2008 October 26 Sunday
How John McCain Might Have Won
We are well into the post mortem phase of the 2008 US Presidential election. McCain is clearly the loser. Steve Sailer suggests what McCain might have done to win.
As you may have noticed, John McCain hasn't had any kind of theme to his campaign. He can't go after Obama on what Obama is vulnerable on because that's all tied into race, so Obama gets a free pass on that.
What John McCain should have done in this race is embrace his Grumpy Old Manness and run as the we've-got-to-live-within-our-means candidate. Run against the whole Debt Debauch, the no-money-down culture, the get rich quick attitude. Run against Bush's campaign against down payments.
Don't run in favor of "regulation," run in favor of "thrift" and "prudence," on old fashioned non-ideologue conservatism.
I am not convinced we would have been better off with McCain as President. Both McCain and Obama have such big downsides that it is hard to tell which would be worse. But I like Steve's idea because this is a message that the American people really need to hear. The political support for "no money down" from both sides of the political aisle deserves to be called out and highlighted to the American people. They need to be made extremely aware that this was done and that this flies in the face of common sense.
The problem is that while McCain likes to think of himself as a maverick he's not deep enough to recognize what is wrong and make fundamental criticisms of his peers in our elites. That's a shame because a lot of easy pickings are on display.
A left that uses economic and financial panic-mongering to get into power, should lose hugely. This theme could tie the campaigns into a single one.
It's hard to know which candidate would be worse. Obama is a cookie-cutter liberal elitist Democrat with a generous measure of black radical thrown in. Yet McCain is no prize either. He does have a record as a deficit hawk (he's never sponsored an earmark, for example), yet it does drop off rather sharply from there. He is an arch-neocon, just the kind of bull to get us involved in a war with Iran, Syria, or, God forbid, Russia. He did not suport the Bush II tax cuts. McCain also opposed ANWR drilling and seems to buy into all the global warming nonsense. And, of course, he's a huge proponent of illegal immigration and all its dreadful baggage. In the short term, we might be better off with a McCain presidency. McCain would block most of the loony ideas eminating from a Democrat-controlled Congress (except erasing the US-Mexican border, of course). This might be good for the country in the short run. Yet the Dems would whine about this and maintain that things would be a lot better if they controlled the whole government. So it might be best to give them the chance. Let the Obama-Pelosi-Reid axis have its way. Let's see if they have the gumption to increase taxes as the economy totters on the brink of a depression, a la Herbert Hoover. See what effects a carbon tax has on the price of energy. How about a union-card checkoff to accelerate the loss of jobs? Or more affirmative action to boost their standing with working-class whites? And let the Dems take full responsibility for the wonderful effects of open borders. The last time this was tried, in 1992-94, the Republicans scored huge gains in the off-year Congressional elections. The same outcome would be virtually guaranteed in 2010, leading to a more desirable outcome - a GOP Congress and a Democratic president.
Good analysis, Ned. Although an Obama victory is a fearful prospect, maybe a few years in the belly of the beast is the only thing that will snap the country out of its fantasy world in which we can turn the Middle East into an analogue of Massachusetts, spend money we don't have on every social engineering project, and become a borderless, balkanized international hostel.
It may be evidential: as the election nears, I've noticed more passionate opposition to Obama based on his ideas, as opposed to the standard party politics rhetoric. It's as if some people have suddenly got it: hey, this guy really means what he says about remaking the country and the world.
That at least offers better odds of a heartfelt turnaround than another four years of "wet" Republicanism.
Sorry, Rick. If Obama leads a Democratic Party supermajority the institutional changes to government will happen too fast to keep track of. It is not a matter of being able to snap out of a fantasy world, when government powers to regulate, tax, expropriate, and seize private assets grow too quickly to be reversed. Three such stages of government growth occurred, and each one still hamstrings the US economy. 1. FDRs new deal. 2. LBJs Great Society 3. Jimmy Carter's assault on free enterprise, including the CRA which eventually led to the credit crunch.
BHO's expansion of government powers will make the former 3 look like free enterprise fanatics. No recovery possible. You have never seen hardship in your lives, Rick, Ned, RP. Not really. But you will. Oh yes, you will.
Ned makes a lot of good points, although I have a tough time imagining that the GOP will really do what they ought to for the next 2 years: sit on their hands and let Obama, Pelosi, and Reid "own" the mess they're going to make. Pelosi is not a stupid woman, and she knows that even if the Democrats have enough votes to pass just about any legislation they want, in order to do the really bad stuff they'll want some GOP votes in order to give themselves political cover if and when things blow up in their face. If I were giving advice to the GOP leadership, I'd tell them to cool it and resist the temptation to play along.
Of course, the newfound GOP spine, if they get one, will be portrayed by the White House and the media as racism.
Ah well, at least the next 4 years are going to be entertaining. We'll have a Maxine Waters wannabe as our first lady, dozens if not more of Obama's Kenyan relatives will suddenly appear and cause him no end of embarrassment, and Bill Clinton will find it impossible not to comment on what he would do differently if he were still in office.
The only area where a large part of the GOP agrees with the Democrats is immigration, but, since Obama and McCain are virtually the same on this issue, "comprehensive" immigration reform is very likely no matter who wins in November. This will be hailed as a triumph of "bipartisanship," just like the measures that gave us the current economic disaster. In the period 1992-94, a centerist President Clinton was pulled to the left by a Democratic Congress, leading to a rather nasty backlash (for the Democrats) in the next election. If Obama wins, it will be hard to judge who leads the dash to the left this time - the president or the Congress. However, if the GOP rediscovers its roots and opposes this shift, even ineffectively, they should do very well in the next election. It is ironic that, when many western democracies either have center-right governments (France, Germany, Canada, Italy) or seem to be headed that way (the UK), the US is lurching to the left. This does not bode well for the future of the American economy or our ability to compete against other economies. And I agree with James - the amount of damage that these clowns can cause in two years is enormous.
To call the Conservatives in Canada "center-right" is absurd. Both Mulroney and Clark campaigned heavily to institute a complex set of collectivist rights to fuck over the rights of individuals. As for small limited government under the control and supervision of the general population, the constitutional amendment they proselytized for had a six page fucking sentence in it. Fortunately, they gave individuals a say by referendum. Contrary to official Conservative dogma at the time, Canada did not vanish in a puff of black smoke.
Even under Harper, the Conservative party here is a socialist party slightly to the left of the typical Democrat. (Not to mention that as a political strategist the man is a fuck-wit and as an executive is too fucking lame to even repeal a universally reviled gun registry.)
I don't know about France, but I strongly suspect Germany and Italy are even worse than Canada.
The US lost the election when McCain was nominated to the Republican ticket. For the first time, Americans have faced the same choice among socialists that we have had to endure here for at least a quarter century.