By John Aulon
Author of “Independent Nation”
John McCain had his best debate of the election last night in Long Island. The Mac went on attack — but he did it in a way that can resonate with independents — not making personal attacks, but strong policy contrasts.
The economy is the number one issue in this election, and its not getting any better any time soon. Here’s the good news for John McCain: Independents are fiscal conservatives (but social progressives) — they favor a low tax, pro-growth, deficit reducing approach that appeals to American’s entrepreneurial instinct, now conveniently symbolized by Joe the Plumber. Bush’s record of running up the record deficit and exploding pork barrel spending while the middle class got squeezed, squandered the economic edge that belongs to the Republican brand. But that doesn’t mean that independents want to turn the economic future of the country over to a unified, and Democratically controlled Congress and White House.
Independents want to see a return to fiscal responsibility, and there is little evidence that given unified control, Democrats will have any passion for that.
Republicans needs to rebuild their credibility (something that must be especially frustrating to McCain, because he has been fighting against federal overspending from Day 1). Obama says he supports Pay-Go, but Keynes seems to be making a comeback on both sides of the aisle, so get ready for more deficit spending and an even angrier electorate in the future.