With Wall Street in extremis, John McCain is backing away from a long history as an opponent of financial regulation, reports the Washington Post. The paper cites McCain's record in backing banking deregulation, including the 1999 legislation, sponsored by then-Sen. Phil Gramm, a McCain campaign adviser, that removed the Depression-era walls between banking, investment, and insurance companies.
That bill allowed AIG to expand into the global banking and investing behemoth, but also paved the way for the likes of AIG and Lehman to take on the massive loads of risky debt that have precipitated this crisis. Now McCain is ferociously charging their CEOs with greed and misconduct, which he says is aided by "casual oversight by regulatory agencies in Washington," where oversight is "scattered, unfocused, and ineffective." As recently as March, he was calling for more deregulation.