John McCain

Foreign Policy Mag Shocker: McCain's Got Terrible Ideas Too!

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Foreign Policy doesn't think Obama is the only major party presidential candidate with some positively awful ideas–and neither do I.

Following up on yesterday's Barack-bashing, here are McCain's 10 Worst Ideas according to the foreign policy mandarins at Foreign Policy. I don't agree all are awful–I tend toward a Rothbardian "cut all taxes at any times anywhere" mentality that makes numbers 2, 3, and 7 seems just fine (even if a gas tax holiday doesn't have all the economic effects its proponents promise), but the responsible, respectable voices at Foreign Policy do tend to believe that government deserves and needs every penny it can squeeze out of us by any means necessary.

It was interesting, though it's clearly absurd, to see in number 6 McCain pretending that his foreign policy vision of eternal intervention everywhere will somehow lead to "victories" that will then lead to "savings" that can apply to deficit reduction.

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  1. I think three is a great idea, though it will have virtually no effect on the actual tax burden, or on the feasibility of passing tax increases.

    I have yet to see the legislator who thinks the government needs less money.

  2. I tend toward a Rothbardian “cut all taxes at any times anywhere” mentality

    I tend towards a Miltonian “cut all taxes and give people a reason to believe that it’s permanent, or your just screwing with the market and not letting it function.”

  3. Look for the foreign policy establishment — particularly those who are CIA friends and assets — to try to undermine McCain, because of his desire to replace the agency with a new version of the OSS.

  4. McCain “shocker” = fist in the pink – bomb in the commie stink….

    “I am a war criminal – I bombed women and children”……

    The big=headed Gingrich types lick his splooge off the streets..

  5. On off shore drilling and nuclear power FP is WRONG WRONG WRONG

  6. As columnist Thomas Friedman put it in a recent interview with FP, “When I hear McCain pounding the table for ‘drill, drill, drill,’ it reminds me of someone pounding the table for IBM Selectric typewriters on the eve of the IT revolution.”

    The US government had a moratorium on leases for IBM Selectric typewriters?

    What?

  7. I think he’s talking about people putting their faith in dirt-burning on the eve of a revolution in energy technology, MikeP.

  8. Oh. So when Thomas Friedman hears someone pounding the table for “alternative carbon-free energy sources, alternative carbon-free energy sources, alternative carbon-free energy sources,” does it remind him of someone pounding the table for playing-card sized teraflop quantum computers on the eve of the IT revolution?

  9. Like I said yesterday, gosh I’m surprised that Reason – the “libertarian” magazine – would side with a DavidRockefeller-linked publication… it’s almost like Reason isn’t really libertarian at all but is something else.

    Regarding #1, I guess they’re worried about competition.

    Regarding #4, perhaps one of Reason’s buddies at FP could explain exactly how the bill would have “boost[ed] security”. The bill McCain supported would have given even more power to the MexicanGovernment, racial power groups, the far-left, and so on. And, those are the same groups that are currently fighting against security. Would anyone care to claim with a straight face that they’d do a 180 and support all the provisions of the bill after it passed? Wouldn’t the first thing they’d start doing after the bill passed be to try to undercut the parts of the bill they don’t like? And, wouldn’t they be able to do that from a tremendous power base?

    Reason isn’t the only magazine that either can’t think things through or doesn’t disclose everything involved in what they support.

  10. I think he’s talking about people putting their faith in dirt-burning on the eve of a revolution in energy technology, MikeP.

    Yeah, ’cause petroleum is soooo irrelevant.

    Thomas Friedman needs to close his yap once in a while.

  11. What about your disclosure, Lonewacko? Where does your money come from? Who are your masters? What’s your motivation for being such a nativist tool?

  12. Incidentally, joe, I don’t know exactly what Friedman claims is “the eve of the IT revolution,” but I used both an IBM Selectric typewriter and a first-generation word processing machine (CPT, for Computer Powered Typing) at the same job.

    I know, I know… It’s pretty unbelievable that people might choose old or new ways depending on a variety of needs and circumstances. Stupid people. Far better for the government to illegalize or make hard to acquire the older technology.

  13. I tend toward a Rothbardian “cut all taxes at any times anywhere” mentality

    I tend towards a Miltonian “cut all taxes and give people a reason to believe that it’s permanent…”

    I tend towards a “cut fucking spending or else it’s all bullshit” mentality.

  14. Joe-

    No, I think that MikeP is spot on. Friedman is capable of making inapposite analogies. It inapposite because its premise is incomplete-it omits a material element to which MikeP alludes. Besides, its not clever or funny or particularly original.

  15. Look for the foreign policy establishment — particularly those who are CIA friends and assets — to try to undermine McCain, because of his desire to replace the agency with a new version of the OSS.

    Isn’t the CIA a new version of the OSS?

  16. perhaps the best one is that, as experts Charles Ferguson and Sharon Squassoni explained in 2007, “a nuclear renaissance will take too long to have a significant effect” on climate change

    Can both sides stop frackin’ doing this? The whole gorram “this will take too long to have an effect”?

  17. Since no one’s said it yet, I’ll point out that John McCain spent five years in a place where they don’t get Foreign Policy.

  18. Can both sides stop frackin’ doing this? The whole gorram “this will take too long to have an effect”?

    It’s only one side that is doing it.

  19. Most guys buy a Corvette to satiate their midlife crises. What does Thomas Friedman do? He becomes monomaniacal about global warming. Maybe that’s what the college interns at the NYT want to hear.

  20. Virgil inquires: What about your disclosure, Lonewacko?

    When a disclaimer becomes necessary, you’ll find it on my site and/or the post in question. In other words, I’m not like Reason.

  21. I used to be a Rothbardian, but I’ve wised up a bit. Now I’m a “cut all spending at any times anywhere” guy. Spending has to come from somwhere, either taxes or borrowing or printing. Tax cuts without spending doesn’t reduce the extent of government interference in the economy, and if they aren’t uniform can significantly distort it.

    The Laffer Curve should be called the Laugher Curve. It’s used as an excuse to increase spending. If we miraculously happen to be ahead of the curve than government gets more revenue to spend. If we are behind the curve then government gets less revenue and makes up for with deficit spending. Neither path results in smaller government.

    Give me the tax cuts, all the tax cuts you can find! But give me spending cuts to go along with them.

  22. It’s only one side that is doing it.

    “Drill? It will take years to get new production on line. We need alternatives now!”

    “Wind Power? It will take years to build windmills and new power lines. Solar? It will take years to develop the technology to improve efficiency and bring down production costs. Drill Drill Drill!”

    “Nuke power plants? They’ll take years to build. [and other plants don’t?] Mass transit projects? They’ll take years to build. [and highways don’t?]”

    etc.

  23. The world is full of insane people.

    As I understand it, we have billions of barrels of oil in the ground which would at the least create thousands of dollars of tax revenue for every American taxpayer, and would have little effect on world prices (and,therefore on total usage), and this is a reason why we shouldn’t drill?

    People drive me crazy.

  24. Actually, Brandybuck I remember Rothbard making a
    similar criticism of the Reagan administration in
    a fore ward to one of his books. Could be Mystery Of Banking. It has been years since I’m read through them. This week is shaping to be a good week to start.

  25. Bleh – the thing is, oil is a confirmed resource that is directly useful today. When people drag their feet about wind and solar, it’s not because of the time, it’s because of the doubtful efficacy and cost-benefit ratio.

  26. Aren’t we just overthinking the whole thing. Cut spending…bah…pedal to the metal and lets get it over with. I’d rather see the collapse come while I’m still young enough to see the light on the other side.

    I think I’ll write a book…”How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Deficit”

  27. Bleh – the thing is, oil is a confirmed resource that is directly useful today. When people drag their feet about wind and solar, it’s not because of the time, it’s because of the doubtful efficacy and cost-benefit ratio.

    Notice how retooling and buying entirely new vehicles is never factored into the cost with the alternative energy crowd? Pickens has a reasonable sounding tone in those commercials advocating converting to natural gas, but it really the height of irresponsibility when you factor the cost to the consumers with such a massive switch. The NEP (the original, not Nixon/Safire’s faux pas) was child’s play social engineering compared to this!

  28. Start the drilling. Start the conservation. Start the windmills. The solar. And when OPEC ramps up production, to cut the price below domestic oil production costs, tell em to go fuck a goddamned snake.
    But if we are gonna continue to use a fuckton of oil, then we better be ready to pay the price.
    Islamic Terrorism my hairy ass. Its a feel good armageddon kinda war in new Babylon for the christian supremacists to get behind the republicans.

    And if this country is outta this shithole, we have all dug collectively, in ten years time, I will be very impressed.

  29. Sarah Palin’s email has been hacked. McCain campaign manager Rick Davis issued this statement:

    This is a shocking invasion of the Governor’s privacy and a violation of law. The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these emails will destroy them. We will have no further comment.

    The group of hackers that broke into her account is reportedly “very sophisticated and probably impossible to stop.” We don’t know if this was a politically motivated crime, or if it was committed by hackers without a cause.

    But is it reasonable to ask if this crime was encouraged by the the sick obsession with Sarah Palin’s children and her medical records–even her decision to have an amniocentesis–that infests the pro-Obama fever swamps in the blogosphere?

    We don’t know the motivations of the hackers. But there are many savages out there who want to destroy Sarah Palin personally–not merely defeat her candidacy, but destroy her personally. Perhaps this criminal invasion of privacy will lead some bloggers to reconsider their more unseemly attempts to pry into Sarah Palin’s life.

  30. buying entirely new vehicles is never factored into the cost with the alternative energy crowd?

    There is on the order of 7 million new passenger cars sold every year. source

    There are about 135 million passenger cars total

    So, (very) approximately, 5% of the inventory turns over every year.

    Better stat: median age of cars is somewhere around 7-9 years.

    So in a decade you can expect half the car users today to replace their vehicles.

    And IFACT, nat gas vehicles are not significantly more expensive to produce. (the conversion would cost between 12K-25K)

  31. To clarify:

    To convert an existing car, it seems to be around 12-25K (and there is a ton of EPA red tape that makes it this much)

    To produce a new nat gas vehicle, it doesn’t seem to be too much more than the equivalent diesel/gasoline powered one.

  32. One other comment wrt alan’s comment.

    You know what really made the tech boom (and the railroad boom, and the automobile boom etc) possible? People not falling for the sunk cost fallacy.

  33. In that average is included a sizeable portion of the population who turn over their cars once every 2/4/5 years and so you count these people twice+, and so the large number of spendthrifts like myself who turnover on a 1 every 8/9/10 year basis is not accurately show, so instead of 50% over a 10 year period at the very best you are looking at around 35%.

    Also factor in the cost of infrastructure. Additional pipes, and the cost to each station to add storage tanks and assembly to their existing inventory, and whew wee, the price goes up and up and up!

  34. “Community of Democracies” – I got their first album, did they ever make another one?

  35. “I tend towards a “cut fucking spending or else it’s all bullshit” mentality.”

    Aye, that’s the political impossibility, and without it any tax cut is just another form of pandering.

  36. Bleh, this is a change over driven by the political climate, not by economic improvement as were those other booms (cold war had a part in the tech boom but mostly it got in the way of the commercialization of technology).

  37. People not falling for the sunk cost fallacy.

    Sorry, but I don’t do fallacy.

  38. In that average is included a sizeable portion of the population who turn over their cars once every 2/4/5 years and so you count these people twice+

    Your right, I probably should’ve counted cars not people.

    Replace: “So in a decade you can expect half the car users today to replace their vehicles.”

    with:

    “So within a decade you can expect half of all cars to be replaced”

    But isn’t that what matters? How many cars? (or other pieces of infrastructure)?

    Over the course of a decade (or so), it is conceivable to significantly change infrastructure – not at a no cost, but at a cost of what would have been spent anyway. From observational anecdote, just about every gas station I know has completely renovated itself over the last decade (mainly it seems to replace pumps so now they can utilize credit card readers – prbly also to meet new air quality requirements, either state or fed). Which is not a trivial cost either.

    No one (serious) is asking for a instant change. And that was my original point. Arguments that ‘x can’t be done, because it will take too long’ is a b.s. argument.

    Yeah, it seems Pickens is asking for a handout, to which I say “Nuts!”. But the concept of operations in sound as a back of the envelope calculation – i.e. that the following three assumptions are valid:
    1) producing new cars that run on nat gas cost about the same as those which run on gasoline/diesel
    2) operating costs for nat gas cars are somewhere between 30-40% less than gasoline cars
    3) that building a new nat gas station doesn’t cost that much more (to build or operate) than existing ones (as an aside, it was the small retail gas station that was the most squeezed when gas was greater than 4 bucks a gallon; a return to that price may be incentive enough to switch product lines).

  39. Bleh, excellent response. There is only one thing worth quibbling about and that is the comment you make:


    No one (serious) is asking for a instant change.

    Both Al Gore and Obama who are both taken seriously as a heart attack by an alarming segment of the population do talk about near instantaneous change in the energy sector of out economy in ways that on an infrastructure level are as impossible as erecting a fully functional city on Mars within ten years.

    Converting our economy to the extent Obama would like to have mandated within ten years? Okay, Obama, I have a very modest proposal for you, relative to what you are asking: your campaign goes cold turkey on the fossil fuels right now. If you want us to do it, surely you can set an example.

    I do take what you are saying seriously, though. It is at the margins that significant gains are made. Even if ten percent of the cars on the highway use natural gas and ten percent of the stations have dispensaries for the product, than the price of gas will reflect a more stable product for us who continue to drive clunkers as well.

  40. The reporter asked, “Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?” After a long pause, McCain replied, “You’ve stumped me.”

    Wha’ happen’?

    In a world of surreal, that line’s a fucking Dali.

  41. What the hell is wrong with #1? I’m ALL for anything that weakens the UN!

    Penguin, I couldn’t agree with you more about spending cuts. The rest IS just political rhetoric.

  42. As for #5, drill, drill, drill. How about we just lower the fucking artificial restrictions on drilling. If it is economically feasible, you can bet your ass the the oil companies will drill ,if not….then they won’t.

  43. joe, I suspect that replacing the majority of our energy infrastructure with technologies still in development is going to take longer than the handful of years it took for word processors to replace typewriters.

    The energy revolution is going to happen very much in slow motion compared to the revolution in office IT ,which was pretty much done in, what, 8 years at the most? I started practicing in ’87, and there was a mix of computers and typewriters in our offices (very few attorneys had computers, in short order all secretaries had both). I would say that by ’92 or ’93, it was pretty much all computers, except for the odd typed label or envelope.

    So, yeah, burning dirt is still relevant, and necessary, for at least a couple of decades. Plenty of time for all that new drilling we’d like to see to come on line.

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