Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

One Economic Argument for McCain

1. The national polls have Obama at 50% or better and an average of about 7% over McCain. The senate polls suggest a real possibility that the Democrats could win 62 seats, including MN, MS, and GA. That would include Senator Al Franken (who hasn’t even been funny for a decade), a possibility that deserves but will not get a hilarious SNL skit.

2. One reason can be seen in the article from the WaPo below: Obama seems to be more competent when it comes to things economic, his advisors more expert, etc.

3. But the author of said article may have a clever "subtext" that "subverts" what he actually says: The evidence suggests that deregulation is not the real cause of our financial crisis. The main damage came from the risky business of the intensely partisan and hyper-regulated Fannie and Freddie. The main danger is that the crisis will produce an angry and really completely misguided overreaction against deregulation.

4. Obama himself could conceivably be prudent enough to manage that anger and not come forward with too many perverse new policies. But Obama with a heavily Democratic Congress? Wrongheaded animosity is bound to run amok in Congress, and a Democratic president can’t be expected to control it. The Democratic Congress, as the author says, will deeply compromise what MIGHT be the personal prudence of the president and his advisors. A united Democratic government is bound to mess up the economy more.

5. So the only way to really manage wrongheaded animosity is to elect McCain, who will veto the most outrageous overreactions. This position will become much more credible if Mac exhibits a lot more economic competence and more real sense of the causes of the crisis. The economist who wrote the POST article seems open-minded enough, for example, to be turned around.

Discussions - 4 Comments

who hasn’t even been funny for a decade

I don't know, Peter. Why No Me? was a stroke of genius.

Steven Landsburg, author of the excellent book The Armchair Economist, agrees with Peter's assessment. For what it's worth, so do I.

By the way, my friend Steven Horwitz has written a wonderful piece on why deregulation and free markets aren't to blame for the financial crisis.

Do People want to Risk what will result if with a fillerbuster proof (60+) controled Democratic Senate and a Dem controled House with the current class of 74 radicals in charge of the committees will NOT CONTROL BO???? Come on, Jimmy Carter was shaped by them and they hijacked the whole course of his Administration which at first promised to be rather Conservative (given JC's record in Georgia). I fear betrayal of the victories and sucesses of our Military both in Iraq and Afganistan.. that will produce a whole generation of bitter angry ex-military personal who will feel betrayed by the political system that let BO get power. Stab in the Back bitterness will be much stronger than that which happened in the 70s with the Vietnam vets because here the turn towards sucess was at hand only to be given up due to political principle of the liberal democrat anti-military worldview. I predict with a BO Presidency our military will have retirement and resignation rate that will make the early Clinton years look like a high point in Patriotism. The future political landscape under these conditions look dangerous to maintainance of liberal democracy.

1. There is a potentially strong conservative narrative on the mortgage/financial crisis. Its pro worker, pro taxpayer, anti Big Business and anti Big Government. Its that well connected Big Business executives (like Obama's friends in Fannie and Freddie) bought protection from Big Government politicians (including Obama), in order to make bad loans and left the taxpayers holding the bag. That narrative is powerful, and while it does not encompass the whole truth, it is truer than the Obama "deregualtion did it" narrative.

2. But McCain has dropped that narrative. Instead he had Palin at the debate blame WALL STREET GREED and promise alot more doggone REGULATION. Where did McCain ever get the idea that he could out anti bussiness and outregulate Obama?

3. Until McCain connects with the public on the economy, nothing else he says will help him very much. Its not that the other issues don't matter. Its that until the public is satisfied that McCain in engaged in and has real solutions for the economy, anything else McCain talks about (Ayers, judges, Iraq, whatever), will come across like changing the subject away from the most pressing issue. There is just no substitute for a powerful economic message.

4.Obama is astute but circumstances and McCain's weaknesses are more responsible for Obama's current lead than Obama's political skill. Given the same situation, Mike Dukakis and his crew would also be ahead. Its that kind of year.

5. Arguing that McCain will act as a check on the vindictive overregulating instincts of a Democrat Congress might work with economists. The problem is that McCain has been completely incompetent in explaining the relationship between regulation and the current crisis. McCain has in fact conceded Obama's basic premises (how is that for strategery). Before any explanation about why Democrats in Congress would go to far, must come the explanation of why Obama is wrong on and complicit in the present crisis.

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