Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will give a speech on health care in Florida, where he will offer broad platitudes about “chang[ing] the whole dynamic of the current system” and addressing “the the fundamental problems of cost and access.” Yet when legitimate questions have been raised about his health plans, McCain — and his chief economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin — have been absent on specifics. “So, a little more detail, but remember, it is April, and the election’s in November, so not everything will happen tomorrow or this week,” Holtz-Eakin told reporters yesterday.
Punting on the issues seems to be the only firm commitment Holtz-Eakin will give, whether he’s discussing McCain’s approach to climate change, his tax plan, or his health care policy:
ON SPENDING CUTS — “Mr. Holtz-Eakin says the mistake that people are making is treating the McCain platform as if it were a finished piece of work. ‘It’s April,’ he said. ‘We have until November.’ The campaign will later unveil ‘base broadeners’ in the corporate tax code — that is, loopholes it will eliminate — that will pay for the faster investment write-offs, for example.” [NYT, 4/23/08]
ON CLIMATE POLICY — “He [McCain] certainly would revise the bill [Lieberman-Warner] in light of what’s transpired, and I expect he’ll put out, during the course of the campaign, something like an updated version of his view of how it should go.” [Holtz-Eakin interview with Grist, 4/21/08]
— “I’m just going to defer until he [McCain] puts out the climate policy.” [Holtz-Eakin interview with Grist, 4/21/08]
ON HEALTH CARE — “’We are working on it,’ said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s top policy adviser. ‘We’ll put out more details. As we do, it will be clearer to people.’” [Boston Globe, 4/3/08]
ON McCAIN’S TAX PLAN — “Having secured the Republican nomination, McCain now also seems uncomfortable with the huge tax cuts he proposed months ago, and the campaign seems to be searching for a course correction. Holtz-Eakin has said that McCain ‘is by no means done making tax proposals.’” [CBS News, 4/20/08]
The Straight Talk express apparently can’t navigate through specifics.