McCain's Bailout Leadership Failure
My friends at the RNC won't like this, but it needs to be said...again.
After John McCain's failure of both politics and principle in pursuit of the bailout bill, he's cemented my Libertarian vote a month from now.
John McCain is a highly flawed candidate, but I was leaving open a sliver of a possibility of voting for him.
After all, he claims to support:
* Sensible but minimal government involvement in the financial system, including having called for oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but not going for every Democrat-led call to regulate hedge funds
* Competition in the health insurance markets, including an understanding that excessive mandates (i.e. governments telling insurance companies what problems must be covered) raise prices far more than the benefits they provide to most consumers.
* An all-inclusive energy plan which supports alternative energy sources but realizes that they will not be able to provide any substantial share of our nation's energy needs in the short or medium term, so the plan would include increasing our offshore drilling for oil and gas as well as building more nuclear power plants.
* Eliminating earmarks including specific tax breaks for favored businesses.
So, when John McCain "suspended" his campaign to rush to Washington to help "solve" the financial crisis, one would have expected him to have some concern, to say the least, about a bill which had provisions in opposition to his position on every one of the points noted above.
It gets the tentacles of government deeply and probably permanently entwined in what used to be the most dynamic financial system in the world. It adds a federal mental health and drug treatment mandate to all health insurance policies. It contains an energy "plan" that is not just worthless but which will likely make it more difficult to craft a decent compromise bill. And it includes extensions of tax earmarks.
This bill was one thing after another which McCain claimed to oppose, yet in his quest to appear as the great bi-partisan savior (as if the Democrats would let him appear that way a month before a presidential election), McCain made several huge mistakes:
First, McCain should have opposed the bailout bill on principle, as described above.
Second, McCain should have opposed the bill for political reasons, as it 1) is unpopular with the public, and 2) would have given him a major point of differentiation from Obama and, maybe more importantly, from President Bush.
Third, he was nearly invisible in the early important meetings, with reports saying that he was silent during one of the most high-profile meetings with President Bush and leaders of Congress. It's one thing to have people think you don't know enough about economics to be relevant (or president). It's another thing to prove it.
Fourth, many conservatives (and libertarians) recognize McCain's so-called bipartianship, i.e. with McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, and McCain-Lieberman as the unfortunate new meaning for "bipartisanship": The movement of so-called conservative politicians toward the liberal position without any quid-pro-quo for liberals to move toward conservatives on the same or another issue. This was just another of McCain's "bipartisan" moments, undercutting the courageous House Republicans who were our nation's last line of defense against this travesty rather than siding with them. Again, siding with the House conservatives was clearly the right move, both in terms of principle and politics.
But McCain still got it wrong. Spectacularly wrong. Stupidly, economically ignorantly, politically tin-eared-ly, pathetically, unforgivably wrong.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Rossputin on 10/06/08 at 01:34:29 am . Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0.|