Thursday, September 04, 2008


Does anyone really believe that McCain is another Bush and/or that his presidency would just be another Bush presidency? Are the Democrats really serious about this strategy? Should they be?

People always told me that bars are dark and lonely,
And talk is often cheap & filled with air.


Mike said...

No, yes, and probably not.

patric Lewandowski said...

look, no one could be as bad as bush ever was. but, mccain will keep a lot of the same policies going. Drill, baby, drill, i believe is the sentiment. and, of course, the economy. the economy blows and mccain not really to much interested.

so, that's probably what would happen. which, is similar to what we have. or shorthand it... 3rd bush term. ds

Matthew B. Novak said...

Ok, does anyone who isn't an unabashed partisan Democrat think McCain = 3rd Bush term?

Kendrick Novak said...

I don't. He (along with his running mate) would be just as big as change as Mr. Obama. Just a different change and not like Mr. Bush is.

Ben said...

Well that entirely depends on the issue.

On Iraq, yes McCain is basically touting the same policy as Bush. Indeed, he is similarly bellicose and strident and similarly trigger happy in all he says about foreign policy.

On the economy, his centerpiece is keeping the Bush tax cuts and cutting more taxes, especially for businesses and the wealthy. That also sounds a lot like Bush.

Surprisingly, Bush and McCain are similar on immigration, although McCain has engaged in a little more hard-line rhetoric in the Republican primaries.

On the other hand, there are many issues on which they differ. Certainly climate change comes to mind. And McCain, even if he generally subscribes to Republican orthodoxy, is occasionally willing to reach across the aisle and work with the opposing party.

So it depends on which issues you care about. No two presidents are ever alike, but if your primary focus is, say, immigration...then yes McCain will pursue the same policies as Bush. Democrats probably have in mind Iraq and the economy.

SHOULD Democrats be serious about this strategy? Well, it's the oldest trick in the book to try and tie a politician running for office with an unpopular incumbant of his own party. I don't see anything particularly shocking about it. And, while it's only partially true, as far as political whoppers go I've seen far worse.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Yeah, but the biggest knock on Bush isn't his policies; it's his ineptitude and cronyism. Those are the reasons people hate Bush. And no one in the right mind could think McCain would be similiarly inept.

Ben said...

There are a large number of reasons why people hate Bush. One reason why a lot of people hate him is the Iraq war - the fact that it happened AND how it was conducted. Just because your reasons may be different than others doesn't mean you can ascribe them to the entire American populace.

Just because McCain 1 does not equal Bush 3 in terms of the issues that matter most to you doesn't mean such equivalence doesn't exist in terms of the top issues of other voters.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Ben -

There are a large number of reasons why people disagree with Bush, but there are very few reasons why people hate Bush. The reason Bush is the least popular president ever is something that can be only partially attributed to his policies, if at all. In fact, if Bush's policies were that unpopular, then Republicans in general should be equally unpopular. But they're not.

I think that people who pay attention to politics, who vote on the issues and positions of a candidate, understand that there are similarities between Bush and McCain. But when it comes to ability, when it comes to execution of policy, McCain will have a tremendous edge. Regardless of whether you agree with Bush's policies, it's almost unquestionable that he hasn't been able to effectively carry them out (whether it's the war or education or anything else). To say "McCain's policies are the same as Bush's" is not the same as saying "McCain will be a failure just like Bush". The first one might be true, but the second one doesn't follow.

Yet, the later is still the message the Democrats are trying to send. They're trying hard to conflate Bush's failures with McCain's policies. Given how obviously awful Bush was, that doesn't really make sense.

You wouldn't blame an accident on the car if the driver was blind. But that's pretty much what the Dems are trying to do.

Matthew B. Novak said...

And besides, the Democrats lost on this exact same strategy four years ago when they actually tried it against Bush. They couldn't beat Bush on a platform of "beat Bush", so how the heck are they going to beat not-Bush on that platform?

R.W.McGee said...

"if Bush's policies were that unpopular, then Republicans in general should be equally unpopular. But they're not."

Actually, according to most generic polls, they are. You will notice that Republicans have been losing seats in the senate and congress since '06.

I think it's a mixture of policies and personality that make Bush so unpopular.

If his policies were brilliant, then his diplomatic and verbal faux pas would be overlooked as a quirk...or, if he was a gifted speaker and diplomat, then maybe that would help to moderate his many policy errors.

Sadly he is neither.

As to McCain, I believe he has more personal integrity than Bush, but I also believe he would have a similar surrounding cast, and yes, that his administration would be a bit too similar.

Matthew B. Novak said...

R.W. -

You think McCain would have a similiar surrounding cast? I actually think there's a chance Leiberman and other independent thinkers could make it into his cabinet, and that it wouldn't be nearly as partisan as the current administration.

patric said...

look, we know you love mccain because you can't accept hilary isn't the candidate. and we know you love to say that you'd vote democrat except...

but, you're not going to vote for obama. we know this. you know this. stop pretending you're a moderate. you're not. you're borderline conservative. and you're a republican.

Matthew B. Novak said...

Just because I'm able to raise criticism of the Democrats doesn't mean I'm not a Democrat. Heck, I'd say my ability to criticize them (instead of blindly embracing) and desire that they correct their problems makes me more of a Democrat.

And I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet, though I'm leaning towards Obama. I don't like the man, but I'm still thinking I'll vote for him.

Eric Michael Peterson said...

I think there is a problem if you vote for a candidate you do not like. But that just might be me.

R.W.McGee said...

"R.W. -

You think McCain would have a similiar surrounding cast? I actually think there's a chance Leiberman and other independent thinkers could make it into his cabinet, and that it wouldn't be nearly as partisan as the current administration."

That is certainly what McCain would argue, and he has shown the ability to cross party lines at times. However, in his campaign he had often pandered to the Republican base, employed 'Rovian' tactics...and even his selection of Sarah Palin 'maverick' though it may be, ties him more closely to his party.

Obviously nobody can divine what he would do as president, but I have seen an unsettling trend in McCain towards political expediency that belies his independent rhetoric.

(I would argue, perhaps, that the true maverick is Lieberman.)

Also, I agree with you Eric, but I had to hold my nose voting for Kerry last time, sometimes there is just no great choice. This year I actually like both candidates though...I just truly dislike Palin.

Matthew B. Novak said...

R.W. - Given McCain's history, what makes you think the independent side is the false front, and not the partisan panderer?

You're right that he's certainly played to a base in the recent past, but we've no reason to suspect all of the sudden McCain really changed to be a strict partisan.

Thinking Fool said...

He is not another Bush. Not even close. Thank God.