things go negative: bill ayers and the keating 5

Down in the polls across the United States, and with less than a month to go, the McCain campaign has made the decision to ramp up the negativity, and hit Barack Obama with everything they’ve got. They’re focusing a lot of attention on Obama’s casual association in Chicago with college professor Bill Ayres, who was, in his youth, a member of the Weather Underground. Most of the assertions are, of course lies, but it’s all McCain has at this point. It’s tenuous as hell, but it’s the only way you can get “Obama” and “domestic terrorist” into the same sentence, so they have to go with it. Obama, taking the high road, didn’t respond by pointing out that while he hasn’t seen Ayers in years, Palin sleeps with an anti-American secessionist every night. Instead, he said, “McCain is gambling he can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance.”

The Obama campaign has, however, decided to be more aggressive when it comes to sharing McCain’s history relative to financial scandals. Today they launched a new site called Keating Economics, which is all about McCain’s role in the Keating 5 Savings & Loan scandal. Here’s a clip:

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain’s attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal — the first such Senator to receive a major party nomination for president.

At the heart of the scandal was Keating’s Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which took advantage of deregulation in the 1980s to make risky investments with its depositors’ money. McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating with federal regulators tasked with preventing banking fraud, and championed legislation to delay regulation of the savings and loan industry — actions that allowed Keating to continue his fraud at an incredible cost to taxpayers.

When the savings and loan industry collapsed, Keating’s failed company put taxpayers on the hook for $3.4 billion and more than 20,000 Americans lost their savings. John McCain was reprimanded by the bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee, but the ultimate cost of the crisis to American taxpayers reached more than $120 billion…

But McCain and Palin would rather talk about Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright, and sow seeds of fear in middle America. Hopefully they won’t succeed, and we can put this kind of politics behnd us once and for all.

update: I just received the following from a reader who, until recently, lived in Chicago, and I thought that you might find it of interest.

My wife actually took a class with Bill Ayers, the “Domestic Terrorist” as America’s favorite moose skinner called him. He may have been a fairly radical guy in the 60s, but now he’s just a left-leaning professor in education. Hardly the stuff of national discourse.

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  1. mark
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    One of these days…. As long as we’re talking about mud slinging and dirty politics… I really need to have a post about Palin’s son Track and why it is that he’s been forced to join the military.

  2. Oliva
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    re. “Palin sleeps with an anti-American secessionist every night”

    The magazine at the front of CVS (!) shows her other dude . . . so maybe not every night?

  3. Meta
    Posted October 7, 2008 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Olberman obliterates Palin on this stuff:

    Palin responds by being super hot:


  4. Paw
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    In the first debate, McCain refused to look Obama in the eye. And in this one he referred to him as “that one”. I don’t think he shook his hand either. Maybe it’s strategic. Maybe it’s easier for him to lie about Obama if he doesn’t acknowledge him as human.

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