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Running Against Congress

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"Running Against Congress"

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National Review editorial offers what I think is some strange advice to the McCain campaign:

Fourth, McCain must tie Obama to the liberals in Congress. Congress is as unpopular, if not more so, than President Bush. It had a huge hand in stoking the mortgage mess (see again: Fannie and Freddie). With Democrats sure to get larger majorities in the House and the Senate, they will be emboldened to push Obama’s already liberal agenda leftward off a cliff. And Obama has shown no willingness over the years to stand up to his own party.

This strikes me as more truthy than true. It’s true that “congress” is an unpopular institution. And it’s also true that Democrats are sure to get larger majorities in the House and the Senate. But Democrats are going to get those larger majorities because the public has a clear preference for electing more Democrats to congress:

genericpoll_1.jpg

Under the circumstances, it’s by no means clear that linking Obama with a bunch of people who the public intends to vote for would do anything other than compel more people to vote for Obama. Nevertheless, it would sort of be interesting for McCain to raise this line of argument more explicitly if only because it would put on the table the under-discussed question of what, really, McCain plans to do if he becomes President. Will we have a government shutdown if congressional Democrats don’t agree to cuts in literally every domestic program? That doesn’t sound likely to me, but McCain hasn’t really fielded any practical questions about dealing with an opposition congress.

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