- DOJ reaches largest-ever federal government settlement over auto loan discrimination
- U.S. Navy to start giving gay couples marriage benefits in Japan
- Sen. Harry Reid goes to hospital as a precaution
- Fla.’s Trey Radel exits rehab, ‘excited’ to resume congressional role
- U.S. nuclear general boozed it up, chased ‘hot women’ in Russia: report
- 45 Calif. students at one school test positive for tuberculosis exposure
- Rob Ford on women: Give them cash ‘and they are happy’
- Ku Klux Klan group holds recruitment meeting in Maryland
- Airport assassination: Mayor, 3 others killed at Manila airport
- Tea party-type lawmakers take mysterious, off-books trip to Mideast
SEC chairman rebuke distances McCain from Bush
Question of the Day
John McCain on Thursday found yet another way to separate himself from President Bush, this time by throwing fellow Republican Christopher Cox under his Straight Talk Express for not regulating Wall Street enough as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and, in my view, has betrayed the public’s trust,” Mr. McCain, now losing ground in some polls to Barack Obama, told a Cedar Rapids rally in Iowa. “If I were president today, I would fire him.”
Quickly responding, White House press secretary Dana Perino said Mr. Cox has Mr. Bush’s confidence.
Mr. Cox, 55, was a sometimes-favorite of conservatives during his 16 years as a U.S. House member from Southern California before Mr. Bush named him to the SEC in 2005.
The question is this: Is there any sound policy behind Mr. McCain’s unloading on Mr. Cox? Or is it presidential election politics, pure and simple?
Rather than answering the question, reaction in Mr. McCain’s own party was conflicted, going off in different directions simultaneously as Republicans attempted to reinforce the maverick image of their standard bearer while showing partisan loyalty to Mr. Cox - and to the Bush presidency, which is in the midst of writing its last chapters.
“Chris Cox is the most capable person I’ve ever known,” James C. Miller III, director of the Office of Management and Budget in the second Reagan White House, told The Washington Times. “I wish Senator McCain would focus on the getting President Bush’s other appointees to the SEC confirmed by the Senate.”
But other Republicans offered the predictable swell of contradictory populist sentiment for “taking action,” finding a scapegoat (however implausible) and letting capitalism be capitalism - letting the markets sort it all out.
“I sure think Cox needs to do some answering to Congress,” said Rep. John Mica, Florida Republican. “One of the things I heard from my constituents is they want somebody held responsible for the collapse of some of these markets - and executives walking way from Fannie Mae and others with tens of millions of dollars.”
Speculators and “short sellers” - an integral part of the operation of free markets - once again have become the evildoers who were allowed to do their worst because lazy or industry-influenced regulators let them get away with it.
“Banks and brokers took on huge amounts of debt, and they hid the riskiest of all investments,” Mr. McCain said. “Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The regulators were asleep, my friends, they were not working for you.”
The first casualty was pretty clearly Mr. Cox.
“I don’t know whether firing Cox is called for, but if I were Chris, I think I would be circulating some resumes,” Mr. Mica said, then turned his fire on the other side of he aisle. “Democrats are supposed to be bigger regulators. Last time I checked, Bush hasn’t had a vote on floor for the last 18 months - Democrats have controlled the process.”
Mr. Miller said Mr. Cox had been forced to operate without other Senate-confirmed members of his commission for some time. “Chris heads a commission, not a dictatorship, and for a time was without a quorum for a long time,” he said.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- New ACU director takes aim at debt, poverty, big government
- Jindal v. Obama: The new school choice battle; La. voucher fight revives reform led by conservatives
- Chris Christie's coup: George W. Bush appears on his behalf at GOP summit
- GOP governors lay out own agenda with Washington gridlocked
- Walker, Christie: The tale of 2 very different GOPers on a quest for the presidency
Latest Blog Entries
By John McAfee
- Breaking Fad: Alligators becoming the new pit bulls for drug dealers, cops say
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- TARGET credit card theft swells to 40 million victims
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Obama: 2014 will be 'breakthrough year' for U.S.
- Dems use new filibuster rules to approve DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas under investigation
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Our Choice: Individual responsibility and self-government or the abandonment of the American Revolution
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow