The McCain campaign is underestimating how upset and disappointed conservatives are that free markets, and by extension Reaganomics and the last 25 years of American economic policy, are getting the blame for the housing and credit crisis. A real morale killer, every time we hear it.
I have some great ideas for someone to make ads for. If he won't say it, then let TV ads say it for him!
US News and World Report ^ | 10/3/2008 | James Pethokoukis
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2008
Here is the big question of the moment that many GOPers are asking: Why is John McCain not tearing into Barack Obama and the Dems on the huge role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act in the financial crisis on Wall Street? In fact, the biggest criticism by conservatives of Sarah Palin's debate performance last night was that she had the opportunity to talk about Fannie/Freddie and the CRA but instead criticized the role of "predatory lenders."
Here is what Team McCain is telling me: Expect McCain to make the case on television, but don't look for him to turn to Obama in the next debate, point his finger, and say something like this (courtesy of the Ace of Spades HQ blog):
I stayed away from making these partisan attacks, even though you lied ridiculously about me and your own attempts at 'reform.' I held back, because partisan attacks—even truthful ones—would harm our country and reduce the chances of getting a vital bill passed. Well, the bill is now passed. I put country first. You didn't, and you lied on top of that. And now—only now that this crisis has been dealt with, to the extent we can—I'm going to give you a bit of straight-talk about Fannie, Freddie, my attempts to reform it, and your attempts to block reform on behalf of your big donors and friends in ACORN.
Nope, that is not going to happen Why not? 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.