Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain reformed the wrong finance system

Digby points to this comment by Jonathan Alter:

JONATHAN ALTER: [Y]ou remember the Keating Five scandal that he was a part of, which, by the way, it's crazy but there's been very little about it in the press in the last few weeks. And McCain thinks he's getting a hard time, he's really getting a free ride on the fact that he was in the middle of the last great financial scandal in our country. But his reaction to that, you would have thought, would have been more regulation of the financial services industry. Instead he moved forward on campaign finance reform after being caught in that scandal, but did nothing – nothing – to try to prevent another savings and loan crisis from happening down the road. He was missing in action when it came to even learning the basic lessons of a scandal that he said taught him all kinds of things that he would never forget.
McCain's image as a reformer has its foundation in the Keating Five scandal. When people think of McCain the reformer they think of a Senator who got caught in a compromising position, did a mea culpa, and as his penance passed legislation to reform the system. The problem is that the reform he passed was entirely in the area of campaign finance. It was not in the area that was at the core of the Keating Five scandal: the financial system of the country itself.

This is classic McCain: when criticized for something, respond to the criticism by making a lot of noise about something related but ancillary to the thing you are being criticized about.

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