Whatever benefit Senator John McCain garnered from Senator Barack Obama's recent missteps, he almost certainly has lost in recent days--and then some. Despite an opening to show the U.S. electorate that his experience on a wide range of issues is what better qualifies him rather than Mr. Obama to serve as President, Mr. McCain continues to beat the tired drum of war while ignoring mounting domestic issues.
On Tuesday, Mr. McCain once again sounded the war cry, declaring "I know how to win wars. And if I'm elected president, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory."
Mr. McCain's statements came in the wake of the FDIC's takeover of Indymac, revelations that the federal government is offering a bail-out of mortgage lenders Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which, combined, hold nearly three trillion dollars worth of U.S. mortgages, continuing erosion of consumer confidence, and testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, that the U.S. economy faces more trying times over the next year, with inflationary pressures and negligible growth portending ominously for consumers and investors, alike.
While Mr. McCain forges ahead with his campaing philosophy of painting all issues in the cloak of national security and foreign policy, there seems to be no remedy in the McCain platform for dealing with domestic issues. From inflated commodities prices to high energy prices that will not even meet out their greatest burden until the chilling days of winter, Mr. McCain's singular response is that he is most equipped to win wars.
The difficulty for Mr. McCain, of course, is that, while he once stood as a dependable moderate in the Senate, often defying instructions from a belligerent Bush Administration, he now has asserted himself squarely into the Bush camp on both foreign and domestic policy. Like George W. Bush, Mr. McCain has championed the extension of Mr. Bush's tax cuts and off-shore drilling while crusading not only for the current policy in Iraq but for an even greater influx of U.S. troops into the region. None of these measures, however, stand as paramount to most Americans as they might have just six months ago when gas prices were raging wildly upward, government revenues were not in rapid decline, and more thoughtful voices had yet to suggest that the time was nigh for a more international solution to the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the 2008 election draws ever near, with four of the United States' top mortgage lenders teetering on the brink of collapse, the stock market in a nine-month tailspin, an ethanol policy that is choking consumers, and Iraq not even making front-page news, Mr. McCain is not only in peril of losing whatever claim to being the more prepared President he might once have held, he is fully in danger of becoming the most irrelevant candidate for presidential office since Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980.
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