Fannie Mae was part of the problem. And by this pick in Johnson, and Eric Holder, Barack Obama reveals once again that what he offers is nothing new, but politics as usual. And his vaunted judgment is a joke.
One question is whether Messrs. Johnson and Raines were using their position to pad their own incomes that were already fabulous thanks to an implicit taxpayer subsidy. (See the table nearby.) But the bigger issue is whether they steered Fannie policy into giving Mr. Mozilo and Countrywide favorable pricing, which means they helped to facilitate the mortgage boom and bust that Countrywide did so much to promote. A further federal probe would seem to be warranted, and we assume Barney Frank and his fellow mortgage moralists will want to dig into this palm-greasing from Capitol Hill.
The irony here is that Mr. Obama has denounced Mr. Mozilo as part of his populist case against corporate excess, calling Mr. Mozilo and a colleague in March "the folks who are responsible for infecting the economy and helping to create a home foreclosure crisis." Obama campaign manager David Plouffe also said in March that "If we're really going to crack down on the practices that caused the credit and housing crises, we're going to need a leader who doesn't owe these industries any favors." But now this protector of the working class has entrusted his first big task as Presidential nominee to the very man who received "favors" in return for enriching Mr. Mozilo.
The NY Times tries to make this an issue of executive pay, (which I don't think should be capped) but the issue is ethics. Fun to see Barack getting attacked from the Left, though, as being in thrall to eeevil corporate interests. This is what comes of his muddled thinking, which some mistake for moderation. But his record is straight Left, no matter his scripted happy talk.
Barack started with The Chicago Way, and has morphed into Below the Beltway Obama.