The McCain Is Not Bush Project - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The McCain Is Not Bush Project
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Jennifer Rubin notes that John McCain’s attempt to distance himself from the Bush presidency is already underway. Speaking of Katrina from the lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans yesterday, McCain complained about a lack of leadership at the top. “There was unqualified people in charge, there was a total misreading of the dimensions of the disaster, there was a failure of communications.” McCain definitely needs to distance himself from President Bush, but one of the risks he runs is to start echoing liberal talking points on disputes that have gone on over the course of the last seven years, and in the process alienate conservatives who are already squeamish about McCain. On Katrina, for instance, while many conservatives agree that it was mishandled by Bush (me included), a lot of others feel that Bush was unfairly blamed for the incompetence of local leadership.

McCain is not going to win the election by just picking issue after issue on which he can flog President Bush. What McCain needs to do, Sarkozy style, is offer a broad reform agenda, that is both conservative but also representative of change and different from Bush. One of the things McCain has done right on this front is criticize runaway spending — an issue that he has credibility on, that can allow him to win over independents while making conservatives happy. A good line of argument, essentially, is that –yeah, Democrats are right that we have been fiscally irresponsible over the past seven years, but the solution is not hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending, as the Democrats are proposing, but to actually cut wasteful spending while allowing Americans to keep more of what they earn. That is, however, just a start.

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