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Wide Left

6 October 2008

This was the last, best chance for Senator McCain to differentiate himself from both Senator Obama and President Bush.  It was also a golden opportunity to give Governor Palin a chance to show her stuff on an issue that has energized the fiscal conservatives (that thrilled to her nomination) in an area of politics – economics – where she has already demonstrated her strength and comfort.

1.  Obama’s #1 argument against a McCain presidency is that he would be Bush’s third term.  If McCain had fought valiantly against a bailout designed and proposed by the now-impotent Bush administration, Obama’s biggest rhetorical gun would have been neutralized.

2.  Palin’s greatest strength (other than her charm and presence) is her unabashed, fiscal conservatism.  Turning Palin loose against the bailout would have played to her strength and would have allowed her to channel Ronald Reagan from now until Election Day.  Given McCain’s weakness with the base, this could have been the ticket to the White House.

3.  “Straight Talk Express” is now seen for the advertisement fraud that it is.  What is “straight talk” if it does not speak words of sober truth to a whining, self-indulgent, entitlement-addled electorate?

4.  In demographic terms, by voting for the bailout McCain has gained nothing.  He had congealed a big, jiggly cube of the wishy-washy vote; the conservative vote (read: turnout) is still fluid.

McCain should have said this:  

“Much to my dismay and the dismay of hundreds of respected economists, it appears that momentum is building to pass this ill-conceived bailout; but you can be sure that Mrs. Palin and I will fight it with every tool at our disposal until it is signed into law – which is not a foregone conclusion by any means.  Despite the disingenuous propaganda and fear-mongering we are constantly hearing from its supporters, the bailout is deficient in the three most important respects.  The first is pragmatic:  it will not help us structurally for the long term because it aims to ease the symptoms using the very same kind of thinking that got us into this mess to begin with.  The second has to do with justice:  the bailout plan mortgages our children’s future and forces them to pay for our economic sins.  The third reason is ideological:  fundamentally, the bailout plan is inconsistent with the basic ideals of economic liberty and limited government.

“When I am President of the United States, my administration will undertake a full-court press to liquidate Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and all of the so-called private/public partnerships that distort markets, obscure fiscal foolishness, and foist long-term liabilities on our children and on their children.  We will replace those socialistic millstones around our children’s necks with a lean, mean regulatory structure that ensures that our national debt is adequately secured by hard assets and that the compensation of corporate executives is tied to the long-term strength of their companies’ balance sheet rather than to the short-term stock price.  Furthermore, if Congress submits a bill for my signature that socializes risk while privatizing benefits for a select, privileged few, I will veto it immediately.

“It is time for perhaps the most significant change our country has seen in the toxic Washington culture, targeting those who feather their own nests with our descendants’ money, and liberating us from our enslavement to socialistic ideas, faceless bureaucracies, and mushrooming entitlements.  Senator Obama represents the very essence of that toxic culture, and if he is elected as President, the only change he will bring to that culture will be to expand it and extend it to underwrite his socialistic vision of our national identity, bankrupting us and our children in the process.  He must not be allowed to take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States because he has promised, effectively, to turn and shred it into confetti.  We can do better than that; we must do better than that.  Elect me and Governor Palin, and we will do better than that.

“Protecting our Constitution means protecting all of it, including the prerogatives of the states and the local governments as well as the voluntary associations of our citizens.  In a very real sense, the Constitution defines the United States.

“The world around us may be spiraling into chaos, but the United States must stand tall, strong, and steadfast in its conviction that liberty and democracy are the surest pathway to prosperity and peace.  I ask you to help us defeat this bailout bill; and I ask for your vote on Election Day.  Change for change’s sake is not enough; it must be the right kind of change.”


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