John McCain today provided the outlines of his proposed short-term fix for the housing crisis, along with hints about his plans for long-term economic growth.
The tightrope he must walk is this: provide concrete solutions without joining the stampede toward government intervention. And his proposals to reform unemployment insurance and job retraining must aim to calm fears without adopting traditional Democratic nostrums (e.g. extending the period of eligibility to collect unemployment benefits).
McCain, in essence, has put his toe in the pool of domestic policy salesmanship. A single speech, of course, will not be sufficient. He and his campaign must now embark on a full-scale effort to explain his views on domestic policy, differentiate himself from the Democrats, educate voters about his policy vision, and much more. That is the battlefield where he and his Democratic opponent will fight for the much-coveted independents.
It is a key step in moving from McCain’s comfort zone (foreign policy) to those issues which resonate most with voters. And next time, he would do better to have his policies fleshed out from the start.