Monday, September 22, 2008

This “fundamental” is whining…

After Senator McCain declared the fundamentals of the economy were strong last week, he first defended his comment by saying that by “fundamentals” he meant us workers (first time I’ve been referred to as a “fundamental” – sort of makes me feel important) and then, finally, after the heavens opened up and Bernanke and Paulson rained down reality on the economic picture he not only conceded that a crisis had begun, but he also said the following at the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce: “We've heard a lot of words from Senator Obama over the course of this campaign…But maybe just this once he could spare us the lectures, and admit to his own poor judgment in contributing to these problems. The crisis on Wall Street started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence peddling, and he was right square in the middle of it."

Huh? The political rhetoric from both sides has sometimes made me sick, enough to make me wish that Michael Bloomberg was running on a third party ticket, but McCain’s claim is so egregious I just can’t be silent.

To blame Obama while McCain has been in Congress for 26 years and was one of five United States Senators comprising the so-called "Keating Five" scandal during the 1980s is just plain unconscionable. He was also the former chairman and a present member of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce (although this committee does not have responsibility for the financial services industry) and until just last week has been an staunch advocate of deregulating financial markets, particularly supporting Senator Phil Gramm’s bill in 1999 which deregulated some restrictions on the financial services sector. Gramm has become a lead economic advisor for McCain’s presidential run, the same person who called us “fundamentals” a bunch of whiners, and the only economic problem we have is a “mental recession” (which he naturally blamed on the media, a favorite tactic McCain et al are using). In 1999 Obama was in the Illinois Senate and a Senior Lecturer teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School (as an aside, read the interesting article on his teaching years from yesterday’s New York Times

So how exactly is Obama responsible for the present economic crisis?