James Pethokoukis on why McCain won’t hammer Obama on Fannie and Freddie, ACORN and the Community Reinvestment Act:
1) It is a complicated argument, and McCain is not good at making complicated arguments, not even about earmarks. (Note, additionally, his lack of defense of the war in Iraq during his debate with Obama. Amazing.)
2) There is a racial component to criticism of the Community Reinvestment Act that can make it sound like you are scapegoating minorities for Wall Street’s problems.
3) The campaign believes McCain’s time is better spent talking about taxes and energy and healthcare. Really.
Responses (not to Pethokoukis, but to the McCain camp if this is true):
1) It’s not that complicated. McCain called for stronger oversight of Fannie and Freddie in 2005, but Senate Democrats (including Obama) blocked reform. Between 2005 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie bought up a trillion dollars worth of subprime mortgages. Some they kept, some they packaged and sold to Wall Street.
Thus Fannie and Freddie enabled and spread the contagion that melted our financial system, while the Democrats enabled Fannie and Freddie over John McCain’s objections. Conservatives cannot afford to lose the argument over what caused this crisis. One would think McCain would feel that pressure more acutely than most.
2) Fine. Steer clear of the CRA and focus on Fannie and Freddie.
3) Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time?