If you have not seen the folly in electing economic conservatives to office, look no further than the administration of George W. Bush. Despite what Republicans told us, spending billions of dollars on neo-conservative foreign policy misadventures while handing out massive tax cuts to billionaires and cutting New Deal programs has not kept our country out of a recession. Regardless of whether we are talking about Republicans or just conservatives, people on the right generally have no idea how to handle the economy. Now the Republican Party has outdone itself. They did not just nominate another advocate of wasting money in Iraq and tax cuts for billionaires – this time, they nominated a guy who admits he does not think about the economy or consider it his strength, leading Americans who do think about it to believe that John McCain simply does not have the faintest idea about what he wants to do for the economy.
McCain’s bid for the presidency has been dominated by the traditional strategy of the GOP. Bush-McCain-style Republicans generally follow a few very simple rules when it comes to election strategy. They speak about the need to win a war that the country is involved in, even though their definition of victory changes every day to accommodate their own failures in handling that war.
This type of politician avoids his weakness on the economy by having military issues overshadow it. More importantly, when someone questions the necessity of that war or the Bush-McCain Republicans’ handling of it, that person is labeled “un-American” or an “enabler” of the enemy.
That strategy has worked surprisingly well in the past, most recently allowing the Republicans to strengthen their control of Congress in 2002 and 2004, and keep Bush in the White House for a second term. Despite every Republican’s inherent inferiority on economic issues, they have used the Bush-McCain strategy in order to take over all three branches of government in the past; it took Democrats until 2006 to get one of them back.
When contrasting the presumptive Republican nominee with the presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, we can tell that one man’s ignorance of how the economy works will help the campaign of the other. One candidate will allow the failed strategies of the Bush administration to continue and another will likely bring them to an end.
If elected, McCain, in his reckless ignorance of what is good for the economy, will undoubtedly continue to authorize billions of dollars to be spent in Iraq and will continue to allow the tax burden to fall on middle and working class Americans by approving more tax cuts for the rich. If elected, Obama will end the disastrous war in Iraq and stop other neo-conservative foreign policy misadventures before they start, while lifting the tax burden from the shoulders of working Americans.
Brian Murphy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org