Senator McCain Proves He Doesn’t Learn From Other People’s Mistakes

We can nitpick on what’s Bush-like, and what’s not Bush-like.  We can argue about whether McCain is too close to Bush’s policies, or if he’s distancing himself from them (I’ll give you three guesses as to the kinds of folks that are pushing the latter argument and the first two don’t count).

But one of the things that has made Bush a terrible president wasn’t simply his ideology.  Don’t get me wrong, the ideology is bad, but it was the insular attitude, and the inability to admit to, and thusly learn from mistakes.

When we look back at the Bush administration, there will be no end of catastrophic policies enacted that we will lament, but on the whole, it was that inability to see outside his own world view and act upon a reality that he did not control that was so terribly dangerous in a President of the United States.

Which is what I think is what is really wrong with McCain deciding to double up on the push for a gas tax holiday.

Yes it’s a bad idea, and frankly, we as Americans have got to get outselves out of the mindset that every idea that a politician floats is a gold plated pony.  They’re fallible just like us, and I would like to see, in the future, more leniency for politicians that change their mind or admit mistakes in the spirit of intellectual honesty.

So no, it’s not just that the gas tax holiday is a bad idea, but that by now McCain should KNOW this.  He should KNOW that it’s been panned universally from economists.  McCain should KNOW by now that there’s no guarantee that the drop in taxes will be passed straight on to the customer.  McCain should know that enacting a bill such as this would take possibly over $10 Billion from our Highway Trust Fund.  He should know all of this we learned it all the first time it came up and Hillary Clinton tried to use it to author a populist wave to victory.

Which brings up the other thing that he should know at this point, and that it’s not a political winner, and that it puts Obama right in his wheelhouse in the fight against McCain.  As Benen further points out, McCain doesn’t KNOW the economy, while Obama’s pretty well stocked up on his web site alone as far as economy and energy wonkishness is concerned (read here, here, and here for starters).

I mean, Obama won the gas tax holiday debate last time it reared its ugly head, and McCain wants to bring it up again?  And let’s not forget that at least Clinton’s had some sort of mechanism to try and cap how much the oil companies would engorge themselves as a result of the tax break; her plan was marginally better and it was still rejected.

Where was John McCain during all this?  Was he not paying attention?

Not that I mind from a purely political, partisan standpoint.  I’ll gladly accept every softball thrown our way.

But when we look at the dangerous kind of mentality that put us where we are now, and then we look at McCain who seemingly is not just ignorint portions of reality in his revival of the Quixotic gas tax holiday crusade, but the entirety of reality as a whole, from policy to politics… well… that’s just a little unsettling to me.

More at MemeorandumReuters, Jonathan Martin’s Blogs, Argghhh!, The Carpetbagger Report, Below The Beltway, Blog entry, FP Passport and Don Surber

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