Support for Bailout Killed McCain’s Chances

Dick Morris, Bill Clinton’s shrewd former adviser, explains that support for the Wall Street bailout killed McCain’s chances of being elected president:

“Had McCain voted against the bailout of Wall Street firms and backed the Republican alternative, there is no question in my mind that he would have won. After calling attention to his “suspension” of his campaign, McCain compliantly and supinely embraced the Bush bailout backed by the Democrats. America was waiting for him to speak out against excessive government spending and against bailing out Wall Street firms for their greed.

Some will blame the war in Iraq for McCain’s defeat. Others will cite the economic crisis. But had McCain had the courage of his convictions, it would have sent a message to all voters that he was determined to change business-as-usual in Washington. By bowing to conventional wisdom, he undid the entire work of his convention and contradicted his message of independence from President Bush. His willingness to vote for the bailout package, earmarks and all, belied his pretensions of independence.”

Republican political analyst Frank Luntz agrees with Dick Morris, as does law professor and commentator Todd Zywicki, who specializes in financial, banking, and bankruptcy issues.

(We earlier explained how the bailout was dangerous and inflationary, could cause economic stagnation and future bubbles, and could result in a vast amount of veiled political extortion, favoritism, and influence-peddling that undermine democracy.)

The damage from supporting the bailout was further compounded by McCain’s foolish support for buying up all the bad mortgage loans in America at face value, a horrible idea that conflicted with his own past record of opposing corporate welfare, and cost him the support of fiscally and economically conservative (but socially liberal) newspapers like the Arlington Sun-Gazette.