Sunday, October 19, 2008

Economist gives McCain one last chance

The Lexington column in this week's Economist gives John McCain some advice. I can only hope he takes it.

Basically it reminds us that Reagan was 8 points behind Carter 10 days before the 1980 election. Tells him what not to do (forget dumb populism, forget attacking Obama's links to dodgy people) and to look forward in three ways:

1) Obama is one of the least business-friendly Democrats in a generation. Obama has been close to the union movement, which has strongly supported his campaign. It is calling for the end to secret ballots and the removal of laws prohibiting closed shops. During these times of low business confidence this is the last the USA needs, and Obama's credentials for letting business be free are low.

2) Having one party control the Presidency and both houses of Congress is not preferable if you want to ensure accountable government. McCain could usefully veto pork barrel budgetary matters, but most importantly Americans have rarely allowed one party to control both legislatures and the White House.

3) Obama has never taken on his own party, or even seriously tried. As a Senator he has voted Democrat 97% of the time, an astonishing result. McCain is known to be a maverick in his own party. The odds are Obama could be the vehicle for the most leftwing administration since the 1960s. Obama has not at all demonstrated that he can be a maverick and confront the mainstream of his party - defeating Hilary Clinton was a personal not a philosophical mission.

McCain can fight a respectable campaign and could, on balance, win, just. However he is running out of time, and chances.

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