The last refuge of desperate politicos: “I was misled”

The headline pretty much says it all:

Sen. John McCain: I was misled on bailout

The gist:

Under growing pressure from conservatives and “tea party” activists, Sen. John McCain of Arizona is having to defend his record of supporting the government’s massive bailout of the financial system.

In response to criticism from opponents seeking to defeat him in the Aug. 24 Republican primary, the four-term senator says he was misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis, the housing meltdown.

“Obviously, that didn’t happen,” McCain said in a meeting Thursday with The Republic’s Editorial Board, recounting his decision-making during the critical initial days of the fiscal crisis. “They decided to stabilize the Wall Street institutions, bail out (insurance giant) AIG, bail out Chrysler, bail out General Motors. . . . What they figured was that if they stabilized Wall Street – I guess it was trickle-down economics – that therefore Main Street would be fine.”

Unh unh, Senator. The “I was misled!” argument didn’t work for Democrats who supported the Iraq war before they opposed it, and it’s not going to work for you.

Reason Magazine’s Matt Welch pretty much destroys McCain’s attempt at backtracking and excuse-making here. Jeff Perren, on the other hand, is short, sweet, and to the point (via Quin Hillyer):

Even taken at face value this still shows he’s undeserving of a Senate seat.

How can you justify being in the Senate for decades and still know so little about economics and the facts of the situation that you could be misled by the likes of Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke?

‘Nuff said.

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