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| Main | The President on Panic
November 15, 2008

Was John McCain Really the Most Electable Candidate?

I was never sold on this, not even remotely. Patterico gloats a bit, citing his older posts about McCain's presumed electability.

Back to the hobbyhorse: I cannot imagine any candidate except McCain being unwilling to pin blame for Fannie/Freddie/CRA on the Democrats.

That was all him. A weird and ultimately fatal mix of a strange sense of "honor" that prevented him from attacking Democrats, a determination to remain "bipartisan" and thus never take Republicans' side against Democrats, residual guilt over voting against the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday which caused him again and again to play the race card on himself, and a general lack of fluency in economic issues making him reluctant to play on this turf at all.

No one else had that kind of perfect storm of suicidal stupidity working against him.

Oh: And add to that a bit of misplaced arrogance, or at least a firm belief that his instincts are well-nigh infallible. At least some of his advisers tried to convince him he was dead wrong on his notion that he should let the crisis "just pass" so he could get back to talking about the stuff he wanted to, character and integrity.

The really terrible thing is that the plan, apparently, was to "let the crisis pass" and then begin hammering Obama on Ayers (but not Wright -- he's black).

But when the time for this Mighty Hammering came, McCain largely demurred and spoke about it as if he were embarrassed to even be bringing it up.

Jim DeMint: McCain Betrayed Conservative Principles. He also alludes to Bush's responsibility for the loss.

Which is real. And I keep wanting to write on it, but I can't seem to gin up the enthusiasm for it yet.

He also notes that McCain hurt himself politically by supporting the bailout. This is undeniably true. Personally, I can't fault him for this, as I thought the bailout was the right policy to avert disaster. (I am slowly reconsidering that.)

But there is no doubt as regards pure political advantage that running against the bailout would have been helpful.

Except-- there's a chance McCain and Obama called each other privately about this, and both agreed they had to support it. If McCain ran against it, Obama might have too.

I was attempting to think of "Six at Sixty," six issues that command sixty percent public support. (This is a variation of Geraghty's "Nine at Ninety," an attempt to define nine issues that command 90% support in the GOP only.)

Without a doubt, running against any and all future bailouts -- giveaways; corporate welfare -- must be considered a strong entrant as one of the six at sixty.


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posted by Ace at 04:38 PM

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