The Tax Cut Flop

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Jonathan Weisman profiles John McCain’s tax cut flip-floppery. It seems worth adding a few points here for context. One is that the sum of money involved is enormous — this isn’t some small point of detail, but a fundamental, really large public policy issue. The other is that McCain hasn’t made any real effort to explain himself, he’s just misportrayed his past position and sent Doug Holt-Eakin out to say things like “He’s looking forward, not back.”

And that’s great — a campaign should focus on the future. But still, we’re normally interested in understanding the thinking of our candidates for public office. When a candidate can’t explain a change of position, it’s usually just that he doesn’t really give a damn about the underlying question so figured he should blow with the wind. And so far as that goes, fine — I don’t really care if McCain has flip-flopped on tobacco regulations or not. But what we’re seeing here is that McCain takes a devil may care attitude to the largest macroeconomic policy decisions the president faces.