Former Nixonite Kevin Phillips: We’re Like London 100 Years Ago

Finally, as far as the last three candidates for president, do you have a particular favorite?

I have one type of favorite and another type of favorite.

Sentimentally, I’d like to see John McCain have his day. I certainly would’ve supported him in 2000 if he’d gotten the nomination; I admired anybody with the foresight to say that the country deserved better than George W. Bush. I think it did. He says things about speculators and people in the financial sector, that maybe they don’t get the attention they should; I think he recognizes quite a bit of this fallibility.

Having said that, he indicates himself he doesn’t know too much about economics; and when he comes up with the sort of Republican Holy Grail, which is you will balance the budget at the same time you will cut spending and reduce taxes, and if you can’t come up with anything more than that, then I don’t think you’re up to the enormous challenge that the economy’s going to pose.

Now, Obama’s interesting because I think he understands a lot of the things that have gone astray and understands how elements of the Democratic Party have been complicit in this. For instance, he attacked the deregulation that occurred under Bill Clinton. …

Now, how far is he willing to go? He’s got advisers clearly willing to go far when they’re not operating as his spokesmen. How far that’s going to go if Obama gets in, I don’t know. He has a lot of financial [services] support. … You’d probably assume that Obama has at least, if not feet of clay, several toes that are of clay. I think, at least, he’d be experimental and would come to it with an awareness that it was a bipartisan failure.

But has he laid out anything bold in terms of his comments; has he said, ‘We can’t afford to have this change in the economy continue’? I’d like to see somebody say we should try to halt our financial sector once you get rid of the abuses and everything we’ve seen in terms of leverage and securitization that nobody understands.