Sunday, October 10, 2010

President McCain

From The Man Who Never Was by Todd Purdum for Vanity Fair:
It’s an interesting thought experiment to imagine what the first two years of a McCain-Palin partnership in the White House might have produced. There would probably have been no stimulus bill, and the country’s economic condition would be no better (and probably worse). General Motors and Chrysler would have been allowed to go bankrupt rather than helped to emerge into a state of healthiness, as they may well be doing. There would have been no significant new regulation of the financial industry. The Bush tax cuts for those Americans with the highest incomes—something McCain had opposed before reversing himself—would have been extended. There would have been only modest health-insurance reform, at best—McCain’s proposals were Republican boilerplate and meant for use in the campaign, never a serious program. Perhaps there would have been greater progress on immigration, though McCain had already abandoned that issue, and it’s easier to imagine his taking the more nativist stance he has since adopted. There would be no Supreme Court justices Kagan and Sotomayor, but there would likely be two more conservative justices, and the days of Roe v. Wade would be numbered. There would be no troop drawdown in Iraq. The United States might well have bombed or blockaded Iran in response to that country’s flawed election last year, or in response to its nuclear program. There would have been serial feuds between aides to the president and vice president, but the fact that Vice President Palin had an independent power base, far larger and more enthusiastic than McCain’s own, would have limited what President McCain could do about it. The “Ground Zero mosque” dispute would probably have arisen anyway, and McCain might have been hard put to do anything but side with the opponents. The Palin-family soap opera would now be daily fodder for the national press rather than mainly the tabloids.

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27 comments:

Tony Rugare said...

Judging from the current rhetoric, polls would have McCain's popularity at about 80%.

Bill said...

Todd Purdum writes a mean fairy tale! Each "might have" or "would have" in his tale, points to actual failures of the current administration. Erin: You could have written a much more original "President McCain: what could have been" article.

wv= lapphy. Need I say more?

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill, stop being a candy ass and get specific if you're going to clock in.

As I look at Purdum's list, I do have my disagreements. McCain would have supported some sort of stimulus because looking down the barrel of economic meltdown and doing nothing may be worse political suicide than the stimulus turned out to be.

The items regarding Palin are probably spot on. GM and Chrysler, yeah, they'd probably be bankrupt.

I wouldn't venture a guess about the Iraq drawdown or the "Ground Zero Mosque."

In the end, we're all looking at the same reality: the United States is in decline and it's going to hurt no matter what. When the elephants are in the lead, it will probably just happen a little faster and a little more painfully for the middle class.

Anonymous said...

The Romans lasted a few more centuries, at least

Erin O'Brien said...

True that, anon, but they didn't have the internet.

Vince said...

It might have been more in his line to posit the Presidency of the USA without other Obama or Madam Clinton.
For there was no way in hell that any Republican could have been elected even if they were handing out sweets.
That the Democrats fielded those two points to a disregard to the realities of politics that border on the criminal. So criminal that rather than hold all three Houses for a generation the fools have handed two over after LESS that two years.

Two sections of the Democrat Grandees decided come hell or high water that one of their cohort was going to be elected. So internal sectional politics effectively lost a Senate seat held in Massachusetts by the Kennedy family that in any circumstances except these would have elected a Democrat 'til doomsday. Idiots.

Erin O'Brien said...

It is stunning, Vince.

Here is one from left field, but I believe it in me bones: the only way for the left to regain significant power would be to reinstate the draft. You'd see just how "center-right" this country is then.

I could go on and on and on about this, but in a nutshell the demise of the United States started with the demise of the draft.

Kirk Jusko said...

Of course, the Center-Right would then have to be the ones to bring the draft back. If the Left brought it back, wouldn't people just hold it against them?

Dudesworthy said...

It is an interesting thought experiment.

I seem to recall that McCain said he would serve one term, bow, and leave the stage. So I'm guessing that about now he would be the lamest of lame duck Presidents and Palin would be starting her run for 2012.

I'm also guessing that the tea party movement would be the 'Hope and Change' movement or some such thing and would have Hilary at its head with Obama in tow.

Here's what I think: Government is a big ugly beast with a hammer, and its running around trying to knock society into some sorta idealised shape. I don't think it matters so much who's riding in the saddle; the hammer's gonna fall people are gonna get smushed, and every 4 years we all get excited and shout about it.

Once Known as The Badger said...

Erin, it's funny you should mention reinstating the draft. I was just thinking that the other day. In the 60s and early 70s I was an antiwar activist, member of SDS, etc., and after the draft was abolished, all the steam went out of the anti-war movement. Although I don't like the idea of the draft, having what is basically a mercenary military who contracts much of its operations out to private companies has gotten us into a much bigger mess (Blackwater, for example) and there's no longer any citizen oversight.

Anonymous said...

Too bad stupidity is not illegal right Vince?

If the midterm predictions come true think Clinton, only worse. Right after election day Vince Foster's corpse will reappear in Fort Marcy Park. Obama did it.

Badger I been thinking about the decline of the late 60's counter culture alot lately too and I think you make a good point about the end of the draft. Unfortunately alot of the participants were posers who vanished when their parents college money ran out. Drugs. Disco my other culprits. Analysis ongoing.

"The current dilemma in Vietnam is a clear demonstration of the limitations of military power. ... [Current U.S. involvement] is a policy of moral debacle and political defeat. ... The trap we have fallen into there will haunt us in every corner of this revolutionary world if we do not properly appraise its lessons."

George McGovern. US Senate. 1963.

RJ

Once Known as The Badger said...

Anonymous - just for the record, I never got a nickel from my parents. I put myself through school, and then grad school, and then post grad school. As for disco, well as they say, "disco sucks"!

Once Known as The Badger said...

Anonymous - in addition, a good quote from McGovern. There is an excellent political analysis of the Vietnam War out called A Grand Delusion: America's Descent Into the Vietnam War. Fascinating reading, especially in light of the political landscape since then. Some things just don't change much.

Anonymous said...

Badger,

Hope my comment didn't read like I was referring to you re: parents money.

Thanks for the reference.

Saw a great documentary on The Pentagon Papers the other night called "The Most Dangerous Man in America" about the whole Ellsberg saga. It's probably available on DVD. The question I keep asking myself is, "With SO MUCH information in the public domain detailing misadventures like Viet Nam how does the American public keep buying the false narratives of the imperialists?"

(Sory Hostess for hijacking your blog.)

RJ

Erin O'Brien said...

Your humble hostess encourages hijacking of the RJ/Badger/Dudesworthy/Jusko nature at all times.

standing on my head said...

anon et al-because the american public doesn't read, either at all, or analytically. we've gotten intellectually lazy. seen any tv lately?

Vince said...

@ RJ Anonymous; I'm uncertain what exactly the unfortunate death of Foster has to do with the current situation.

Nor do I think that the Clinton's are now or ever were considered Grandees of the Democratic party, leastwise in the way I'm thinking about the term anyway.
In politics, rather with politicians, it is better to follow a variant of Occam's razor. When you hear hooves don't think Zebras or even Horses, think Asses.

Erin O'Brien said...

Totally had to look up that Occam dude.

Bill said...

What if there was a President McCain was interesting. I'd now like to see Todd Purdum write "What if President Obama was competent".

Erin O'Brien said...

Bill, you are not doing your collective ideological contingent any favors.

Bill said...

I'm not on a team Erin. This is entertainment. Candy ass, original, thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Vince,

Perhaps I chose a poor example. I was thinking in terms of the endless congressional investigations (see: Ken Starr) that were characteristic of the Cllinton years following the 94 midterms.

And you're right. We would all do well to honor William of Ocam more regularly lest we debate the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.

RJ

Dudesworthy said...

Urgh... Bill... Obama... c0mment... r1diculous... urk... ab$urD... gark... n0ns3nSe...

Mu$t N()T feed tro11s... mu5t n0T f33d...

//Error 401 : Self-censorship Servos unable to adequately express opinion in manner that is neither derogatory nor insulting. Apologies will be forthcoming after clicking above URL.

Kirk Jusko said...

I was born at the tail end of 1961, so the whole hippie thing was basically over by the time I entered sixth grade. Nevertheless, I'm going to offer my opinion on it.

It seems to me that the counterculture was a reaction to the social conservatism of the 1950s. The draft may have exacerbated the youth rebellion, but I suspect it would have happened even without it.

The end of the draft may have indeed taken the wind out of the counterculture, but how much longer could it have lasted anyway? People my age grew up with tie-dye shirts, psychedelicly-colored banana seat bikes, and rock music on saturday morning cartoons. By the time we were in our late teens or early 20s, we just didn't have the same urgent need to rebel against the the establishment.

Of course, maybe things would be better now if we had.

Bill said...

dudesworth:

a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community. Check my comments. Check your comments. Thanks.

Erin O'Brien said...

All are welcome here.

I have deleted comments on rare occasions and, sure, things get heated and grouchy, but I think this here comment section at the ol' Owner's Manual is a pretty interested and diverse.

I appreciate all of it, truly.

Bill said...

Erin: Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for most of my adult life and being a conservative on most matters political, almost every political conversation in which I'm envolved, is heated and grouchy. I ejoy that and I enjoy this blog a lot!