October 7, 2008 · Lessig
It has surprised me that this, the tremor before this recent financial disaster, the Keating Five scandal, has not been at the center of this campaign before. But now, apparently in response to Palin’s suggestion that the fact Obama knows Ayers is relevant to whether he should be president, the Obama campaign has released this very strong 15 minute documentary about the Keating scandal.
For those not old enough to remember, here’s the outline: 5 Senators, all of whom had received campaign funding from Charles Keating, intervene with regulators to get them to overlook criminal behavior by Keating, leading to the collapse of Lincoln Savings, leading to a $3.4 billion bill for Americans. The only one of those 5 Senators to receive both personal and political benefits from Keating: McCain.
Fair? Totally relevant to the question whether the judgment of this candidate is the sort that’s needed at this time. Totally relevant to the basic question whether his philosophy — deregulate — is what this sector needs at this time.
Wise? Not sure. I’m not sure Americans distinguish between hard-hitting-and-fair criticism (which this is) and hard-hitting-and-unfair criticism (which Palin’s is). One might worry that they’re “burn[ing] down the house to roast the pig” but I assume they’ve reckoned that.
But ugly? You bet.