Time for Rick Davis to go

TIME FOR RICK DAVIS TO GO…. Hilzoy summarized the latest revelations about McCain campaign manager Rick Davis last night. The news is hard to spin away — Davis not only lobbied to shield Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from federal regulations, but we now learn that Davis’ lobbying firm was picking up $15,000 a month from Freddie Mac, right up until it was taken over by the feds.

Let’s pause to fully appreciate the big picture here.

John McCain argued last week that the crisis on Wall Street “started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence pedaling.” Oops.

John McCain insisted, on national television, just a couple of days ago, that Davis had had no involvement with Freddie Mac for the last several years. He added, “I’ll be glad to have his record examined by anybody who wants to look at it.” (Davis adopted the same line on a conference call with reporters on Monday, arguing that he’s been completely detached from the housing lending giants.)

John McCain told voters last week that Barack Obama having tenuous relationships with former officials at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is scandalous, worthy of attack ads, and enough to cast doubts on Obama’s judgment.

Given all of this, it’s hard to see how McCain keeps Rick Davis on as campaign manager.

Indeed, McCain might even have a credible excuse. Given that McCain went on the attack over Fannie/Freddie associations, and said Davis hasn’t been connected to the companies for years, he could probably argue now, “My campaign manager misled me about the extent of his lobbying work.” Indeed, that’s what it largely boils down to — either Davis led to McCain, or McCain lied to us. I suspect the campaign will prefer Door #1.

To be sure, it’s left McCain in a very awkward position. If he lets Davis go, the campaign will look awful with less than six weeks until Election Day. If he keeps Davis on, he looks dishonest and borderline corrupt.

It couldn’t have happened to a more appropriate campaign.