John McCain is desperately trying to spin his way out of the blunder of repeatedly insisting that the "fundamentals of our economy are strong," even as Americans watch Wall Street crash and hang on by its fingernails and their economic security disappear in a blizzard of bad economic news.
And this morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, he babbled incoherently about the economy. (Watch the ABC video.)
It’s obvious that McCain doesn’t have a clue about what’s happening on Wall Street, nor how it might affect ordinary Americans. This morning, he first clamied that we need a "9/11 Commission" to find out what went wrong and how to fix it, and in the same breath bragged that he knows how to fix it without explaining how.
"I said the fundamental of our economy is the American worker. I know that the American worker is the strongest, the best, and most productive and most innovative," McCain, R-Ariz., told ABC’s Chris Cuomo on "Good Morning America" Tuesday.
"They’ve been betrayed by a casino on Wall Street of greedy, corrupt excess — corruption and excess that has damaged them and their futures," he added.
McCain said he wants an inquiry into what led to the current mess, though he did not offer details.
"We’re going to need a ‘9/11 Commission’ to find out what happened and what needs to be fixed," he said. "I warned two years ago that this situation was deteriorating and unacceptable. And the old-boy network and the corruption in Washington is directly involved, and one of the causes of this financial crisis that we’re in today. And I know how to fix it, and I know how to get things done."
Like George Bush, McCain has repeatedly said "the fundamentals of the economy are sound," but now that many Americans are watching Wall Street devour its own and shrink their retirement accounts too, McCain has suddenly reversed course. Yesterday he claimed the "fundamental[s]" he referred to meant the American worker, an implausible explanation that comes off as phony and desperate. [More Holtz-Eakin spin here.] It’s moose in the headlights time.
So now the man who says he knows how to catch bin Laden but won’t tell anyone says he knows how to fix Wall Street and won’t tell anyone about that either. The man is a fountain of secret wisdom, but don’t expect his ingrained philosophy or the advisers he admires to save the country. As the New York Times correctly noted today,
But his record on the issue, and the views of those he has always cited as his most influential advisers, suggest that he has never departed in any major way from his party’s embrace of deregulation and relying more on market forces than on the government to exert discipline.
While Mr. McCain has cited the need for additional oversight when it comes to specific situations, like the mortgage problems behind the current shocks on Wall Street, he has consistently characterized himself as fundamentally a deregulator and he has no history prior to the presidential campaign of advocating steps to tighten standards on investment firms.
He has often taken his lead on financial issues from two outspoken advocates of free market approaches, former Senator Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman. . . .
Obama and Biden pounced on McCain’s "fundamentals" blunder yesterday and continued the attack today, but I thought Obama’s best line was on McCain’s absurd claim that McCain can be trusted to fix what the Republicans and their conservative laissez faire economic policies have done to the economy: "If you believe that, I have a bridge in Alaska to sell you."