Commentary Magazine


Where’s the Outrage?

The Wall Street Journal editors write:

Give Senator Christopher Dodd credit for nerve. On Tuesday, the very day he finally admitted knowing that Countrywide Financial regarded him as a “special” customer, the Connecticut Democrat also announced that he was bringing to the Senate floor a housing bailout sure to help lenders like Countrywide.

Dodd is not alone, of course. Also on the Countrywide “special friends” list are is Senator Conrad and other luminaries, including Donna Shalala, whose presidential honors stumped conservatives recently.

This has all the making of a real scandal. Big shots including those with regulatory oversight over Countrywide got goodies from the company at the center of a major financial crisis. You’d think the media would have this on Page One, that Henry Waxman would be salivating at the prospect of grilling witnesses (he certainly loved tearing into Angelo Mozilo before this latest scandal broke), and the Agent of Change would be decrying the Old Politics of Washington insiders. But zip. Zilch. Why?

You have to understand that the key ingredient in a full-blown media Washington scandal is missing: there is no prominent Republican involved. So Barack Obama is mute, as are his media cheerleaders.

That doesn’t mean John McCain should be. And his inattention to this seems odd. (Yes, he’s busy and there are even bigger problems, as John points out.) But this is tailor-made for him. He after all has an his eagle eye for impropriety. It certainly would give him an edge over Obama, who shrinks from this issue (after the James Johnson fiasco) like a vampire cringes from sunlight.

It isn’t everyday that a real scandal comes to Washington. McCain would be well advised to make the most of it.

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