Brendan Nyhan calls me out for too much psychologizing in my last post on John McCain. And it’s true. I don’t like the guy. He’s not the worst politician on the planet, but he’s pretty bad, and I’m pretty sure he’s the most overrated politician so thinking about him aggravates me. But these would be my sober-minded, non-psychic points about John McCain and the economy:
- He’s not good at projecting empathy.
- His major political theme about the need to “serve a cause greater than self-interest” is not well-suited to projecting empathy.
- McCain’s background is in the military, his first political work was military-related, and his strong political issues involve national security.
- McCain says he doesn’t understand economics.
- McCain really doesn’t appear to understand economics:
- He thinks interest rates should be zero (but why?)
- He thinks spending cuts will stimulate the economy.
- He has a tendency to flip-flop not on specific economic policies, but on broad economic themes like whether or not inequality is a problem.
- His constituents in the elite press are weirdly obsessed with the idea that public policy should force average people to endure economic pain.
All of this leads me to conclude that John McCain would not govern very well on economic policy issues, and would fare poorly in a campaign that focused heavily on economic problems.