Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Other George W.

George Will, whom for a long time I tried to like solely because he wrote for Newsweek, has a column out about how McCain's response to the financial crisis is underwhelming.

I find McCain underwhelming on several fronts, particularly recently, but one thing is for sure: George Will has never had much good to say about McCain. Months ago (although it might feel like years) Will wrote another column where he criticized McCain for not agreeing to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (It was a classic Will column: poorly sourced [he cited stats from the US Minerals Management Service, the federal agency recently indicted for its feloniously close relationship to oil execs] and ignored the basic laws of economics[to wit, that oil is a finite resource and there is a likelihood that if we drill rather than research our demand will peak before our supply])

Will seems really uncomfortable - tortured, really - by the inevitable conclusion to his own column: that Obama might make a better President than McCain. In fact, he says it obliquely, writing that even an Obama presidency will come "at great cost."

And he says McCain is the complainer. Nonetheless, he's onto something. McCain's rhetorical history does suggest a certain "us vs. them" mentality. It's not the same "us vs. them" as George W Bush, but it could have similar consequences. Obama, on the other hand, seems to opt for the "There is no us, there is no them, there is only America" approach. Equally naive?

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