December 18, 2007


McCain's Surge: Why he's making a primary comeback (Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2007)

Mr. McCain paid a visit to our offices last Friday, and he now says he supports extending the Bush tax rates, even admitting they helped the economy emerge from recession. "Without a doubt. Without the slightest doubt," he told us. "Absolutely."

In a spirited exchange, Mr. McCain justified his previous opposition by arguing that there was no discipline on spending. "To the everlasting shame and embarrassment of the Republican Party and this Administration," he noted, "we went on a spending spree and we didn't pay for it." That's true enough, and in an ideal world tax cuts would be offset dollar-for-dollar by spending cuts.

But in practice Congress will never do so, which means Republicans are left to be tax collectors for the welfare state. The experience of the Reagan and Bush years is that tax cutting has its own economic benefits, and that revenues will rebound far more quickly than the critics claim. We asked Mr. McCain what he'd do when faced with a Democratic Congress that insists he raise taxes in 2009, and he replied that he'd say "No" and cite JFK's successful tax-cutting in the 1960s. This is intellectual progress, and we trust such McCain advisers as Phil Gramm and Tim Muris will conduct further tutorials.

More than economics, Mr. McCain has two main strengths in this GOP race: His record on national security, and the belief that he can reach enough non-Republicans to assemble a viable center-right coalition and defeat Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in what could be a difficult GOP year.

McCain senses momentum is starting to help him (Marc Santora, December 18, 2007, NY Times)

Seeking to capitalize on a series of highly sought newspaper endorsements, Senator John McCain is strongly pushing to attract independent voters who helped drive his victory here eight years ago.

In a sign of a re-energized candidacy, he also plans to return after Christmas Day to campaigning in Iowa, where he has failed, until recently, to gain support and has devoted few resources since the near-collapse of his campaign in the summer.

The campaign says it has not changed its strategy. But, McCain said Monday, "I am obviously going to try to capitalize on it," referring to the momentum.

The crowds following McCain here have been steadily growing in the last month.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2007 1:21 PM
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