McCain’s economic disinterest

As I've mentioned before, I think the fact that this is a really bad Republican year will defeat John McCain as much as anything.  The fact that he's utterly clueless on the economy and cares even less sure is not going to help him either.  Kevin Drum reports McCain's and Obama's comments from a recent Forbes interview:

What do you see as the gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy?

Obama: If we don't get a handle on our energy
policy, it is possible that the kinds of trends we've seen over the
last year will just continue. Demand is clearly outstripping supply.
It's not a problem we can drill our way out of. It can be a drag on our
economy for a very long time unless we take steps to innovate and
invest in the research and development that's required to find
alternative fuels. I think it's very important for the federal
government to have a role in that process.

McCain: Well, I would think that the absolute
gravest threat is the struggle that we're in against Islamic extremism,
which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another
successful attack on the United States of America could have
devastating consequences.

As Kevin puts it:

Two things are remarkable here. First, that McCain genuinely seems to
believe that Islamic extremism poses not just a threat, but a threat to
the very existence of the West. This is science fiction territory. Second, that he apparently can't come up with any better answer to Fortune's
question about economic threats. Not energy, not high taxes, not
runaway entitlement growth, not healthcare, not globalization, not any
of a dozen plausible answers that would have gone down fine with his
base. Instead, “His eyes are narrowed. Nine seconds of silence, ten
seconds, 11.” And then he came up with Islamic extremism.

I think this clearly shows McCain's general disinterest in the economy– far and away the number one issue for voters right now.  The press is giving him a complete free ride on this stuff right now, but at some point he's going to say something this useless when it matters. 


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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