Through The Static

August 29, 2008

Another Take on McCain

Filed under: Elections,Politics — disciplepete @ 9:21 am

I just posted an article from Alternet about what McCain’s presidency might be like, here’s another article on the same topic from The Economist. It gives a different take…I’m like Fox News, fair and balanced.

When anything happens to remind Americans that the world is a dangerous place, Mr McCain’s stock rises. The murder of Benazir Bhutto in December probably helped him win the New Hampshire primary less than two weeks later. Russia’s recent invasion of Georgia made him look prescient. (Mr Bush once gushed that he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw his soul; Mr McCain quipped that he looked into his eyes and saw “a ‘K’, a ‘G’ and a ‘B’.”)

But will foreign policy always be a strength? Deliberately misconstruing a McCain comment, Democrats have suggested that he wants to occupy Iraq for 100 years. In fact, the gulf between the two candidates on Iraq has narrowed since the end of the Democratic primaries. Mr McCain wants to make Iraq stable and then pull out. Mr Obama wants to pull out as soon as possible, provided that Iraq is stable. How far apart these positions really are depends on how differently you think each candidate would react to developments on the ground. Mr Obama would doubtless withdraw more American troops more quickly, but perhaps not much more quickly.

A more fertile area of attack for the Democrats might well be Mr McCain’s general bellicosity. Back in 2000, his keenness to stamp American democracy on the world made him the neoconservative pick ahead of the milder Mr Bush. Mr McCain, whose political hero is the warlike Teddy Roosevelt, would certainly be readier to bomb Iran than Mr Obama would. And although he has a much better record of getting on with allies than Mr Bush, his scheme for a League of Democracies has plenty of pitfalls.

On economics, Mr McCain’s record has been pretty sensible. He has favoured free trade, low taxes, light regulation and fiscal responsibility. He has consistently opposed wasteful pork-barrel spending while Mr Obama has indulged in it. Two problems, however, have emerged on the campaign trail.

First, he has lost some of his reputation for fiscal straight-talking. The man who condemned Mr Bush’s tax cuts as irresponsible now proposes irresponsibly to expand them. On the stump, he sometimes spouts populist piffle, suggesting for example that oil prices might be reduced by cracking down on speculators. (Mr Obama is guilty of this, too.) And sometimes he says things that make no sense at all, such as when he maintains that a cap-and-trade system for curbing carbon emissions would impose no costs on the American economy.

Second, when it comes to the details of economic policy, Mr McCain often seems out of his depth in ankle-deep water. Asked in July if he supported treasury secretary Hank Paulson’s plan to offer a line of credit to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the ailing government-backed mortgage giants, he said: “I do.” Asked to flesh out his answer, he said: “I support it.”

Given Mr McCain’s weakness in this area, his choice of economic advisers matters a lot. His chief economics guru, Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former head of the Congressional Budget Office, is widely respected. But two other advisers, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, are businesspeople rather than economists…

…Another part of Mr McCain’s appeal is his record as a maverick. His opponent has never bucked his own party’s orthodoxy on anything important. Mr McCain often has. He pressed for action against global warming when many of his Republican colleagues were still dismissing it as a hoax. He joined hands with a Democrat to enact a campaign-finance reform many conservatives reviled. With Ted Kennedy, he sponsored a bill that would have granted illegal immigrants a path to citizenship, had congressional Republicans not howled it down…

…On social issues Mr McCain takes conservative positions, but without obvious gusto. He opposes gay marriage, but half-heartedly. He says he wants to ban abortion, but once let slip that, if his daughter wanted one, he would leave the choice to her. Such moderation, though appealing to swing voters, is anathema to those who equate abortion with murder. But social conservatives have nowhere else to turn. They might stay at home on polling day, but they are unlikely to vote for Mr Obama, who has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion-rights group.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: