From the Horse’s [Mouth]
By Steam Fangs Palin (Tom Bozzo)
On 60 Minutes, John McCain helped resolve a couple of issues that occupied the comments last week.
Q1. Did McCain support Gramm-Leach-Bliley?
A: Yes, and he still does!
PELLEY: In 1999, you were one of the Senators who helped pass deregulation of Wall Street. Do you regret that now?
MCCAIN: No. I think the deregulation was probably helpful to the growth of our economy.
(Quote via Firedoglake.)
Q2. Is McCain going to outflank Obama with a populist volte-face on the bailout? (See also Krugman.)
A: Not as long as reporters can recall their ability to do a Google. Via the AP:
In the [60 Minutes] interview, McCain defended the Bush administration’s proposed bailout of financial firms as necessary, though he acknowledged it could get expensive.
“We’re going to take over these bad loans,” McCain said. “And we’re going to have the taxpayer help you out. But when the time comes and the economy recovers, then anything that’s gained back is going to go to the taxpayers first.
“I’m not saying this isn’t going to be messy. And I’m not saying it isn’t going to be expensive. But we have to stop the bleeding,” McCain said.
None of this is to say that McCain won’t continue his pattern of rampant flip-flopping by at least trying to stake out positions both for and against the bailout — as Obama deftly calls it, an “election-time conversion” — or running against all the fatcats except for Carly Fiorina and Phil Gramm (worth every penny!). And it stands to reason that the Republicans will run against the “horrible big-government program” of the Bush administration, though of course they’ll also run against the Democrats for obstructing the vital economic recovery program of the Bush administration as the situation presents itself.
PLUS: Mirabile dictu, could it be that congressional Democrats are getting the Administration to concede to the major features of the bailout plan a la Dodd and Frank?* With, in particular, equity dilution now part of the deal with Treasury, the revised bailout (Dodd discussion draft here) looks to be a huge substantive improvement over the DOA blank-check plan, and has garnered early favorable reviews from CR, Krugman, and (with some more specifics) Adam Levitin at Credit Slips. Bloomberg suggests that Republicans may bolt, but they won’t make things easy for McCain if they end up opposing the plan for being too tough on financial executives and too easy on stressed homeowners.
* From one perspective, this could be terrifying as it may signal that Treasury really sees itself as staring into the abyss.