In the wake of the sudden collapse of Wall Street giant banks, Sen. John McCain spent yesterday “scrambling to recast himself as a champion of regulation,” trying to erase his past support of legislation “to broadly deregulate the banking and insurance industries helping to sweep aside a thicket of rules established over decades.” Reacting to the Fed takeover of AIG, McCain decalred today, “We need strong and effective regulation” in the future.
However, last night one of his chief campaign surrogates was singing a different tune. On Fox News’s Hannity and Colmes, former governor Mike Huckabee emphasized McCain’s past as a dergulator who would allow the market to “correct itself”:
HUCKABEE: Regulation isn’t the answer to this. In fact, if we go back and overregulate and tinker with it, we’re going to do more damage than we are in terms of a fix. … John McCain has a long history of being against an overreaching government, regulatory environment. It’s a dangerous place for us to go, and what we need to do is recognize the marketplace will correct itself. It’s painful, but it will correct itself.
Huckabee is right that McCain “has a long history of being against…[a] regulatory environment.” He has consistently opposed the kind of robust regulation and oversight that could have helped prevent the current crisis:
— “I don’t think anyone who wants to increase the burden of government regulation…has any real understanding of economics and the economy and what is needed in order to ensure the future of this country.” [McCain Town Hall in Inez, KY, 4/23/08]
— “We need to return to the Reagan years. We need to have fiscal conservatism. We need less government. We need less regulation.” [PBS, 1/25/08]
— “I am a deregulator. I believe in deregulation.” [CNN, 7/13/03]
— “I have a long voting record in support of deregulation.” [St. Petersburg Times, 6/5/03]