Should Obama be rejected for ties to Fannie Mae?

If you think so, what would you say about this?

Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say.

Mr. McCain, the Republican candidate for president, has recently begun campaigning as a critic of the two companies and the lobbying army that helped them evade greater regulation as they began buying riskier mortgages with implicit federal backing. He and his Democratic rival, Senator Barack Obama, have donors and advisers who are tied to the companies.

But last week the McCain campaign stepped up a running battle of guilt by association when it began broadcasting commercials trying to link Mr. Obama directly to the government bailout of the mortgage giants this month by charging that he takes advice from Fannie Mae’s former chief executive, Franklin Raines, an assertion both Mr. Raines and the Obama campaign dispute.

Incensed by the advertisements, several current and former executives of the companies came forward to discuss the role that Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager and longtime adviser, played in helping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac beat back regulatory challenges when he served as president of their advocacy group, the Homeownership Alliance, formed in the summer of 2000.

The story isn’t that McCain has a campaign manager who was dedicated to deregulating one of the lynchpins in this crisis. The story is McCain’s sanctimonious and unbelievably hypocritical finger-pointing at Obama for his ties to Fannie Mae, the “tie” being that the leader of Obama’s VP search was head of the quasi-governmental organization. If that’s reason to link Obama to the Fannie Mae disaster, which was years in the making, then what does today’s revelation do to McCain? McCain chose to play guilt by association, and based on his own rules he’s looking very guilty.

Just one more example of McCain’s descent from being (or appearing to be) the tell-it-like-it-is “maverick” to a nasty, hypocritical, quick-to-smear liar. He’s my senator; I’m ashamed of him. You should be, too.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 12 Comments

Senator McCain really is a fascinating character, and his political brand is equally fascinating. I used to have a similar view that he was, if nothing else, a man not afraid to speak his mind, a very endearing quality in a politician. However I must agree his judgment recently in the way he is choosing his political alliances, targets, and, ahem, VP candidate has been sorely lacking.

Which brings me to this thought. He is often lauded for his selfless dedication to his country, and has been through horrors that most of us mortals would not be able to survive. However, the fact is your average Vietnam vet is riddled with deep-seated psychological (and physical) problems that leave large numbers of them highly unstable. The public and media tend to highlight his war experiences as examples of commitment and sacrifice, which is a fair enough call to make, but don’t often look at the baggage that comes along with it.

I know that’s only loosely related to this thread but I really am beginning to doubt the soundness of the man’s judgment.

September 22, 2008 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

I’ve never understood the big deal about McCain “saying what he believes.” Who cares what he believes — does anybody doubt that Bush believes every sentence (I use the term loosely) he says? Or that Sarah Palin doesn’t really believe in the glossolaliac snake-handling batshittery she espouses? Or, for that matter, that the crazy-ass guy living under the bridge nearby doesn’t really believe himself to be the Sun incarnate?

I’ve got my problems with Obama, but I’d rather have someone who does insincere good than someone who earnestly fucks up everything he touches.

September 22, 2008 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

“He’s my senator; I’m ashamed of him. You should be, too.”

i’m not american, so can i just be appalled instead? anyway, surely obama can wrap this election up at the debates. he needs to coolly and calmly bring up mccain’s lies and ask him to justify them. i am not a big obama fan, but clearly mccain is an unacceptable choice – the man’s hypocrisy, even by most politician’s standards, is truely astonishing.

September 22, 2008 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

Problem is, McCain doesn’t care about being caught in his lies by brilliant intellectuals like us. This is a Rovesque campaign focused solely on people’s sense of “home values.” Never mind that he’s flip-flopped like a fish out of water on abortion, tax cuts, dirty politics, etc. McCain/Palin answers a yearning in the hearts of a large portion of the electorate for a Norman Rockwell picture of an America that never really existed. A return to “morality” and simplicity, where complex issues can be handled by good old American can-do gumption. These people aren’t reading NYT articles or watching Bill Moyers or Bill Maher or John Stewart. They are looking in the eyes of Sarah Palin and seeing all the aforementioned “values,” especially since she’s being kept in a hermetically sealed cocoon. America values – tough, non-nonsense, never blinks, give ‘em hell. Only problem is, it’s all horseshit and a big show; the real Palin is a corrupt, earmark-loving, achievement-free demagogue.

I suppose I’m preaching to the choir. If you’re smart enough to read this blog, you’re smart enough to see through Sarah P. Meanwhile, I ‘m pretty optimistic America is catching on, and even the bedrock Puritan base may be up for grabs now that the country is in shambles. Everyone has his limits. America has had enough of today’s GOP.

September 22, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Comment

I am smart enough to read this blog but still understand that – why in a gimme year the Democrats are only just ahead. The American readers of this blog and most of the MSM cant get their head around the fact that most Americans would prefer to have a beer/ dinner with McC/ P than O/B. Good or bad most of your compatriots instinctively relate to their story more than the O/B background. Is this a good way of selecting your President? – I don’t know that is above my pay grade – but at the mo that is the system.

September 22, 2008 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

Whishkers, almost correct – MANY Americans do want exactly that. But perhaps not MOST. Not anymore, not when the pain of the Bush administration strikes so close to home. It’s one thing when our soldiers are blown to bits 5,000 miles away. It’s another when you can’t pay for your house and you watch your dreams disintegrate. Which is why I think Obama will win.

September 22, 2008 @ 11:00 pm | Comment

Richard

(- It is still SideBurns Jack – but I moved to SH so have allowed myself a new nome de plume – and as ever a pleasure to while the night away in good company)

The American belief in exceptionismis one of the most endearing and fundamental self beliefs of A, but even that has it’s limits. Do you think that others around the world aren’t having a shitty time? I believe that the system may be broken but MOST Americans think that Mc/P are more likely to fix the mess than O/B. (Rightly or wrongly).

September 22, 2008 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Well, we’ll just have to disagree on that one, Jack. Palin’s lustre is fast diminishing and her poll numbers have gone down (for what that’s worth) and I am not convinced that most Americans believe Palin, an empty vessel and blank slate to most, is the answer to all of our problems. If they do, they are plainly nuts.

I am actually doing the intensive course at Frontiers during the October holiday. It seems like a hundred years ago since we were in that class together (it was CNY 2007, no?).

September 22, 2008 @ 11:22 pm | Comment

Yes only CNY 07 – and I feel older by a decade – The proof of the pudding will be in the eating on Nov 4th – and so (to paraphrase Mr P) to bed – kind regards J

September 22, 2008 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

so is this a political blog now? it is clearly very one sided and full of opinion trying to persuade rather than just providing information if it is a political blog. i was informed this was a great blog about china, not about american politics. and i am not looking for a take on how the election could affect china or u.s. – china relations, etc. i am quite disappointed in what i have seen the past week or two since i signed up for the feed on my reader.

September 23, 2008 @ 12:16 am | Comment

Mark, usually the blance os about 60 percent China, 40 percent US. Every four years, around election time, I write a lot about US politics.

I always write about whatever interests me at the moment, I write the blog for myself, as a way to help put things in perspective for myself, and as a way to have fun. While I love the fact that people actually come here to read what I have to say, that’s not why I created the site and fulfilling their needs isn’t my top priority. I can’t fashion TPD so that it pleases all readers. And yes, this is and always has been “a political blog.” Please stay around, I’ll get back to China soon. Unfortunately, the milk scandal, amply covered by some other great bloggers, is the one big story here at the moment.

September 23, 2008 @ 9:59 am | Comment

The sad reality is that both Obama and McCain (and virtually all our politicians) are all on the take, to one degree or another.

October 3, 2008 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

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