Shocking advice, I know. That said, I hadn’t realized how ridiculous the ads could get until I saw one from the McCain camp that stated (I seriously paused my Tivo and went to the computer when I saw it): “Obama has no background in economics…who advises him? The Post says it’s Franklin Raines for advice on mortgage and housing policy. Shocking…” (In case you don’t know, Franklin Raines was the head of Fannie Mae until 2004, when he resigned amidst controversy regarding accounting irregularities.) Okay, I get that this is not exactly the sort of thing that Obama would want to brag about. However, I would argue that whether he had tried to get crafty with accounting rules has little impact on his knowledge of financial markets (especially since he was Clinton’s budget director- it’s not like he’s not qualified).
But I digress, as usual…what got me so irritated by the commercial is the fact that it is very well known, at least in the economics community, that Obama has put together an impressive team of economic advisers, including respected academics such as Austan Goolsbee, at least until recently. (Other people seem to randomly know this as well. For example, one of my friend’s medical interns bragged to me that he got to take a class with “Obama’s economic adviser”, as if I didn’t know him by name.) I’m not sure that McCain really wants to go down this path, since his economic credentials and advisers really don’t need the scrutiny, especially since McCain himself admits “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.”
In case you’re curious:
In looking for a list of McCain’s economic advisers, I instead found a list of “Economists Who Endorse the McCain Economic Plan”. There are some impressive names on the list, but a. it’s unclear if they advised in any official capacity (their names aren’t mentioned in the adviser article below), and b. since most economists lean to the right (at least on fiscal matters, being all free market advocating and such), it’s unclear how to interpret the support. I do it interesting that the majority of endorsers seems to be from schools in swing states (I’m talking to you, Ohio). Here is a very interesting and rather in-depth article that outlines the economic advisers for both camps. McCain’s advisers seem to be more corporate-y and Washington-y than I would expect. Also, my girl crush on Laura Tyson has been renewed due to her involvement in the Obama campaign.
I am happy to see that the Washington Post caught on to this, since I am guessing that their readership is larger than mine. For your viewing pleasure, the link even includes the video of the commercial (which is has been paused on my TV for 45 minutes now).
(Note: My argument should not be taken as support for one side or the other, it’s more of a “What the hell, people?” sort of thing.)