In Iowa today, John McCain discussed the causes of the financial crisis in some detail, noted his history of calling for Fannie and Freddie reform, proposed some further moves (like the creation of a mortgage and financial institutions trust and, in classic McCain fashion, firing the chairman of the SEC), and then laid into Obama’s response to the crisis:
Senator Obama talks a tough game on the financial markets but the facts tell a different story. He took more money from Fannie and Freddie than any Senator but the Democratic chairman of the committee that regulates them. He put Fannie Mae’s CEO who helped create this disaster in charge of finding his Vice President. Fannie’s former General Counsel is a senior advisor to his campaign. Whose side do you think he is on? When I pushed legislation to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Senator Obama was silent. He didn’t lift a hand to avert this crisis. While the leaders of Fannie and Freddie were lining the pockets of his campaign, they were sowing the seeds of the financial crisis we see today and enriching themselves with millions of dollars in payments. That’s not change, that’s what’s broken in Washington.
Senator Obama has never made the kind tough reform we need today. His idea of reform is what his party leaders in Congress order him to do. We tried for bipartisan ethics reform and he walked away from it because his bosses didn’t want real change.
When AIG was bailed out, I didn’t like it, but I understood it needed to be done to protect hard working Americans with insurance policies and annuities. Senator Obama didn’t take a position. On the biggest issue of the day, he didn’t know what to think. He may not realize it, but you don’t get to vote present as President of the United States. While Senator Obama and Congressional leaders don’t know what to think about the current crisis, we know what their plans are for the economy. Today Senator Obama’s running mate said that raising taxes is patriotic. Raising taxes in a tough economy isn’t patriotic. It’s not a badge of honor. It’s just dumb policy. The billions in tax increases that Senator Obama is proposing would kill even more jobs during tough economic times. I’m not going to let that happen.
That’s more like it, and especially the last part. Quite apart from specific reactions to one Treasury decision or another, the general approaches of the McCain and Obama economic proposals give McCain a huge opportunity now. Obama’s economic plan, which increases the tax burden on employers, was designed with a different economic situation in mind and is exceedingly ill-suited to this crisis. McCain’s plan, which focuses on economic growth and jobs, is a much better fit. This wasn’t apparent a few weeks ago. It is now.