In the face of a historic federal bailout that is intended to save a crucial sector of the financial markets, Senator John McCain has suspended his campaign for President. In doing so the Senator has taken politics out of problem solving, at least for the moment.
Some may call it a political ploy. I see it as an example of one of the driving forces behind his campaign and his service to our country. John McCain has repeatedly stated that we must serve a cause greater than ourselves and throughout his life he has done so. The temporary suspension of his campaign, in deference to one of the most drastic economic decisions in our nation’s history, is done in, fact, to again serve a greater cause .
The collapse of Wall Street financial institutions that over extended their risks has raised the need for the federal government to step in in order to prevent an ripple effect that could deepen the crisis. John McCain warned of this crisis over two years ago. As a sponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, McCain saw the needs to reign in unbridled overextension of risk. This bill would have headed off what is now being called a crisis. However this bill was blocked by Democrats as well as some of the Republican, good old boys, that Sarah Palin and John McCain have been known to take on before.
A check of the congressional record shows McCain giving a speech about apparent accounting fraud at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Not only that, McCain said he was “concerned” about the magnitude of the role played by these government sponsored entities in the mortgage market, when they were obviously not being regulated in a responsible manner.
Now some may argue that deregulation led to this crisis. They may claim that the ideological penchant for less regulations credited to conservative Republicans are responsible for it. You may claim that but such a claim cannot be made about John McCain who warned us of this situation and provided a bill that would have prevented it. A bill that Democrats blocked.
I contend that proper regulation was not applied to these troublesome institutions. However, overregulation would also produce negative effects. The right type of regulation in the form of moderation was required and that is what John McCain offered. I will also add that the accounting fraud McCain mentioned in the congressional record was conducted in large part by Democrats, some of the very Democrats who led groups like FannieMae and are now economic advisors to Barack Obama. People like Franklin Raines who had to go before a House subcommittee to address allegations that he and his finance team had cooked the mortgage giant’s books, when Raines was the C.E.O. of the now failed FannieMae in 2004.
It should also be noted that Under the Clinton administration mandates were created that forced FannieMae and FreddieMac to extend a set percentage of high risks loans to low income and minority applicants. This was a government fiat that obliged these institutions to enter even more higher risk loan extensions.
So one side can blame the other. Republicans can be blamed for too little regulation and Democrats can be blamed for attempts to create too much regulation and shady record keeping. But whichever side you want to blame you cannot blame Senator John McCain.
Despite the record that shows McCain was right, politics prevented his solutions from being applied to avoiding the crisis we are now in. Now, faced with hammering out a solution to the problem we did not avoid, John McCain has made a bold move to suspend politics and politics as usual. John McCain has stepped up to bat and he has declared his intentions to put country first.
Senator McCain has said that he would rather lose an election and win a war than win an election and lose a war. These words are now echoed by deed. They are echoed in his actions to put a cease to talking about action and actually taking action.
Whatever your opinion, John McCain has just upped the ante. The suspension of his campaign and call for his opponent to head back to Washington, D.C. with him allows McCain to get hold of this crisis and take control of it. He has just forced Barack Obama to either show up or shut up. Either continue with your campaign of words or demonstrate leadership through your actions.
Both presidential candidates are incumbent senators. They can talk about what they will do as a president but what are they doing within their current capacities? John McCain has just shown us that he will live up to those responsibilities. Once again John McCain answers a call to duty.