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July 13, 2008

McCain's Uncertain Trumpet on Energy

Bad policy. Abysmal politics.

Good piece by Jack Kelly. Read the whole thing.

Much of the dissatisfaction with Congress is due to its unwillingness to do anything about the soaring price of gasoline. "Right now, our strategy on gas prices is 'Drive small cars and wait for the wind,'•" a Democratic congressional aide told The Hill newspaper.

"So why are the Republicans running scared, and why aren't they going after the 'new Democratic Congress' hammer and tongs?" wondered Web logger Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit. "Beats me. Because they're idiots, I guess."

I disagree. Some Republicans in Congress are crooks, and many are cowards. But few are idiots. For idiocy, you have to look to the campaign of Sen. John McCain.


The winning theme is obvious... But Mr. McCain has been Hamlet when he needs to be Henry V. He is discarding a strong hand through mixed messages and equivocation. He supports drilling on the outer continental shelf, but opposes it in ANWR. He backs a "cap and trade" program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that would devastate our economy. Nuance is important in policy-making, but can be disastrous in political campaigning. If the trumpet be uncertain …

Mr. McCain needs to decide, pronto, which is more important to him: Winning the election or receiving an occasional kind word from liberal pundits who will vote against him.

If he wants to win, Mr. McCain needs to demonstrate in a dramatic way he'll take every reasonable step to increase energy supplies - including drilling in ANWR.

Since I quoted so much I will not quote the end of the article, which describes a nightmare scenario I've been worrying about myself: What if the candidate of Hope and Change Flip and Flop decides tomorrow to win the election going away and simply announces his support for drilling in ANWR?

It's almost inconceivable. Almost. And yet it could happen -- Obama, and perhaps even the Democrats, could, possibly, outflank McCain to his right on the issue most animating the public at the moment.

And then what? Will McCain flip too, or decide instead that the public will vote against its own interests and preferences and vote instead for McCain on the basis of his integrity and principle?

Question: There's an expression I keep trying to think of. I believe it's French. The idea is "It's not merely wrong, it's a mistake," which is probably not really it. But the idea the expression serves to, um, express is that some things are merely conventionally wrong (like telling the public you will spend a fortune on middle-class entitlements and welfare but will not increase middle class taxes) whereas other things are in the category of a mistake, both obviously wrong and not even wrong in a helpful way (as most of Captain Bullshit's bullshit is usefully wrong).

Anyone know what I'm talking about?

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posted by Ace at 03:18 PM

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