From Daniel Kurtzman, About.com
Frank Rich of the NYTimes eviscerated John McCain over both his supposed area of expertise, military affairs, as well as Sen. McCain’s admitted area of weakness, matters economic. It wasn’t pretty.
It’s the Economic Stupidity, Stupid
Op-Ed Columnist | By FRANK RICH | Published: July 20, 2008
THE best thing to happen to John McCain was for the three network anchors to leave him in the dust this week while they chase Barack Obama on his global Lollapalooza tour. Were voters forced to actually focus on Mr. McCain’s response to our spiraling economic crisis at home, the prospect of his ascension to the Oval Office could set off a panic that would make the IndyMac Bank bust in Pasadena look as merry as the Rose Bowl.
“In a time of war,” Mr. McCain said last week, “the commander in chief doesn’t get a learning curve.” Fair enough, but he imparted this wisdom in a speech that was almost a year behind Mr. Obama in recognizing Afghanistan as the central front in the war against Al Qaeda. Given that it took the deadliest Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul since 9/11 to get Mr. McCain’s attention, you have to wonder if even General Custer’s learning curve was faster than his.
Mr. McCain still doesn’t understand that we can’t send troops to Afghanistan unless they’re shifted from Iraq. But simple math, to put it charitably, has never been his forte. When it comes to the central front of American anxiety — the economy — his learning curve has flat-lined.
Rich follows similar economic criticism of McCain from Paul Krugman 12 days previously, before Phil Gramm elevated himself from has-been to economic advisor to get thee gone in just a few hours time.
Mr. McCain’s fiscal ineptitude has received so little scrutiny in some press quarters that his chief economic adviser, the former Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, got a free pass until the moment he self-immolated on video by whining about “a nation of whiners.” The McCain-Gramm bond, dating back 15 years, is more scandalous than Mr. Obama’s connection with his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Mr. McCain has been so dependent on Mr. Gramm for economic policy that he sent him to newspaper editorial board meetings, no doubt to correct the candidate’s numbers much as Joe Lieberman cleans up after his confusions of Sunni and Shia.
[By the way, the photo at the top of the column will hereby become Left-Handed Complement‘s official John McCain portrait.]
Carly Fiorina has picked up the economic cudgel from temporarily banished ex-Sen. Gramm. She comes with a wonderful track record: booted out of Hewlett-Packard after five years of big talk and miserable results.
Then Rich wanders into a long-time hobby-horse of this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©, Michael Bloomberg, positing him a potential vice president on the McCain ticket.
Mr. McCain reminds us every day how principled he is. That presumably means he’d risk a revolt by his party’s dwindling agents of intolerance and do everything in his power to persuade Mr. Bloomberg to join his ticket in the spirit of patriotic sacrifice. The politics could be advantageous too. A Bloomberg surprise could impress independents and keep the television audience tuned in to a G.O.P. convention that will unfold in the shadow of Mr. Obama’s address to 75,000 screaming fans in Denver.
All this vice presidential speculation this year provides the usual column-inch filler during the summertime doldrums for the political junkies out here, but it’s also particularly of interest, in a year of unusually vulnerable presidential candidates. (Hey, if Hillary can point it out, so can I. I’m going to hate myself in the morning, though.)
But, hey, Frank Rich! I want Michael Bloomberg for the good guys.
It’s it for now. Thanks,