Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Re: Re: McCain’s Challenge

Jennifer, I concur with John; McCain has been flailing around during a moment when steadiness is called for. Last week McCain seemed like a political pinball, arguing one thing and then another in a matter of hours. He then went into, and remains in, his hyper-populist mode, attacking at every stop, and seemingly at every moment, the “greed” and “corruption” of Wall Street. The problem is that he rarely offered any real insight into the causes and solutions of the credit crisis we face.

McCain then carelessly attacked SEC chairman Christopher Cox, causing many conservatives to rally to Cox’s defense (see this Wall Street Journal editorial here, and George Will’s scorching column here). McCain went after Cox in typical fashion; rather than confining his disagreements to policy differences, he accused Cox of “betray[ing] the public trust,” which is one of the worst charges you can make against a public official.

One might think that McCain, having been on the receiving end of unfair attacks on his honor during the Keating Five scandal, would be more careful when impugning the character and honor of others. McCain then compounded his error by saying on “60 Minutes” that he would consider Andrew Cuomo as Cox’s replacement.

This whole week underscored the concerns many conservatives have had about McCain over the years, including the sense that he is philosophically unanchored, impulsive, and constantly tempted to put down the party he has now been chosen to lead.

It’s been argued by others that McCain sees politics not so much in terms of policy and philosophy, but through his own interpretation of honor. In small doses, and directed the right way, McCain’s quests can be admirable. But when it is used promiscuously and in an undisciplined fashion, it causes McCain trouble. There are enough real dragons to slay without having to manufacture imaginary ones.

McCain had done a great deal to help himself with conservatives with the pick of Sarah Palin. But his actions over the last week have had a deflating effect, which he can ill afford.

The damage that’s been done can be undone by a strong debate performance. But Senator McCain has now placed himself in a position in which he needs to do very well. Otherwise, this election–always an uphill struggle–may begin to slip away from him. John McCain is not in a position where he can sustain many more self-inflicted wounds.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.