Wall Street Blues Hit the Presidential Race

As our financial markets enter a near-meltdown the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression, two questions need to be asked: “Who is to blame?” and “What will our next president do?”

Investor’s Business Daily thinks they know who the culprit is -- the president. The ex-President Bill Clinton, to be exact. From a recent editorial:

But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street's most revered institutions.

For his part President Bush has done little to deepen the crisis, and his Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, has done much to alleviate the problem. Some would say he’s done too much -- the Fed’s seemingly endless injections of liquidity have maimed the dollar and spiked inflation. Monica Lewinski and Hillary Clinton, it would seem, aren’t the only ones still paying for Clinton’s sins.

But what about our next president?

When it comes to Lehman Brothers in particular, both candidates have taken lots of donations. Obama has received almost $400,000 from Lehman employees in his three-plus years in the Senate. McCain has gotten less than $150,000 from them since 1989. Certainly both have benefited from Lehman's largess, and simply taking donations doesn't prove any kind of corruption. But a hundred k a year certainly cuts into Obama's message of "change." "Hope," too.

In fact, of the nearly three million dollars Lehman employees and PAC distributed in the last 19 years, just two senators -- Obama and Clinton -- received more than a quarter of the total, split nearly evenly. McCain got about five percent.

Nevertheless, McCain isn’t exactly jumping on board the free market bandwagon.