How McCain could have trounced his way to victory.
As I watched the debate between McCain and Obama last night, I began to realize that if McCain had voted against the bailout he could completely slaughtered Obama. Had he kept his vote close to the vest and rebuked the bailout at the very end, it would have passed the Senate and likely the House, and Obama would be left holding the blame.
What we now know is that even with the bailout passing, the stock market has tanked anyway. It has fallen over 1200 points since the moment the bailout passed in the House (as of close 10/7/08) . The S&P has fallen almost 14%. McCain would have been called reckless, but with the stock market plunging even with it passing, it would be hard to defend the bailout with evidence. There would be some risks, but it would be a defensible position.
However, the rhetorical gain that McCain could have achieved would have been absolutely lethal. Obama would now be in a position of handing hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street to save the greedy and evil CEOs and “Fat Cats” he has been attacking for months. Any use of his class warfare rhetoric would blow up in his face. Tax hikes on the rich, but bailouts for the rich?
Adding to his maverick image, McCain could have stood out as a dogged defender of his principles. When the bailout failed the House, it was then sent to the Senate where it was loaded up with over $100 billion in “sweeteners”, i.e. Pork. Imagine the albatross hanging on Obama’s neck when trying to defend this monstrosity.
Imagine the comebacks…
“You believe that $700 billion is too much to help our troops win in Iraq, but it’s not too much for Wall Street fat cats?”
“Let me get this straight. He has $700 Billion for Wall Street, $800 Billion in new spending on top of a $500 Billion budget deficit, tax cuts for virtually everyone, and he’s going to balance the budget. Does someone have a calculator? I don’t see how this adds up. Because it doesn’t add up. You know it. I know it. He knows it.”
Grrrr…Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
Note – I do not propose that these rhetorical points are factually precise, but Presidential campaign strategy demands generalities or you will be crushed.