Friday, August 1, 2008

McSame: The Audacity of Vagueness

John McSame has accused Barack Obama of vagueness on policy questions of all things. This would be the same candidate whose campaign has recently devoted its time and resources to spelling out a detailed policy position on ... comparing Barack Obama's with Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and a long list of additional reasons to despise Barack Obama.

A psychologist would label this as projection based on such offerings as these from the official McSame campaign web site:

* John McCain believes we should send a strong message to world markets. Under his plan, the United States will be telling oil producing countries and oil speculators that our dependence on foreign oil will come to an end - and the impact will be lower prices at the pump.
It's a rare trifecta: it's vague, false, and irrational! Suppose we -- and by we I think he means McSame himself, presumably in a conference call placed from the Oval Office itself, although he's quite vague about the form this telling will take -- tell oil producers, speculators, or anyone else the blatant lie that the USA will, in some unspecified manner by some unspecified time, end our dependence on foreign sources of oil. How would that result in lower retail gas prices? That answer is not to be found.

The vagueness deepens from there:
* John McCain's policies will increase the value of the dollar and thus reduce the price of oil. In recent years, the declining value of the dollar has added to the cost of imported oil. This will change. Americans will have a stronger economy, a stronger dollar and greater purchasing power for oil, gas and food.
Um ... OK. All else equal, a stronger dollar would purchase more oil so long as oil remained a predominantly foreign commodity. But McSame just said -- only a bullet point ago -- that he'd be placing stern phone calls with the aim of making oil more of a domestically-derived commodity (I think that's the hoped-for effect, but he was, well, vague on that particular point). And besides all that, how exactly will McSame's policies increase the value of the dollar?

I don't think McSame should accuse anyone else of being vague.

On the other hand, the rationale behind McSame's studied vagueness is clear enough: he wants to avoid informing voters that he represents a direct continuation of Bush-Cheney's policies.

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