John McCain is back on the attack following his Palin-induced shot in the arm, and he’s attacking on…taxes? Senator, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are just sitting there waiting for you. The NRCC has even got the ball rolling for you. Your first ad following the debate was a cringeworthy mishmash. The tax-cutting pitch is all well and good, but take a wild guess as to what’s on people’s minds now? Hint: it ain’t tax cuts, emphasized in this ultimately wasted ad:
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. Really.
Stephen Spruiell at NRO replies:
1) It’s not that complicated. McCain called for stronger oversight of Fannie and Freddie in 2005, but Senate Democrats (including Obama) blocked reform. Between 2005 and 2007, Fannie and Freddie bought up a trillion dollars worth of subprime mortgages. Some they kept, some they packaged and sold to Wall Street.
Thus Fannie and Freddie enabled and spread the contagion that melted our financial system, while the Democrats enabled Fannie and Freddie over John McCain’s objections. Conservatives cannot afford to lose the argument over what caused this crisis. One would think McCain would feel that pressure more acutely than most.
2) Fine. Steer clear of the CRA and focus on Fannie and Freddie.
3) Can we not walk and chew gum at the same time?
Dunno about you, Sen. McCain, but I’m with Spruiell (as is Miz Michelle, I hear, though Ed appears pleased with the ad). Sure, go ahead and slam Barack Obama as a tax-hiker (gawd knows he’s an easy target on that score), but there’s a lot of anger out there about the runup to the bailout just looking for its rightful target, and you’ve got history and a whole lot of C-SPAN footage on your side.