Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The gloves are off

I was hoping he'd go there. After worrying that Obama would wait for someone else to attack McCain on his role in the Keating 5 Scandal, yesterday he launched a website devoted solely to that topic. From the site:
The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain's attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late '80s and early '90s. John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.

The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal -- the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president. At the heart of the scandal was Keating's Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors' money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry -- actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers. When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating's failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion.

The Keating scandal is eerily similar to today's credit crisis, where a lack of regulation and cozy relationships between the financial industry and Congress has allowed banks to make risky loans and profit by bending the rules. And in both cases, John McCain's judgment and values have placed him on the wrong side of history.
And here's the video:

Awesome. It was a smart move to save it till yesterday, early October as well as the night before the debate. It also might save him from the full on bullshit parade that McCain started yesterday, realizing that unless something massive happens, he will lose the election. The interesting part will be how the media handles these dueling attacks. The usual pattern that happened in election after election seems to be as follows:
Republicans launch an attack campaign that is either based entirely on lies or a disgusting smear (or if you're John McCain, you can do both. Mavericky!)

The Democratic candidate responds with a factual attack on something issue based, but not as eye catching as the lie or the smear.

Media sees both attacks and decries "negative campaigning" and "partisanship", while ignoring that one of the attacks is based in truth, while one is entirely false.
The media hasn't adopted a narrative on this stuff yet, so tonight's debate will probably determine that. But they didn't call McCain or Palin on the lies apon lies from the first debates, so why start now?

This situation is begging for Barack to force their hand with an unexpected reference to the smears and a demand that McCain renounce them. It truly is a win-win situation. You either make McCain agree to a promise that will be broken, or you make him look like the opportunistic hack that he has become, further alienating anyone who once liked him. And either way, if it gets the media discussing the absence of truth in McCain's smears, then you've won the battle already.


  1. The evidence, from the admittedly “Liberal” New York Times, as well as the very “Liberal” PBS Online News Hour PROVES that this pathetic and unfounded attempt to smear McCain with the crimes of Keating is unmitigated BUNK!

    1) Although McCain had dealings with Keating (who was a constituent in McCain’s district), McCain was NOT connected in ANY WAY to the CRIMES committed by Keating (and even The New York Times ADMITTED IT).

    2) McCain did NOT support, IN ANY WAY, Keating’s request for regulators to ignore his violations (much less eliminate the regulations).

    3) In FACT, even the New York Times admits that the Keating scandal ONLY involved Democrats (which is precisely why the Dems were so DESPERATE to lynch the ONLY Republican they could even REMOTELY connect to Keating)!

    Quoting the New York Times:

    “The special counsel to the Senate Ethics Committee has recommended that the panel clear two of the five Senators under investigation for their links to the savings and loan debacle, Congressional officials said today.

    In a confidential report submitted to the committee on Sept. 10, the special counsel, Robert S. Bennett, concluded that there was not adequate evidence to merit a full-scale investigation of John Glenn, an Ohio Democrat, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican, several officials said.”

    “If Mr. McCain is dropped from the investigation, the political implications could be significant: He is the only Republican under scrutiny, and Republicans could portray the scandal as a Democratic one.”

    4) Quoting the very “Liberal” PBS Online News Hour:

    “The Senate Ethics Committee concluded that Glenn and McCain's involvement in the scheme was minimal and dropped the charges against them. In August 1991, the committee ruled that the other three [DEMOCRATIC] senators had acted improperly in interfering with the Federal Home Loan Banking Board's investigation.”

    Click here for the UNDENIABLE FACTS on what REALLY caused the current housing mess (AND the Keating related S&L mess).

  2. @sbvor:

    If you read this blog, you'll see that none of us here place much trust in any particular mainstream source of news, liberal or conservative. Consequently, the idea is usually to read as much as possible about the issue, from as many different sources. In that respect, thanks for posting a link to your blog, and for your opinions about the McCain-Keating affair.

    But there is a vital issue that you're ignoring: McCain has only recently began to deny culpability the Keating scandal, having previously described his actions as "improper" and "the biggest mistake I made in my life." In fact, his reaction to the affair is precisely the root of his "maverick," "reformer" reputation. Everyone makes mistakes, and McCain's weren't so bad in this case – particularly since the influence of lobbyists on politicians is basically universal. But his denial, and any arguments against his culpability, merely underscore an inability to take responsibility for poor judgment.

    As far as the current housing crisis is concerned, the vast majority of anyone in office over the last half-century bears some blame, though really the blame rests with a financial industry too focused on quarterly profits to look beyond its own nose. From what I understand, though, a fair bit of the fatal deregulation took place during the Clinton administration.

    By the way, after taking a look at your blog: can you explain the whole anti-big-government thing to me? I've never been able to understand why it makes any sense to talk about government in terms of size when the reasons that motivate its size change constantly.

    @ JJ:

    On a purely tactical/political level, the Keating unleash was amazing: keeping totally silent until McCain dragged things down into the muck, then hitting back hard when they started talking about Ayers. I mean, damn. That is a cold, tight-playing campaign.

  3. To quote the O-man himself,

    "We don't throw the first punch, but we'll throw the last."