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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Larry Kudlow on John McCain

Larry Kudlow gives John McCain a piece of advice @ NRO's The Corner<:

The day after North Carolina and Indiana the Intrade pay-to-play betting odds in the race for president show Obama at 54 percent and McCain at 38 percent. But wait — it gets worse. The Democrats are favored to win the House and Senate by over 90 percent.

This is the investor class’s worst nightmare: A very left-liberal President Obama presiding over, well, a very left-liberal Democratic Congress.

If it moves, tax it. That’s the future. It’s not hard to predict higher taxes on investors, small businesses, oil companies, and corporations across the board. There will be a big move toward nationalized health care.

Regulatory liberation for the unions. Trade protectionism. None of this is good. But it’s realistic. Very few people in the financial punditocracy expect the three-house sweep, but the possibility is now out there for all to see.

Stocks are down today, but only a little bit. Of course, it’s still early in the game. In fact, one of John McCain’s best calling cards in the campaign is that electing him president will stop the three-house sweep.The last sweep of this kind was the 1993-94 Clinton victory.

Financial markets did poorly. When the Gingrich Congress came in, markets quickly headed north. But I suspect the current conditions for a three-house sweep are more like they were in the late 1970s. The Clinton episode came in the aftermath of the Reagan years. Now it’s more like the stagflationary Jimmy Carter years with inflation running much faster than growth.

All these news stories about the declining Republican brand in Congress are certainly worth reading — including Newt Gingrich’s attack on the GOP House. Mitch McConnell believes Senate Republicans will stay in the mid-forties. He acknowledges they are the ultimate firewall. (Sixty is the magic number in the Senate for presidential vetoes.)

But I don’t want to write McCain off. I’m just citing the Intrade numbers.

Nonetheless, the Arizonan has got to mount a Herculean effort from here on out. He’s got to lay out a clear economic-growth strategy; a clear foreign-policy wartime strategy; and a pro-production, pro-growth energy strategy. All the while he has to stay on track for conservative social values.

Hillary Democrats and Catholics (especially) can be brought in by McCain. But he has to work on it. This whole summer-gas-tax-holiday flap is a distraction right now. McCain should be hammering on the huge differences between himself and Obama on taxes, spending, trade, and energy.

He’s got to focus, pick up his game, and fight.

He also should separate himself from President Bush on the key issue of the U.S. dollar. He should promise a restoration of King Dollar, or say he’ll turn King Dollar into a Strong McCain Dollar. A Strong McCain Dollar would curb inflation, gas, and food prices and restore American prestige around the world.

The philosophical differences between McCain and Obama are huge. (McCain has said as much.) I believe a McCain presidency is there for the taking.

But he has to energize and punch hard. Take the gloves off. Start immediately.

Yesterday’s Democratic primaries were a true game changer. Now the real race begins. The betting markets are pessimistic about Republicans and optimistic about Democrats. It’s up to McCain to turn this around.

Let the real games now begin.

This is the fact of the race today. John McCain has been virtually nonexistent on the TV and on the radio. Today, Hugh Hewitt will air an interview he had with John McCain in hours one and three, and he did have a recent blogger conference call in which some very big guns in the blogosphere participated. But the public does not read blogs, and the only talk radio they listen to, for the most part, is either Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity.

John McCain needs to get out there, and get his message out there. Larry Kudlow nails it in his piece. The simple answer is he must, from this point forward, ignore Senator Clinton, and focus all of his energy on Senator Obama. Cite the differences in policy, cite the necessity to stop the bleeding in the markets, cite the need to stay on offense in the war. Senator Obama did say this past weekend in an interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press that he would do a deliberate drawdown of combat troops out of Iraq over the course of sixteen months; in effect he has said he will utilize a timetable to get out of Iraq. That is exactly what the commanders on the ground and military analysts have said is dangerous. If you set a timetable, and one that is open to the enemy, they will lie in wait, and build up their forces. When we leave, they will brutalize Iraq, and destroy the efforts of the Iraqis and coalition forces to create a stable democracy.

John McCain must make the differences crystal clear, and hammer Senator Obama on every issue that is raised. This is the only way he can win, and this race, quite literally, is his to lose at this point. We would like to suggest that Larry Kudlow be brought into the McCain campaign to serve as a senior strategist. He has the right idea, and it is time for Senator McCain to come out swinging.



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