The ‘Reform’ McCain Wants to Forget

With the markets in frightening turmoil and the public outraged by financial irresponsibility and excessive greed, John McCain has suddenly rediscovered the importance of strong, watchful government. Only six months ago, he assured The Wall Street Journal that he was generally opposed to regulation, but today he is ready to control executive compensation, defend 401(k) accounts from corporate predators and impose renewed federal oversight of errant markets.

This populist rhetoric sounds strange, especially when emitted by a politician whose circle of advisers include former Sen. Phil Gramm, a vice president of the scandal-tainted Union Bank of Switzerland, and John Thain, chief executive of the firm formerly known as Merrill Lynch. But when facing the angry voters who have watched their savings evaporate, the conservative Republican hopes to sound like a liberal Democrat.

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