Old, Grizzled Third-Party Candidate May Steal Support From McCain
Publius, meanwhile, has great fun with McCain's policy positions, as aired in the most recent debate:
It has nothing to do with independence from dogma, pragmatism, or flexibility. That might be a good description if McCain were proposing to be a fiscal hawk in one area while increasing spending in another. But he's not. In the last debate, he said: "We obviously have to stop this spending spree that's going on in Washington." And then, a few lines later, he proposed spending $300 billion to buy up bad mortgages. And he's still promising to balance the budget by the end of his first term, while enacting massive tax cuts. Likewise, he is not proposing to kick one country out of the G8 while trying to foster closer ties with another. He is proposing that we adopt both those policies towards Russia.
If I decide to be kind to one person and cruel to another, or to save money on some things but spend in another, that might (or might not) be evidence of pragmatism. But if I decide to be both kind and cruel to the same person, or to spend and save the same money, that's not pragmatism or "call-it-like-you-see-it independence from dogma". It's just incoherence. Likewise with McCain's policy positions: there is no such thing as a policy that gratuitously insults Russia while fostering closer ties with it, or that stops the spending spree in Washington and balances the budget while enacting huge new tax cuts and spending programs. To think there is is not a sign of refreshing independence. It's just confusion.