The Guy Who Will Say Anything to Get Elected

by Tom Bozzo

Brad DeLong blogs the train wreck at a clown show that is the McCain campaign so I don’t have to (big report due in a week, sorry ). He has a twofer.

First, there’s the the McCain health plan. Or, rather, the evolution from

We’re phoning it in, to

OMG, people are looking at it and figuring out ways it might suck, so

Sweeten it, but…

That’s too expensive for our small-government-conservative narrative, and voila,

Let’s commit political suicide!!

You know, we have llike seen this before. On health care:

  • McCain started with a tax credit that was equal in aggregate to the additional tax he levied on employer-sponsored health benefits in the first year–in later years the credit became much smaller than the tax.
  • Then it was like ooops, that’s not popular. We know–we never intended to subject employer-sponsored benefits to the FICA tax, only to the income tax.
  • Then it was like ooops, now we’re scared that the plan is fiscally irresponsible and will raise the deficit. We know–we will cut Medicare!
  • Then it was like ooops, we have to carry Floria. We know–have Sarah Palin say that McCain will not cut but will protect your entitlements.

Can’t anybody play this game? If we lose the election to these clowns, I am going to be really embarrassed. It seems as though nothing is competently staffed out–as if nobody in the McCain campaign cares about actually having policy proposals, but only about having something incoherent that an ignorant and lazy reporter can be deceived into thinking is a policy proposal.

Second, on the housing crisis, McCain pulls his new bailout plan out of his behind at the “debate.” However:

But it soon develops that much of Senator McCain’s proposal is not his but Barney Frank’s, and that the differences make it not a homeowner relief bill but an imprudent banker profit and rescue bill.

And so our so-called conservatives want to nationalize negative home equity (that’s some concern for the taxpayer, there):

[DeLong quoting the Politco] “Clearly we face the trade off that we would in fact be taking the negative equity position and putting it on the taxpayers books instead of putting it on the private lenders books or the homeowners books,” Holtz-Eakin told Politico. “We think the balance of risk has shifted to the point where this is the way to go.”

Does the McCain website say that? No.

But by the time I got to the website, it read differently: – McCain-Palin 2008: For those that cannot make payments, mortgages must be re-structured to put losses on the books and put homeowners in manageable mortgages. Lenders in these cases must recognize the loss that they’ve already suffered. [Apparently that last sentence was struck by a panicked editor — ATB.]

Apparently the schmuck who was assigned the job of writing up the web description did not believe the plan could possibly be what he was told it was.

Most deliciously, someone couldn’t stop from thinking out loud in naming the “program,” such as it is: it’s the “American Homeownership Resurgence Plan (McCain Resurgence Plan).” Apparently it’s change someone can believe in.

(Cross-posted at Marginal Utility.)