Obama and Frank Raines: The GOP Should Be More Worried

A new McCain campaign ad attempts to link Barack Obama and Franklin Raines. It goes so far as to suggest that Raines advises Obama.

Of course, Raines himself says that he has never advised the Obama campaign in any capacity, and the Obama campaign has reiterated that.

But there’s another angle you should look at when considering this crap.

I don’t mean the racial angle; that’s easy. The McCain campaign obviously used Raines, because he’s a "scary black man;" there’s no denying that. You know William Jefferson will be brought up at some point, because it’s all they have.

No, Franklin Raines represents something that should remind you why you shouldn’t vote for John McCain.

Franklin Raines represents, in many ways, the Republican style of doing business.

Let me note, first of all, that Frank Raines has never been convicted of a crime. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), which is supposed to provide oversight of Fannie Mae, has accused Raines of shifting Fannie’s book losses for several years, in order to lessen the negative effect on Fannie’s stock price, and so that he and several other senior officers could receive bonuses.

In other words, he overstated earnings back in the day. If you’ll remember, before Enron collapsed, that was pretty much the order of the day in the deregulated world of high finance; a deregulated world created and nurtured by the Republican Party.

Franklin Raines’ chairmanship of Fannie Mae was reprehensible, but it was in no way atypical. He cooked the books to keep the stock price high, and to get his bonus. Under the Republican deregulation scheme, such a thing was de rigeur.  If you reject what Fannie Mae did under Raines, then you have to reject the Republican Party’s approach to economics, which is the cause of the problem.

I would also point out that, with the Bush Administration in charge of the investigation, Fannie Mae was fined almost $400 million, but the main officers who cooked the books for Fannie were only fined $3 million each. Not only that, but they were allowed to settle, without having to admit any wrongdoing. So much for law and order under Republican rule, huh?

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  1. Unfortunately, this is a little of both.
    Yes, I think lobbyists have too much power on both sides of the aisle. But strangely, they never had the level of access to a corridors of power that they have since about, oh, 1994. In other words, it was a small problem that became much larger under the Republicans.
    And it’s not about one party bad, other party good. It’s about a really bad ideology taking hold of the Republican Party and strangling the good people who still cling to the hope that the GOP can right itself someday.
    This is about an economic model that has handed over the entire economy to anyone who wants to screw us. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s actions were actually, strangely, in line with what pretty much most private corporations were trying to do with their books, in order to keep their stock price high.
    This is about an ideology that refuses to do its constitutionally mandated job, and make sure that all commerce is as free and fair as possible. And it has to go.

  2. Rather than looking at this as a Democrat v. Republican issue of “one side is right and the other is wrong”, I submit that there’s sufficient blame to go around.
    Many of us not aligned with either of the major parties are disgusted with pols from *both* parties.
    I’m quite willing, for example, to accept the criticism and charge of culpability you level at the Bush administration and elements of the Republican congressional contingent.
    However, it’s clear from the congressional record and online video that some congressional Democrats (who may even be considered “Progressive”) adopted a highly defensive position re. Raines and Fannie Mae.
    I find it worth noting that of “Cassandras” out there who had early concerns about this coming debacle, a few Republicans of a more independent stripe such as Manzullo and Shays were among them. In my view, this situation is less a situation of one party bad and the other good: it’s an example of how our insititutions of representative self-government have been corrupted. Hey! Isn’t that a long time “progressive” claim? Don’t Progressives (like Jim Webb) often say we need real and lasting reform?
    Rather than taking this Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/WS investment bank bailout as an opportunity to engage in an election year beat-down, I think it’s illustrative of the same sort of corruption which we all saw so clearly in the Abramoff scandal(s).
    Don’t you think this episode shows that Wall Street money and K Street lobbyists have managed to paralyse the institutions of our self-government?
    Isn’t this situation a glaring example of how corporate “big money” is undermining American democracy?

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