What Experience Should Tell Us

05/25/2011 12:25 pm ET

Raise your hands if you remember the Keating Five scandal of the late 1980's.

Charles Keating ran the Lincoln Savings and Loan. The Reagan administration, those God-fearing, brush-clearing, "Morning-in-America" humanists, wanted less regulation of "thrift" banks so that they could invest in riskier real estate deals. The results of those unregulated banking practices were disastrous. The eventual taxpayer bailout, during GHW Bush's term, was upwards of $3 billion (in late 80's dollars.)

Keating said that the Feds at the Home Loan Bank Board were out to get him for political reasons. He had spent $300,000 on political influence with four Democratic Senators and one Republican, John McCain. The New York Times recently ran a story on McCain wherein he is depicted as being deeply ashamed of the accusations that surrounded his relationship with Keating. Perhaps, some of McCain's eventual foray into campaign finance reform, along with Russ Feingold, were the result of the Keating scandal.

The question for two candidates running for President is, "What have you learned?"

From McCain, I would like proof that he has not drank the Bush Kool-Aid. That's the concoction that, once consumed, compels government leaders to go to any lengths to loosen regulations on financial institutions and then back up the potential calamity with a government bailout. This drug is powerful. In laboratory tests, one dose has also actually caused the subject to start a war with a country using false evidence. (Additionally, after all reports indicate that the war is unsuccessful per its intended goal, the subject has stated that he would remain in the war zone for "a hundred years." )

I would love to hear a reporter ask McCain what he learned from Keating Five. And what he thinks is the lesson from the current sub-prime and credit collapses that are causing havoc in markets around the globe and pushing the dollar to dangerous lows nearly everywhere. Does America need more integrity and regulation, or would John McBush go for a bailout that we would all pay for?

I would also like to hear Hillary Clinton apologize for her vote on Iraq. I was sad to read Joseph Wilson, who I admire, shilling for Mrs. Clinton on this site. That line that her vote was one of political expediency can only hold water if the Senator from New York can now revise that decision and say the one thing she owes her constituents, who, I assume, are Democrats.

Hilary Clinton would make a good President. Even in spite of her Iraq vote. But she must look into the camera and say, "I am sorry. My vote was a mistake. And if I had it to do over again, I would have voted against the war."

Mrs. Clinton has been quoted as saying, "If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to chose from."


I want Mrs. Clinton to apologize. Until she does, I encourage Democrats to focus their attention, and their money, on illuminating what is good about Barack Obama.