John McCain and the Republicans have to be wondering why the safe haven for investment bank customers known as "auction rate securities," which had auctioned off and were treated as safe as money markets for ages, suddenly started to fail to find any takers earlier this year.
Surely they question why it is that the giant disasters known as Fannie and Freddie reached their moment of darkness with just seven weeks to go in the election. One would think that conservatives and Republicans are scratching their heads wondering who was shorting the stocks of critical investment houses and causing widespread panic over the liquidity of everything from pension plans to simple money market accounts, and all in a matter of a week.
Now we are down to a $700 billion bailout that is, for McCain and the Republicans, like the Salem witch trials. If you are innocent, you drown, if you are guilty, they burn you at the stake.
Newt Gingrich says that if McCain votes for the so-called "Bush bailout" bill to keep financial institutions solvent, he will guarantee his defeat. Based on how many conservatives feel about the bill, that may well be true. So there's the "drowning if you're innocent" part of McCain's ordeal.
If the Bush proposal fails to pass, then panic is likely to hit Wall Street, leaving banks and financial institutions with little working capital; and likely leading to one of the worst economic crises most of us have ever witnessed. That is where McCain gets burned at the stake.
As is often the case, this entire disaster is likely a combination of strange coincidences, greed and total ineptitude on the part of leaders in government and finance. But we do know that the FBI now wants some answers about these matters as well.
Oh, and I couldn't help but notice that the most astute of Obama supporters, the "Sage of Omaha," Warren Buffett, was ready and willing to scoop up at a fire-sale discount a good portion of Goldman Sachs. Is he really just a sage?
Sorry. There goes that darn paranoia again.
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