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This week John McCain, completely out of his element with respect to developments on Wall Street, lodged another uninformed and impetuous attack -- this time, at SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.

"The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public trust," McCain said. "If I were president today, I would fire him."

And he would have diminished his office by attempting to do so. Here are just two reasons why.

First, it is borderline ridiculous to lay the blame squarely at Cox's feet. Our current crisis dates back to reckless deregulation of the financial markets by the GOP-controlled Congress and its chief deregulator, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm (now McCain Campaign Chairman and presumptive Treasury Secretary), in the 1990s. Gramm's work left the SEC and others without the necessary authorities to regulate adequately existing and new markets and securities. Sure, Cox should have spoken up and done so forcefully. But the current financial crisis wasn't set in motion by Cox or his predecessors.

(Crossposted from Our Republic)

McCain's misdirected, bellicose rhetoric has drawn the ire of even America's most conservative editorial board, the Wall Street Journal, who called his statements about Cox "false," "deeply unfair," and downright "unpresidential." Ouch.

Second, if McCain hadn't shot first and asked questions later, he likely would have discovered that the president doesn't have the power to dismiss Chairman Cox. While the president does indeed nominate the chairman and other commissioners of the SEC, they, like their counterparts at the Federal Reserve Board, the National Labor Relations Board, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission, cannot be removed by him. What an awkward conversation that would be.

Originally posted to Republicus on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:08 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  In a meantime PaLIEn requests a meeting (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, buddabelly, TomP, TDreamer

    with Karzai. To discuss his wonderful hats?

    How she can get away seeking an audience with Karzai while dissing an American media? Are we realy that retarded?  

    Give 'em hell, Barack.

    by karpaty lviv on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:10:24 PM PDT

    •  Hmmm ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karpaty lviv

      Palin's boyfriend won't talk to Spain. And Sarah wants to hang out with Karzai.

      I think they're going to work out an Opium for Meth deal.

      Celebrate women but hate choice? Revere MLK but despise community organizers? Pretend we've won the war but can't withdraw? Republican much?

      by Bronxist on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:49:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  *snicker* Cox. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, TomP, Jyrinx

    I can just see the headlines, and apologies in advance for offending y'all. It's Friday, I'm about to leave work early, so I'm a little giddy.

    "McCain to Call for Beating of Cox"
    "McCain Wants to Whack Cox"
    "McCain: Jerk Cox"

    "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your fingerprints off to Washington."--Alice's Restaurant

    by ekthesy on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:11:04 PM PDT

  •  Vintage McCain (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Anne Elk, TDreamer

    reckless, uninformed, shoot-from-the-hip faux macho (muscular!)response.

    And they want to put this guy in charge?


  •  This is going to play out for some time (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, TDreamer

    I have to believe that Obama will whack him over the head with this down the road. Something to the effect:

    "In the middle of the crisis, Senator McCain proposed firing somebody (SEC Chairman) who not only had nothing to do with the current crisis, but was busily working to try and prevent the situation from getting worse.  I am glad that Senator McCain was not in charge to make that decision which could have resulted in more hardships for americans."

    •  that would not be prudent. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the SEC is in charge of regulating investment vehicles called "securities". What type of investment is responsible for most of the fiscal meltdown over the past year? Securities. How did Bush's SEC regulate securities firms? In short: they didn't. For example:
      In 2004 the SEC gave exemption to the five largest firms, so that they could leverage their assets at a ratio of 40 to 1 instead of 12 to 1 like the other players.
      How'd that work out? All five became over leveraged, and three of the five have cratered (Bear-Stearns, Lehman Bros, and Merrill Lynch).

      Bush's SEC is as much to blame for this mess as any other player in the game, both by their actions before Cox was in charge and their inaction since then. All very nice for Cox to start closing the barn door now that the animals have run out, but  seeing as he left it propped open for three years he deserves to get pilloried as soon as things calm down.

  •  McCain wants the Wall Street Journal to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    egarratt, Anne Elk, TDreamer

    attack him.  he reinvents himself rhetorically every morning. Today, he wants to sound like Huey Long, except he won't soak the rich, he'll soak the middle class even more.    

    McCain in full panic!

    "The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels." Al Gore, 7/17/08

    by TomP on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:12:12 PM PDT

  •  First the Titanic (0+ / 0-)

    Then Bush,
    Now McCain.

    (sound of gurgling water here)!

  •  John McCarthy strikes again. (0+ / 0-)

    McInsane sounds more like Joseph McCarthy everyday. From using his tactics to mimicing his fake outrage.  

  •  Can't have made Cox's friends too happy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but the real effect was to make McCain look ever more like Bob Dole. And that would be a bad thing. Dole didn't do so bad in a time of Republican ascendancy, but Dole would be in terrible straits today, as McCain increasingly is. I cannot imagine that this campaign can end well for McCain with this increasingly bizarre lashing out.

    McCain/Palin: The Real Bridge to Nowhere

    by Anne Elk on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:18:06 PM PDT

  •  Nowadays (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when doesn't McCain look foolish?  And I am not just being snarky.  The man is abumbling fool. He just says whatever the hell he thinks people want o hear and the problem is no one wants to hear the crap he is selling.  

    War is Peace ~ Ignorance is Strength ~ Slavery is Freedom

    by lostinamerica2711 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:22:51 PM PDT

  •  Loved the conclusion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution. He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000.

  •  Cox is guilty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Cox reign at SEC has been horrendous. As any trader and they will tell you that elimination of the uptick rule ruined Bear Sterns, Freddie Fannie, Lehman, and AIG.
    His job was to REGULATE markets. He did the opposite.

    •  Article in the left wing Wall Street Journal (0+ / 0-)

      Then there's Mr. McCain's tirade against the "uptick rule," a Depression-era chestnut that investors could only short stock after a rise in that stock's price. The SEC staff studied the effect of the uptick rule on prices for years, in a controlled experiment involving thousands of stocks. It found the rule had no effect. Other studies, including those that examined the uptick rule's effect on stocks disclosing bad news, also found that it "protected" no one. The SEC's permanent staff has long supported repeal and the SEC's commissioners voted to do so unanimously in June 2007.

      •  Complete bull (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        SEC "studied" elimination of the uptick rule in 2004-2005 during the BULL market. Nice timing to study the rule designed to protect against the BEAR market. Bush's SEC did it on purpose. They are not stupid, they just hate regulations.

        The effect of the uptick rule is simple: without it, institutions can be driven into bankruptcy in 1-2 days. That's what happened to AIG.

    •  more details (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in this diary.

      The best criticism of McCain on this one is the classic flip-flop: he supported deregulation, he supported deregulators, his largest campaign donors and the guys staffing his campaign all lobbied for deregulation. But now that the animals have run out, he's firmly for closing the barn door.

    •  You had people that could read a balance sheet (0+ / 0-)

      and see that the companies you mentioned were worth nothing.  If your broker friends knew that these were good companies, why didn't they buy?  Why do you think the govt is writing a trillion dollar check to cover these companies.  At what value do you think a bankrupt company should be valued?

      •  What balance sheet? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Their balance sheets were looked just fine. Their off-balance sheet holdings (CDOs, etc.) looked awful. But then again, the fact that you can't price CDOs does not mean they are worthless.

        And how about them accounting rules?
        Who suggested to adopt "loose" IFRS standards and drop strict GAAP? Cox
        Who stalled SFAS 157? You know the rule to bring CDOs into public light? Cox said you can ignore them:

        Cox is the biggest cook in the administration right now.

  •  McCain lost the WSJ editorial board...?!? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Jeezus.  Those people make Mussolini look "kinda liberal."  If he's pissed them off, he's totally f*cked.

    "Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the one way, the only way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity."

    by SLKRR on Fri Sep 19, 2008 at 01:33:56 PM PDT

  •  Slip McCain a Cliffs Notes of Das Kapital... (0+ / 0-)

    Carefully scrubbed of all direct references to Karl Marx.

    Laugh hysterically when he starts parroting it in his next faux populist rant.

    I have no doubt that Walnuts has no friggin' clue what's in Das Kapital, so it might actually work.

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