Sen. John McCain was on Fox News Sunday today, where he did an interesting little dance, where he seemed to favor the nationalization of failing banks, but if McCain supports nationalization, does this make him a Socialist too?
McCain supported nationalization without using the word, “Well, you’d sell off their assets, and you have the — unfortunately, the shareholders and others will take a beating. But to just keep them alive when — and keep pouring billions and billions of taxpayers’ dollars into them, when they clearly are not — their situation is not improving — these are tough choices. I don’t know if it’s, quote, nationalizing, but it certainly is not continuing to — propping them up with tens or 40 or $50 billion of taxpayers’ dollars and their overall value continues to decline.”
According to the Republican Party, and Wall Street, the nationalization of banks would be socialism, so McCain played a little semantic game here. He described the characteristics of nationalization, without actually using the word, or saying specifically that he supported it. McCain does have a point, in saying that it doesn’t make sense to keep dumping tens of billions of dollars into a system that seems to be hording the money. His answer also demonstrates that McCain reads the polls. A recent U.S. News and World Report poll revealed that 56% of Americans support the nationalization of banks.
McCain could have said that he doesn’t support nationalization, but instead he talked about selling off assets and investor pain. McCain also wouldn’t blame Obama for the drop in the stock market. I think McCain doesn’t have a desire to nationalize anything. His motivation is that he wants the government to stop dumping money into the banking system, and if nationalization would stop the federal spending then he would be willing to consider that.
The GOP is trying to paint a picture of Obama as the extreme socialist, who is out to ruin capitalism, but Obama doesn’t support the nationalization of banks. Does this mean that McCain is more of a socialist than Obama? The problem that the Republicans face is that they aren’t unified around an answer to our current problems. I am sure that McCain’s comments won’t be popular on CNBC, and it is a pretty safe guess that his office will be issuing some sort of clarification, but while the Republicans are fighting ideological battles, the American people want this crisis resolved, even if it involves nationalization.