How will the Wall Street crisis affect the race?

Rick Moran
The fire sale of Merrill Lynch and bankruptcy/liquidation of Lehman Brothers is one of those events we will probably look back upon after the race and either wonder why it didn't have more of an impact or recognize that the crisis on Wall Street - that came to a head this past weekend - sealed the deal for one of the candidates.

But which one? Conventional wisdom says that Obama should be the beneficiary of the meltdown. The crisis will remind the American people that the Bush administration fell asleep minding the store. The mess will serve to remind people that John McCain is a Republican and Obama will continue to try and  tie him to President Bush.

But this ignores the fact that McCain has been able to distance himself both from Bush and the Republican brand the last few weeks. In fact, McCain's mantra of change along with his being viewed as the true independent in the race may allow him to claim the high ground with his promise to "clean up
Wall Street."


Obama in a morning statement says, "I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. ... Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up."

Says McCain senior adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, "we believe the time has come and gone that the taxpayer should be viewed a the solution to problems that are not of their making. Unfortunately, that is the fundamental plank of Barack Obama's economic philosophy - raise taxes and concentrate power in Washington. That is the wrong direction."


McCain's instincts appear to be correct again. Obama offers nothing - hardly even acknowledgement of the problem while McCain comes down on the side of taxpayers who don't want to bail out these huge firms using their money.

As long as something catastrophic doesn't happen, I think this situation is tailor made for McCain's message of change and plays into his personae of an independent. But it may very well become a catastrophe if the bleeding on Wall Street cannot be stopped by some combination of culling the losers and cooperative efforts to save those who can be rescued.
The fire sale of Merrill Lynch and bankruptcy/liquidation of Lehman Brothers is one of those events we will probably look back upon after the race and either wonder why it didn't have more of an impact or recognize that the crisis on Wall Street - that came to a head this past weekend - sealed the deal for one of the candidates.

But which one? Conventional wisdom says that Obama should be the beneficiary of the meltdown. The crisis will remind the American people that the Bush administration fell asleep minding the store. The mess will serve to remind people that John McCain is a Republican and Obama will continue to try and  tie him to President Bush.

But this ignores the fact that McCain has been able to distance himself both from Bush and the Republican brand the last few weeks. In fact, McCain's mantra of change along with his being viewed as the true independent in the race may allow him to claim the high ground with his promise to "clean up
Wall Street."


Obama in a morning statement says, "I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. ... Instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up."

Says McCain senior adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin, "we believe the time has come and gone that the taxpayer should be viewed a the solution to problems that are not of their making. Unfortunately, that is the fundamental plank of Barack Obama's economic philosophy - raise taxes and concentrate power in Washington. That is the wrong direction."


McCain's instincts appear to be correct again. Obama offers nothing - hardly even acknowledgement of the problem while McCain comes down on the side of taxpayers who don't want to bail out these huge firms using their money.

As long as something catastrophic doesn't happen, I think this situation is tailor made for McCain's message of change and plays into his personae of an independent. But it may very well become a catastrophe if the bleeding on Wall Street cannot be stopped by some combination of culling the losers and cooperative efforts to save those who can be rescued.