Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Candidate We Have
If you were to ask 10 well-informed conservatives who they would rather have as President if they had to choose between John McCain and Chris Cox, I think Mr. Cox would get at least nine votes. Of course, John McCain does not strike anyone as being particularly adept economic policy expert, so it was doubly unfortunate that Mr. McCain chose to take out his frustrations on Mr. Cox last Thursday. This is just one symptom of the larger condition of this campaign diagnonsed by Peggy Noonan, where for many of us, we support Mr. McCain but don't necessarily believe in him.
Donald Rumsfeld famously told a soldier that we go to war "with the Army we have, not the one we want." There's a tendency to apply the same train of thought toward elections, and in this case it would be a substantial mistake. Among other things, the "chain of command" in this case runs in the opposite direction, where the voters are sovereign. But even beyond that, for the credibility of the GOP base and the health of the economy as a whole, we can't afford to pretend this particular emperor is well-dressed when he's really naked.