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Joe Conason: The Reform McCain Wants to Forget

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-18-08 08:26 AM
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from Truthdig:

The Reform McCain Wants to Forget

Posted on Sep 17, 2008
By Joe Conason

With the markets in frightening turmoil and the public outraged by financial irresponsibility and excessive greed, John McCain has suddenly rediscovered the importance of strong, watchful government. Only six months ago, he assured The Wall Street Journal that he was generally opposed to regulation, but today he is ready to control executive compensation, defend 401(k) accounts from corporate predators and impose renewed federal oversight of errant markets.

This populist rhetoric sounds strange, especially when emitted by a politician whose circle of advisers include former Sen. Phil Gramm, a vice president of the scandal-tainted Union Bank of Switzerland, and John Thain, chief executive of the firm formerly known as Merrill Lynch. But when facing the angry voters who have watched their savings evaporate, the conservative Republican hopes to sound like a liberal Democrat.

He wants to blur the differences between himself and Barack Obama on fundamental economic philosophy. But there is one critical issue on which the Arizonan has established a record that cannot be escaped so easily.

Sen. McCain wants to privatize Social Security. It is a stance he has repeatedly taken over the past 10 years in recorded votes, interviews, speeches and documents. It is also a position that he will deny in this campaign. In fact he tried to deny it at a June town hall meeting in New Hampshire when he declared, Im not for, quote, privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be. But the contrary evidence is overwhelming.

As long ago as 1998, several years before the Bush administration sought to promote privatization, he voted to partially replace Social Security with private accounts. He included privatization in the economic platform of his 2000 presidential campaign. He spoke out in support of the White Houses ill-fated push for privatization during the spring of 2005. And when that plan started to sink into oblivion, despite an advertising and public relations budget that exceeded $50 million, he tried to save it.

Sen. McCain was still pushing the Bush plan earlier this year, when he needed to persuade his own partys ultra-rightists to accept him as their nominee. During the same interview when he told The Wall Street Journal editors that he generally opposes regulation, he explained his plan to reform Social Security. I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it, he said, along the lines that President Bush proposed. ......(more)

The complete piece is at: /?

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Bread and Circus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-18-08 10:51 AM
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1. Awesome. I love Joe Conason.
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