I've noticed a trend which I don't like, but do understand, where the supporters of a candidate talk much more about what that candidate's opponent says and does than they do about what their candidate says and does. This is true both in general and more specifically with regards to the debate. The benign explanation for this is that this late in the campaign supporters already know everything they need to know about their candidate, and no information isn't that interesting to them. Other explanations are less positive about supporters' mindsets. And now, as an Obama supporter, I'm going to talk about John Sidney McCain, III.

Sen. McCain:
But you know, one of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I'll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis. But you know, they're the ones that, with the encouragement of Sen. Obama and his cronies and his friends in Washington, that went out and made all these risky loans, gave them to people that could never afford to pay back. And you know, there were some of us that stood up two years ago and said we've got to enact legislation to fix this. We've got to stop this greed and excess. Meanwhile, the Democrats in the Senate and some -- and some members of Congress defended what Fannie and Freddie were doing. They resisted any change. Meanwhile, they were getting all kinds of money in campaign contributions. Sen. Obama was the second highest recipient of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac money in history -- in history.
Sen. Obama responded to this by talking about the entanglements between the McCain campaign and the GSEs via Rick Davis and others, and made a general point about deregulation being to blame for the crisis. The first point completely true, the second is true but too vague, I would have liked like to hear more specifics about which regulations would have helped avoid the crisis if they had been in place.

But I'd like to talk about two points Obama didn't, for whatever reason, bring up in his reply. The first is the degree to which the GSEs are to blame, and the second is the issue of who they donate to.

Because it's over all true that the GSEs have closer ties to Democratic politicians than to Republican ones, many people have an interest in placing as much blame as possible upon them for the current economic crisis. So, the first point to keep in mind about the degree of blame they bear for the crisis is that the GSEs don't originate any mortgages, they buy them from institutions which do. And they can't buy sub-prime mortgages. Sub-prime mortgages are defined as the ones which don't meet the standards they use for deciding what to purchase. After that simple point, things get more complicated, though the answer remains that Fannie and Freddie are not particularly responsible. For an excellent guide to the whole issue, I recommend reading the following three posts, the first and most recent of which quotes (in part) the second, and the second of which quotes (in part) the third. Also, the latter two aren't about the current financial crisis, but instead about the collapse of the housing bubble earlier this year. But since the housing bubble popping is how Fannie and Freddie contributed, to whatever degree they did, to the current crisis, they remain equally relevant.

On the side-issue of donations, it's true that just four years after winning national office, Sen. Obama had, as of the Federal Election Committee's Sept. 2 data, received the second most donations from the GSEs (totaling $126,349.00), and that John McCain, whatever may be true of his staffers, has received the 62nd most ($21,550.00). However, this ignores the distinction between donations from employees and donations from Political Action Committees. Employees give money to candidates for a variety of reasons. For example, my donations to Barack Obama do not, to the best of my self-awareness, have anything to do with whether his administration would be better for my law firm than John McCain's would be. Nevertheless, my donations, by the way OpenSecrets calculates donations from business entities, would be counted as coming from my employer. PACs on the other hand don't just give to candidates for any reason, they give because they need that candidate's support or otherwise feel the candidate's success will serve the interest of the organization or issue they represent. So when the GSE's Pacs donates to you, there's no need to guess about whether the money is being given to further the GSE's interests. With employees, surely some of it is being given for reasons of the business's interests, but how much isn't a known quantity. Anyway, the point of this is, Sen. Obama has only received $6,000.00 from the GSE's PACs, and $120,349.00 from their employees. Many, many politicians, including a large number of Republicans (though not McCain), have received far greater amounts from the GSE PACs than Obama has. Also, since Obama has run the most successful Presidential fund raising campaign in history, his fund raising from any given source will likely look good.

God, I'm writing long posts these days. Hope you read the whole thing, sorry if it was a waste of your time, hope it was informative.