Obama is seeking to blame the current crisis on the Bush Administration:
I certainly don't fault Senator McCain for these problems, but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to. It's a philosophy we've had for the last eight years - one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. It's a philosophy that says even common-sense regulations are unnecessary and unwise, and one that says we should just stick our heads in the sand and ignore economic problems until they spiral into crises.
Well now, instead of prosperity trickling down, the pain has trickled up - from the struggles of hardworking Americans on Main Street to the largest firms of Wall Street.
This country can't afford another four years of this failed philosophy. For years, I have consistently called for modernizing the rules of the road to suit a 21st century market - rules that would protect American investors and consumers. And I've called for policies that grow our economy and our middle-class together. That is the change I am calling for in this campaign, and that is the change I will bring as President.
This is high-test hooey. This was not some criminal activity that the Bush administration should have been investigating more thoroughly; it was a thorough, massive, systemic mispricing of the risk attendant on lending to people with bad credit. (These are, mind you, the same people that five years ago the Democrats wanted to help enjoy the many booms of homeownership.) Lehman, Bear, Merrill and so forth did not sneakily lend these people money in the hope of putting one over on the American taxpayer while ruining their shareholders and getting the senior executives fired. They got it wrong. Badly wrong. So did everyone else.
What, specifically, should the Bush administration have done, Senator? Don't tell me they should have beefed up SEC enforcement, since this is not a criminal problem (aside from minor lies by Bear execs after the damage was already done). Perhaps he should not have reappointed Greenspan, or appointed Ben Bernanke? Both moves were widely hailed at the time. Moreover, to believe that a Democrat could have done better is to assert that a Democratic president would have found a Fed chair who would pay less attention to unemployment, or a bank regulator who would have tried harder to prevent low-income people from buying homes. Where is this noble creature? And why didn't Barack Obama push for him at the time?
Indeed, I ask the Senator to name one significant thing that Bush has done to create this crisis that couldn't also be laid at the feet of St. William of Little Rock. If Democratic policy is so good at protecting the little guy from asset price bubbles, how come the stock market crashed in 2000?
This kind of foolish grandstanding is not the change we need. It's just more of the same.