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?