Honestly, it’s like deja vu all over again.
Right at the top of his remarks before taking questions from the Nashville crowd — where regular unleaded goes for about $3.85 — McCain said he wanted to discuss “what’s on everybody’s mind, the price of oil.”
McCain said he was struck by the loud opposition by “the elites in this country.”
“The hysterical reaction was a little bit funny,” he said. In Washington, McCain noted, “the wealthiest people live in Georgetown” and can walk downtown to work. By contrast, he said, the lowest-income workers live the furthest away.
McCain explained that Barack Obama had called the plan “a gimmick”
“Well, I’d like to have some more quote gimmicks to give low-income Americans some relief,” he jabbed back.
I keep thinking about an item Time’s Joe Klein wrote about a month ago. Klein, a McCain admirer, predicted that McCain would avoid the cheap and pathetic style of campaigning we’re seeing now. McCain, Klein said, “sees the tawdry ceremonies of politics — the spin and hucksterism — as unworthy.” If he doesn’t, “McCain will have to live with the knowledge that in the most important business of his life, he chose expediency over honor. That’s probably not the way he wants to be remembered.”
Klein was mistaken. McCain has seen the tawdry ceremonies of politics — the spin and hucksterism — and has come to believe that Americans are just dumb enough to fall for the con. McCain almost certainly knows that this gas-tax idea is ridiculous, and he has to realize that railing against the “elites” for acknowledging reality is a special kind of stupid.
And yet, McCain peddles nonsense anyway, hoping voters won’t know the difference. That his proposal wouldn’t do anything to help low-income Americans, wouldn’t lower the price of gas, and would boost oil company profits seems entirely irrelevant. A confidence man in the middle of a scam can’t be bothered with reality — it only gets in the way of the deception.