The new ad from Team McCain certainly has the virtue of timeliness. With the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the purchase of Merrill Lynch this morning, crisis describes the financial markets well, and perhaps even understates the case. The campaign makes the argument that only proven reformers can clean up the government’s handling of Wall Street and make it work for all of its investors again:
Our economy in crisis. Only proven reformers John McCain and Sarah Palin can fix it.
Tougher rules on Wall Street to protect your life savings. No special interest giveaways. Lower taxes to create new jobs. Offshore drilling to reduce gas prices.
McCain – Palin. Leadership, experience, for the change we need.
Will this argument stick? Both campaigns have major ties to the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac lobbying that helped force the enormous government bailout that left the Treasury unable to respond to Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG today. McCain has a real track record of reform at the federal level, but not necessarily in management of the economy. Obama and Biden have even less, though, and expect McCain’s team to point that out in comparative advertising in the future.
Team McCain did a good job in getting in front of the issue, but today’s turmoil will likely redound to Barack Obama’s benefit unless they can start talking policy and how Obama’s tax and spending proposals will hurt the people most needed to return stability back to the markets. Now more than ever, we need low capital-gains tax rates to encourage investment and risk-taking in order to create more strength in the economy. An Obama increase on these tax rates would pull more capital out when it’s desperately needed, and could create a catastrophe out of a patch of turbulence.