't really tell us anything useful. How did they mention each other? Did the ads criticize policy positions or personality? Were they honest? The answers to those questions are essential to any meaningful assessment of the candidates' campaign tactics. (If you do find the project's findings compelling, you should keep in mind that in July, based on a much larger sample, the project found that more of McCain's ads were negative.)

Despite the study's failure to even attempt to assess the validity of the ads it declared "negative," several news organizations hyped the findings. Worse, some suggested the finding that more of Obama's ads have been negative undermines the recent conclusions of many impartial observers that the McCain campaign ads have been more dishonest than those of the Obama campaign.

The New York Post, for example, reported that the results of the study "clash with recent media coverage accusing McCain of distorting Obama's record in ads." Nonsense. That's like saying that the fact that this is September clashes with the fact that it is Friday.

On Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews also touted the study:

The McCain camp's been getting a lot of attention for some recent hard-hitting ads. In fact, the Wisconsin Advertising Project, a group that studies politics ads nationwide, deems that 56 percent of the ads aired by the McCain campaign last week were negative. That's 56 percent of McCain's ads, negative.

But here's a number that may surprise you. How many of Obama's ads in that same time period last week were negative? Seventy-seven percent -- an indication, perhaps, that Obama intends to come out swinging -- or these are the next couple months. He's going to be doing it. Nearly four out of five ads Obama aired last week were negative -- tonight's "Big Number."

But the more significant "attention" McCain has been getting has not been for negative ads -- it has been for false ads. Matthews disappears that criticism, suggesting that the criticism of McCain has been for negativity rather than dishonesty.

On Race to the White House, Matthews' colleague David Gregory said, "Obama says he wants a new kind of politics. Why is he running more negative ads than Senator McCain?" Later, Gregory played an Obama ad accusing McCain of dishonest attack ads -- but look at how Gregory characterized the Obama ad:

GREGORY: That is a new campaign ad from the Obama campaign. It is out this week, taking a swipe at John McCain for his negative ads. Take a look at this, a new study from the Wisconsin Advertising Project says that it is Obama slinging the most mud on TV; 77 percent of Obama's ads after the GOP convention were negative, compared to 56 percent of McCain's.

No. Obama's ad took a "swipe" at McCain for dishonest ads, not merely for negative ads. By changing Obama's criticism, Gregory was able to use the Wisconsin study to paint him as a hypocrite. And note the phrasing Gregory used to describe the study's findings -- the loaded phrase "it is Obama slinging the most mud on TV." Remember, the study made no effort whatsoever to assess the content of the ads; it simply counted as negative any mention of the opponent's name. On that flimsy basis, Gregory accuses Obama of "slinging the most mud" -- even as the consensus among neutral observers has been that McCain is leveling more false attacks.

Lumping all negative statements together as "slinging mud," without differentiating between true claims and false (or fair and unfair) doesn't inform viewers; it is a false equivalence that serves only to advantage truly dishonorable attacks by making them appear no worse than run-of-the-mill factual criticism. It plays into the hands of liars and smear merchants. And it penalizes honest and fair criticisms -- though such criticisms are essential to the voters' ability to make informed decisions.

What does this say to us about the CORRUPT CORPORATE MEDIA? There is obviously an agenda being pursued here...The facts state this, McCain is being aided by a CORPORATE AGENDA WHILE HE STANDS ON THE STUMP and pretends to condemn the very ones who hold his purse strings.

Conclusion, I don't think the media ands the press are afraid of McCain no to the contrary, they have thrown a full throttled support behind, Chris Matthews, David Gregory, The Wisconsin Advertising Project (biased agenda), The New york Post, John McCain and the Rebushagain party give you a full throttled SHOUT of, "THANKS FOR UNABASHEDLY SUPPORTING US"

These Press corps and Anchorman or in need of an unequival reproof, censoring, and sanctions

Posted by: need4trth | September 22, 2008 3:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey folks, stop complaining about smears against McCain and Palin. How can anyone tell if a stain has been smeared?

Posted by: 2Funny | September 22, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

I would feel better if McCain suggested firing Bush and Cheyney or all of those neo-cons that are at the heart of his own campaign!!!

Posted by: CG | September 22, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Mccain is a lie machine.

Mccain should just fire himself with all the garbage he is putting out. This guy do not know what is going tobe his next line in a speech that's how out of touch he is. He has never read the speech he is giving and probably will not remember what he spoke because they are not his thooughts but words put together by corrupt lobyists.

Posted by: tony | September 22, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Check out his rise to glory below:

Obama 1996 - 2000
Senator Obama: promoted to Senior Lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. Elected to the Illinois Senate. Sponsored more than 800 bills. In 2000, lost a Democratic primary run for the U.S. House of Representatives to four-term incumbent Bobby Rush by a margin of two to one.

What mattered was that, beginning on Jan. 2, 1996, his campaigners began challenging thousands of petition signatures the other candidates in the race had submitted in order to appear on the ballot. Thus Mr. Obama would win his state Senate seat, months before a single vote was cast. Note that when he finished he was the ONLY democrat on the ballot. Republican candidate had to step aside for political reasons.

The 800 bills he ALLEDGEDLY sponsored were actually submitted by other democrats and all OBAMA did was date and stamp. He voted present 130 times on bills that would require him to step out of the box. Gained a reputation that the ‘then’ governor would make him a United States Senator.

2001 - 2004
Obama: reelected in 2002 and became chairman of the Illinois Senate's Health and Human Services Committee.
Initially the committee was looking at Health Care for all residents of Illinois. After accepting funding from insurance lobbyists he insured that universal healthcare became merely a policy goal instead of state policy, Basically learned how to again use his power to benefit himself at the expense of doing what was right for the residents of Illinois.

Publicly spoke out against the invasion of Iraq BEFORE the congressional authorization in 2002, and then again before the actual invasion in 2003. This was a given speech that sounded great but was actually a speech that was critical of the war BECAUSE it was distracting from the real issue regarding the black community in the United States. (Note he was given ORDERS by one of his Wealthy Supporters in Chicago to SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE WAR. Being a good Chicago Politiocian, he naturally followed the orders and took credit for speaking out.. but not on his own.)

Wrote and delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
The Black Elite in the DNC decided along with the good ole boys… that to put a Democrat President in the White House in 2008 that they needed to attract the black vote… and that a Black Harvard Lawyer named Obama was the one that they needed. He was seen as an upcoming star because he won the Illinois US Senate Seat. (See the real facts of how he won by such a large number.) No one knew the Republican Candidate)

November 2004: elected to the US Senate, receiving over 3.5 million votes, more than 70% of total.

Now this is an interesting election even by Chicago standards. Seems that the front runner (Hull) mysteriously become involved in a domestic abuse trial and withdrew his name from the race. (Sounds like the Chicago Political Machine may have dropped a dime on Blair.) So Obama had a cake walk to get the democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate Seat. (Reminds me of how he won his State Senate seat by having his legal team disqualify his opponent’s signature petitions. At the same time Jack Ryan won the Republican Nomination, but announced his withdrawal from the race — four days after the Chicago Tribune succeeded in persuading a California court to release previously-sealed child custody records containing embarrassing allegations by Ryan's ex-wife. Now how is that for being one LUCKY politician. Obama walked into the US Senate Seat, when the Republicans brought in the little known Keyes to run as a Republican. Now it looks like the Chicago Political Machine along with Ayers, Jackson, Rezko Wright and the rich and wealthy Black community in Chicago loaded the deck in Obama’s favor.

Also note that for a 'white middle-class individual to be considered for entrance into Harvard' they would have to be number one in their High School class. Be the top student at Occidental just to get into COLUMBIA, and the odds of them getting into HARVARD LAW school ARE SO GREAT.. they probably would win the lottery first.

Yet Obama has us believe (on FAITH) that he performed so brilliantly that he (had a 'B' average in High School) performed so brilliantly at Occidental, that he got into Columbia, and that he EARNED a slot into Harvard Law School. Then he and HARVARD expect us to believe that he PERFORMED SO BRILLIANTLY ACADEMICALLY that he EARNED his right to be EDITOR of THE HARVARD LAW REVIEW. (Now I challenge the Obama Campaign and any supporter to valid that he was the BEST CANDIDATE excluding the fact that he was BLACK instead of BI-RACIAL.)

Amazing that there are no thesis papers, no legal briefs, no academic records, no scholarships received, no national test scores, no IQ scores, no legal briefs from his teaching in Chicago, or ANY LEGAL writings that was required of Editors of the Review... UNTIL Obama was selected.
I suspect that he received 'special' grants, scholarships, academic treatment not because he was brilliant... but because of the fact that these institutions... needed to promote black scholars at the expense of better qualified female, and white male candidates. ( I would hope that somewhere, someplace there would be documentation that would prove me wrong. )

And the amazing thing is... the MSM does not question any of this.

Shame on the MSM and shame on the Obama Supporters that BELIEVE in his Lies.

Remember he is spending over 600 million of YOUR dollars to BUY each and every American Vote that he recieves. Amazing to think that you are being BOUGHT and selling out OUR Country to the RICH AND POWERFUL.

Posted by: Bob Miller | September 23, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company