John McCain’s Identity Crisis

ImageA little more than two weeks ago Republican presidential candidate John McCain took a hands off approach to government aid for homeowners who have been caught up in the mortgage crisis. Today, McCain completely reversed his position. On March 25 McCain said, “I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis. I will evaluate everything in terms of whether it might be harmful or helpful to our effort to deal with the crisis we face now. I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers. Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy.”

Today at a small business roundtable in Brooklyn, NY, McCain said, “I’ve made my principles in this area clear: Tax breaks for builders, funds to purchase homes in foreclosure, and tax credits that are not targeted to where the need is greatest do not constitute the federal help that is warranted. In some case, lenders and borrowers alike were caught up in the speculative frenzy that has harmed the housing market. And it is not the responsibility of the American public to spare them from the consequences of their own bad judgment. The goal should be to help homeowners who are struggling, and only about $5 billion of the bill addresses their concerns in any way. I believe we can do better.”

In two weeks John McCain shifted from the belief that the government should not provide bailouts to anyone to now saying that more money should be spent to help struggling homeowners. It is well known that McCain doesn’t know much about the economy, but he seems caught between his maverick image and courting the base of the Republican Party. When one takes a step back and examines the McCain campaign, it is clear that the only thing he has been consistent with is his support for the Iraq war. McCain has made contradictory comments about issues like torture and immigration throughout his campaign.

Policy doesn’t seem to be McCain’s strong suit. For that matter neither do vision or consistency. The Republican Party nominated McCain because he was the best of a bad lot. He won the nomination with his position on Iraq. The problem is that the more one listens to John McCain it seems that the Straight Talk Express has been replaced with the Double Talk Unlimited. The hypothetical matchup polls may show McCain close to the Democrats now, but that is because he is not being campaigned against. By the time the general election campaign ends, it will be clear that the last thing America needs is another stubborn fan of military action that has no domestic agenda at all.

McCain’s Brooklyn Remarks:

McCain’s Previous Remarks:

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