September 19th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Wall Street Journal editorial board skewers McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="McCain said he would fire SEC chairman Cox."](CNN) - John McCain's recent comments on the economy aren't just coming under fire from Barack Obama's campaign: arguably the country's most conservative editorial board said Friday the Arizona senator's recent "populist rifting" was downright "un-presidential."

A Friday Wall Street Journal editorial sharply criticized McCain for his recent condemnation of Christopher Cox, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Committee. The Republican presidential nominee told an Iowa crowd Thursday Cox had "betrayed the public trust" and should be fired.

"Mismanagement and greed became the operating standard while regulators were asleep at the switch. The primary regulator of Wall Street, the Securities and Exchange Commission kept in place trading rules that let speculators and hedge funds turn our markets into a casino," McCain said.

Fact check: Does McCain oppose financial regulation

In the bruising editorial, the Journal said those comments an "assault on Mr. Cox is both false and deeply unfair."

"It's also un-Presidential," the Journal said.

Specifically the editorial says many of McCain's allegations against the SEC were misleading - particularly his claim the SEC allowed "naked short selling" and eliminated the "uptick rule that has protected investors for 70 years.

According to the editorial, the SEC never condoned the practice of "naked" shorting, and has sought to eliminate the practice during Cox's tenure. The Journal also supports the SEC's decision to eliminate the uptick rule, calling it a "Depression-era chestnut" that "protected no one."

"In a crisis, voters want steady, calm leadership, not easy, misleading answers that will do nothing to help. Mr. McCain is sounding like a candidate searching for a political foil rather than a genuine solution," the editorial also said. "He'll never beat Mr. Obama by running as an angry populist like Al Gore, circa 2000."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. S


    September 19, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. lauralee

    so will there be any kind of criminal investigations in all this? and with the bailouts how do the shareholders and CEOS come out? will these be structured like the AIG deal?

    September 19, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. Michael in Houston

    Nice, his own people are turning on him. How many times does McCain have to learn that you saying things just to get elected will not work. You boy GWB got over on America with that, you will not. And why is it that everytime McCain and Palin get called out for the stupidity, all you Repubs on here can say is " well Obama this or Biden that". You never can talk about the facts, or what McCain plan is, or exactly how McCain will be different from GWB. You see, when Obama/Biden gets called out, we either can

    1. Clarify the distorted facts
    2. Smack our own for his idiocy or mistruth
    3. State the whole comment and not just the sound bite.

    And that is why this will be the biggest blowout in and Presidental race, ever.

    Obama/Biden 08 and 12

    September 19, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. irish

    Here come the screaming liberals with there uneducated comments !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    McCain is right and he should be fired. period !!!

    McCain get in there and change Washington. They need a maverick that will stand his ground even if his opinion is not popular !!!!!

    McCain/Palin 08!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. TC, Fl

    McCain is SO right, a shake-up is needed and he can do it.

    Meanwhile, Obama is going to wait until he can use what the Federal Reserve comes up with as his plan. Sounds familiar.

    September 19, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. pjean

    It is time for a leader with humility, not an opportunist with an insatiable ego. I want experience and Obama just gives me words. Just not enough to make the sale.

    McCain/Palin 2008

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. R from Frankfort

    Uhhh...John, can you say Keating Five? Not all Americans have long term memory loss...if I remember right, you were found to have exhibited "poor judgement" in that messy little S&L scandal. And it's your stated position as a "deregulator" that contributes to this farce.
    We might as well believe that Spain is in South America..uh, oh wait...

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Elle

    the fact check link doesn't work, would like to see it

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Jack

    Tomorrow John won't remember a word he siad.

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Emster

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    This is just one more example of McCain being inpulsive and willing to take risks, rather than thinking things through and acting rationally. In limited situations, that trait could be a good thing. But with the domestic and foreign crisis that a President has to deal with, this type of impulsive behavior would be a disaster. Throw in a well-known history of temper and stubborness as well. McCain has exhibited the temperment that is ill-suited for a President. He might be willing to take risks, but I'm not willing to take the risk of McCain for President!!

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. BTM

    I see nothing un-presidential about McCain's statement. We have become too sensitive to the political correctness mentality. It is refreshing that he is telling it as he sees it candidly. Harry Truman used to do that and he is now admired for it.

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  12. Michael, watching from Canada

    Just a couple of months ago, McCain stated publicly that he is not good with economics.

    Now he is acting as though he is the consummate expert on addressing the most serious problems the world has seen in decades. Now, the real experts are not tolerating McCain's populist positions.


    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  13. Independents,NY

    McCain is clearly off the rails here. I work in a doctors office with mostly geriatric patients, and I must tell you that he appears to have signs of dementia. Has nobody noticed this? Not to be disrespectful or show agism here, but seriously. This election trail has really taken it's toll on him physically, all you have to do is look at him from the beginning of the trail till now and you will see it. Barack Obama's hair has turned grey, and he's young and can take it, so what do you think it will do to a 72-year-old man? His DOUBLE TALK and pandering are almost mind-boggling here. This election has turned into a 3-ring circus and the McCain/Palin camp is largely responsible for this. Our country is looking like a laughing stock around the world as other countries wait with baited breath to see if we are foolish enough to vote another cowboy into office.

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. David from Ohio

    I said this before and I will say it again. John McCain WAS a maverick until this year. He is NOT what he used to be in 2000. During the primary, he shifted his position to court the conservatives. He became the Bush 44. As the tide turns, he is moving away from Bush and champions the populist view. This type of flip-flop that goes with the tide does not make him a maverick. Instead, it makes him more like a flip-flopper.

    Politics change people. It has certainly changed John McCain!

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Mike - Portland

    Palin and McCain (and I put her name first on purpose) are pathetic and clueless. Thanks goodness the WSJ called McCain out. McCain admitted months ago he didn't know much about the economy and he is depending on losers like Carly Fiorina to help him along? Palin was a "dim light" political pick who will provide no support for McCain on the serious issues.

    There is blood in the water – GO OBAMA/BIDEN!

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Donna

    Christopher Cox's job is ending anyway at the end of Bush's term...McCane CAN'T fire him because he'll be gone anyway...more talk and lies from the senile one!!!

    Firing people at this point won't help the crisis'd have to bring someone in and WAIT for them to formulate a plan and try to implement it...also forming a COMMITTEE doesn't work either because by the time they come up with solutions/actions, we'd be back in the STONE AGES....

    McCain is very good and pointing and yelling out things without thinking about the full picture first...people talk about Obama not having a plan(which is a lie..he has laid out his plan and it's on his website), while McCain's camp said that they didn't have to have details right now and the plan will be released AFTER McCane gets into office...anyone that wants to vote blindly on hope/faith that McCain won't screw them over are fools!!!!!!!

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  17. Beth from Virginia

    He thinks Cox should be fired. He thinks Spain is part of Latin America. He thinks Iraq shares a border with Pakistan. How much more ignorance does this man have to display before the voting public gets it. Just because he's a war hero and he's been around a while, that doesn't make him presidential material.

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  18. s

    Even the conservative, economic press sees through McCain's incompetence, and even reports it. Freedom of the press is a great thing!

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. JohnJon

    """Hillary Supporters for McCain""" Don't trust Wal-Street. They want another "green" politician in the White House so they can do whatever they want. Why do you think they are investing so heavily in Obama.Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Another blind republican with an IQ of their shoe size. And BTW, you were never a Hillary supporter. Another repug liar. Believe me, that is all that party can do well. Lie Lie Lie

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Tired in Michigan

    As Ann Coulter wrote...if Democrats were Smart, they would be Republican!

    Wake Up people! The Dems have been in control of the House for the past 2 years...someone explain to me WHY they haven't done something?

    Look up the definition of communism/socialism – that's what the ultra-left has to offer. If you want to live in a completely government-run and government regulated state, then go live in China or Cuba (to start).
    Yes sometimes we do NEED more government to help deter the mess like we have today. But Obama WANTs more government to create a socialist state. There's a hug difference between wants and needs. HUGE.

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. grandpafoos

    Forget the political ads and save the money.......just let McCain and Palin keep talking. The slight lead for Obama will become a wide gap if McPalin doesn't get a cheat sheet on: 1) who are and are not our allies; 2) who are their leaders; 3) what is a solid foundation for an economy; 4) who the President can and cannot fire............ The list just keeps getting longer. I thought it was Palin who was going to get on-the-job training?

    September 19, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  22. Venus


    What a week for McCain/Palin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They are running aganst their own party(:

    Heck in one week we got Karl Rove, WSJ, and many others talking about how bad the McCain is doing.

    Go Bam! Take em' down!

    September 19, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |

    It is time that the voters take a good look at the lack of grasp for the facts that Mr McCain reveals when he speaks about the economy. It is about time that the media should focus on real issues and not on "Lipsticks on a pig". Our nation is going thru dificult times, and there is a man who understands better that this old goat, who does not remember he is one of the ones who contributed to our economic situation being a "deregulator" as he proudly stated some months back, and now talks about the need to regulate more,Who is he trying to fool?. We should continue to speak about the promise for a better future that Mr Obama brings to this election.
    Laura, a Hillary Clinton supporter, a proud democrat for OBAMA

    September 19, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  24. Bruce, Chicago

    McCain is right with that comment! Where has Chris Cox been through all this mess!?!? Hiding to avoid any criticism? Yep. The SEC's mission is to "protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation." Really, well, where have you been? Paulson is doing a heck of a job working to fix an unprecedented mess. Cox has stayed in the shadows like a coward.

    September 19, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  25. Jos/TN

    I hope this a WAKE-UP CALL for America

    September 19, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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