SEC Chairman Christopher Cox became flustered when John McCain attacked him for not making stocks go up.
You don't want to see a cowardly politician when he's flustered.
Cox tried to appease McCain by lashing out at short-sellers about the financial crisis, which is roughly equivalent to lashing out at Siskel & Ebert for the box office failure of Waterworld. In his ill-considered, late-night order, Cox banned the short-selling of all "financial" stocks, throwing the market into chaos. The order was like changing the poker rules after everyone has placed their bets: "Okay everyone, deuces wild!" This is not how developed markets operate. Welcome to the new emerging market of 2008.
Now, the coward Cox confirms the story, though he blames Paulson, not McCain, for bullying him:
Cox said the biggest mistake of his tenure was agreeing in September to an extraordinary three-week ban on short selling of financial company stocks. But in publicly acknowledging for the first time that this ban was not productive, Cox said he had been under intense pressure from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to take this action and did so reluctantly.