A Note On Message Consistency
Sen. John McCain has an op-ed in the St. Petersburg Times today about the potential government bailout of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Here’s the first paragraph:
Americans should be outraged at the latest sweetheart deal in Washington. Congress will put U.S. taxpayers on the hook for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It’s a tribute to what these two institutions — which most Americans have never heard of — have bought with more than $170-million worth of lobbyists in the past decade.
Right! We should be outraged — OUTRAGED — at this sweetheart deal! Congress should be ashamed of itself for putting U.S. taxpayers on the hook for this mortgage industry bailout. But wait, here’s the second paragraph:
With combined obligations of roughly $5-trillion, the rapid failure of Fannie and Freddie would be a threat to mortgage markets and financial markets as a whole. Because of that threat, I support taking the unfortunate but necessary steps needed to keep the financial troubles at these two companies from further squeezing American families. But let us not forget that the threat that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to financial markets is a tribute to crony capitalism that reflects the power of the Washington establishment.
WHAAA?!?!? The legitimacy of the potential deal aside, McCain just said Americans should be outraged at Congress…for engineering a bailout that McCain himself supports. He also says that Congressional support — of which he is a part — results from $170 million worth of lobbying, which he goes on to decry. There are several conflicting messages in two consecutive paragraphs. If you are a presidential candidate, and you are publicly announcing your support for something, it might not be in your best interest to preface it by telling Americans they should be outraged at the thing you support. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems pretty basic.