How John McCain Will End The War

We know the political press is willing to carry water for McCain.

When Democrats brought attention to McCain's willingness to stay in Iraq indefinitely, the traditional political press quickly came to his rescue.

Remember Ambinder back a month ago?

Democrats and allies are jumping on John McCain for telling NBC's Matt Lauer that "it's not important" when troops return from Iraq. Period. There's no because. There's almost never a because when one side seizes on the comments of another. The context makes it clear that McCain is reiterating his position that the presence of troops isn't the issue; instead, it's the casualties they receive.

McCain says a peaceful, Korea-like presence is possible in Iraq. But there's no explanation of how, and no one seems concerned with asking.

And this week, the press seems to again buy McCain's "magic wand" approach.

Says Josh Marshall:

Today John McCain is getting lots of press for his new plan to balance the budget during his first term -- what can only be called an extraordinarily ambitious promise. The first pick was from Mike Allen's piece late last night in The Politico.

Now, the general routine is the face of this kind of candidate announcement is that journalists and economists look at the numbers to see if they add up. In most cases, the exercises generates fairly unsatisfying contradictory opinions, with some experts saying one thing and other experts another.

But here's the thing. McCain doesn't have any numbers. None. Not vague numbers of fuzzy math. He just says he's going to do it. Any other candidate would get laughed off the stage with that kind of nonsense or more likely reporters just wouldn't agree to give them a write up.

How does McCain plan to balance the budget? Why, by winning the Fight Against Terror, of course! From today's Politico:

The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.

TPM went to the McCain for a response to this..."plan," and got this back:

It's pretty straightforward, as we win, costs will go down with a smaller footprint over time, and those savings will go to deficit reduction. It's really the logical extension of Senator McCain's position as articulated in the 2013 speech. Achieving success in Iraq would obviously lead to reduced expenditures on the effort.

McCain will waive his magic wand, you see, and win the war against "Islamic extremists" peacefully. Then he'll use that leftover money to balance the budget. McCain might even end with a surplus! And then he'll take the money from that surplus, and he'll spend it to cure cancer. And then with all the additional survivors of cancer, we can harness the brainpower to invent a time machine! And then we'll go back to 2002, and decide that going to war in Iraq was a stupid idea in the first place.

And then the war in Iraq will be over.

Tags: Election 08, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

19 Comments

Re: How John McCain Will End The War

that last paragraph is too funny.  Seriously, though, how can he suggest he's going to balance the budget by winning a war that is putting us billions per month in the hole?  

Wait, I get it.  I'll write a check off my credit card and pay off all my debts.  Poof, debt free!

by slynch 2008-07-07 07:49PM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

I hope the Dems are smart enough to use such "kitchen table" examples to show how McCain's plan is screwed up.

by Bush Bites 2008-07-08 04:09AM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

it would be nice if they would do that for once!  Most Republican ideas sound good only until you spend more than one second thinking about them.

by slynch 2008-07-08 09:31AM | 0 recs
Great read Josh.

We know the political press is willing to carry water for McCain.

Pretty soon they'll be carrying his prune juice.

by spacemanspiff 2008-07-07 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Great read Josh.

Okay.  That was funny.  

by InigoMontoya 2008-07-07 10:16PM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

I gotta say, even I was surprised at how poor McCain's economic policy was. He has some big name advisers who I assumed would publish something far more substantive than "Win war save monies!"  When word got out that McCain was relaunching his campaign with a new crack team of advisers and strategist I was anticipating a solid shot across the bow against Obama but instead we got Harry Potter-nomics.

by Homebrewer 2008-07-07 09:07PM | 0 recs
Also...

While the press won't pounce on McCain over his crappy policy, (which may be a good thing since I don't think it's going to win him any votes) they're not exactly endorsing it and attempting to prop it up.  Its press launch has been fairly critical by John McCain standards.

by Homebrewer 2008-07-07 09:09PM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

Phase one, Win... Phase two... Phase three, profit.

There are so very many problems with this that it gets me flustered to think about it. Where to start? First, McCain's plan for the war is to just keep doing what we're doing. And granted, while that strategy is doing reasonably well in Iraq, it is leaving the rest of the region in ever increasing instability. But moreover, there's no indication that this will lessen costs. It certainly hasn't so far.

Second, if ANYONE gets into a war with Iran, it will send gas prices through the roof. Like beyond anything we could even fathom. Some of that is priced in already, but there's still disbelief that that will actually happen. And even if it IS priced in, that means that if we can find ANY diplomatic solutions with Iran, the price of oil will drop.

Third, we will make NO money from this, we will only be spending money. We are planning for spending increases, we are not planning for price increases. I don't see McCain cutting any funding for the war, and he doesn't have the power to control that funding any more than he has the power to get a line item veto from a Democratic congress.

Finally, it just isn't enough. The war is very costly, but it still isn't costly enough that (very generous estimate) two years worth of Iraq funding would cover it with the prices of EVERYTHING increasingly out of control.

Promising to balance the budget right now is nothing but a lie. And everyone knows it.

by vcalzone 2008-07-07 09:18PM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

But it won't matter, because the promise will be dropped in a week or two, anyway. This is McCain we're talking about. He hasn't had a truly consistent policy platform since he started campaigning.

by vcalzone 2008-07-07 09:19PM | 0 recs
This is too funny

   I love it. Every time Gramps opens his mouth, the Dems pick up more votes. Homebrewer has a good point about some of his economic advisers; They seemed fairly smart until this joke. Interesting side-note: McSame looks ghoulish even when he's not in front of a green-screen...

by Kordo 2008-07-07 10:44PM | 0 recs
Question

Aren't the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq conducted completely off the books? How does NOT spending money you DIDN'T ALREADY HAVE count as "savings"?

I think Markos used a credit card comparison.

I read McCain's economic plan and all I got was this stupid headache.

by Matt Ortega 2008-07-07 10:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Question

Yeah.

It's like two credit cards you can't pay off, moving the balance to one and saying "I'm out of debt."

Obama needs to use those kinds of descriptions too. Americans are dumb. They won't understand it any other way.

by Bush Bites 2008-07-08 04:07AM | 0 recs
My bigger issue

with McCain's economic plan is that he was too chickenshit to say what he meant by "overhauling" and "reforming" the three sacred cows, Medicare, Medicaid, and social security.  I'm happy that Obama is at least showing some fortitude on ensuring that SS is funded by raising the cap on the payroll tax up to $250,000, while exempting those making between 97,500 and 250,000.

by Blazers Edge 2008-07-07 11:00PM | 0 recs
Re: My bigger issue

He's going to balance the budget by cutting Grandma's Social Security check.

by Bush Bites 2008-07-08 04:05AM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

Man, this is crazy.

You're going to use money you don't have to pay down the debt?

Ending the war just means you're borrowing less.

The General Fund is still running at a deficit even if you totally stopped war spending.

by Bush Bites 2008-07-08 04:04AM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

Give some props to the New York Times which eviscerated McCain in both a news article and an analysis pice this morning:

>> Skepticism on McCain Plan to Balance Budget by 2013

By ROBERT PEAR
Published: July 8, 2008

WASHINGTON — The package of spending and tax cuts proposed by Senator John McCain is unlikely to achieve his goal of balancing the federal budget by 2013, economists and fiscal experts said Monday.

And this is the second graph of the analysis:

>> Mr. McCain has promised once again to balance the budget by the end of his first term in 2013, his advisers said Monday. They were reverting to an earlier pledge that Mr. McCain abandoned in April, when he proposed a series of costly tax cuts and, citing the ailing economy, said that it might take two terms to balance the budget.

by BRoss 2008-07-08 04:28AM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

So today we find out that there was no mistake, Iraq wants a timetable for us to leave. Here's my question, how does THIS affect McCain's strategy? He said he had no intention of setting a timetable, how about now? Meanwhile, how spectacular is this for Obama, considering that he will be visiting Iraq soon? Obama is all for a timeline, something McCain thinks is counter-productive. Which one you think Maliki is ready to support right now? This would completely obliterate McCain's SOLE perceived policy advantage, that he has better judgment about the war.

by vcalzone 2008-07-08 08:20AM | 0 recs
Don't worry

Like Nixon in 1968, McCain has a "secret peace plan" to end the war.

by Thaddeus 2008-07-08 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: How John McCain Will End The War

What a joke: McCain predicating his budget on "ending" the war.  He doesn't want to end the war.  Magical savings, I guess.

Ambinder's analysis of his Iraq comment was pretty spot on though.

by Koan 2008-07-08 01:25PM | 0 recs

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