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.
To make it worse, Cox and his idiot minions issued a list of what they thought were all "financial" stocks, but they included a lot of HMOs and left off a lot of banks.
Well, if you think Cox is a buffoon, wait until you see how Hank Paulson manages his new Toxic Asset Removal and Disposal Service (TARDS). Paulson is going to let banks dump their most toxic assets on the taxpayer, and he's going to give them cash. How do you put a value on toxic waste? I don't know, and neither does Paulson. Priceless.