Sunday, September 21, 2008

What Might a McCain Presidency Look Like?

Last month, John Fortier of the American Enterprise Institute asked an important question. How would John McCain govern?

He noted a few McCain character traits:
McCain’s governing style displays a healthy balance between loyal insiders and outside advice. McCain has attracted loyal long-term staffers, such as chief of staff and co-author of his best-selling books, Mark Salter, but he also seeks counsel from a wide range of advisers inside and outside his campaign...
This is important because one of the chief failings of the current administration, in my view, has been insularity. People from inside Bush World were given key posts, even when not suitable. Outsiders who were tapped really didn't wield real power. Compare that to Ronald Reagan who made his chief GOP rival's campaign manager his Chief of Staff. A good leader will reach out and hire the best people, regardless of their past affilations.
With McCain’s emphasis on fiscal responsibility, lower spending and cutting congressional pork, a McCain presidency would likely see vetoes of appropriations bills and budget showdowns with Democrats. On this front, McCain would probably find strong backing from his Republican colleagues, who while in the minority would support fiscal restraint wholeheartedly.
As a Republican President with a strong record of fiscal restraint dealing with a Democratic Congress, McCain would likely do a fairly good job keeping spending in line. That's a big advantage he's got in my view over Senator Obama, who likely will go along with Congressional spending wishes because he's got some ambitious plans of his own, e.g., health care.

Fortier surmises that McCain's record of bi-partisanship and independence from his own party's line means that he'd work better with a Democratic Congress than any of his GOP rivals would have, which I find to be a reasonable assertion.

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