Brief of the Week September 29

CUOMO OVER COX: After flooring conservatives nationwide with his promise to fire Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox, John McCain angered them even further last week by telling CBS-TV’s “Sixty Minutes” that he would like to replace Cox with Andrew Cuomo, the New York State attorney general who was secretary of Housing and Urban Development under Bill Clinton. McCain said that Democrat Cuomo would bring “respect” and “prestige” and “lend some bipartisanship” to the SEC. “Mr. McCain must be looking at a different record than I am,” wrote John Fund in his on-line column for the Wall Street Journal. “Mr. Cuomo was a political grandstander at HUD, ranging far afield to file frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. He also spent taxpayer money to hire such firms as Booz Allen Hamilton, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Ernst & Ernst to paper over [foul-ups] at his agency.” Fund went on to cite a report in the liberal Village Voice that said Cuomo “turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart deal with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down” and that this — “in combination with many other factors — helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments.” Nationally syndicated columnist George Will also weighed in on McCain’s statements on Cox and Cuomo, concluding that “the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either.”