Douglas Holtz-Eakin, in a post-mortem on the election , (HT: Zev) concedes that McCain’s biggest mistake was supporting the bailout. Read his reasoning carefully:
said it was a move of desperation because the campaign was taking a lot
of criticism for not being more proactive at the time.
markets were falling apart,” Holtz-Eakin said. “We were in a terrible
position as a campaign in trying to figure out whether to continue to
just take hits–which we were–or to try to do something about it when
the bailout bill was stalled. We elected to go do something about it.
It didn’t pay off as a campaign largely because getting that bill
through was not helpful.”
advised the audience, which included several economists and policy
analysts, to evaluate the strategy if confronted with having to choose
between politics or core policy beliefs.
anyone is ever in a comparable position before us, take the time–or
again in the future, take the time to step back and ask, ‘Is this a
good policy move? Will it really help?’” he said.
Yes, that is excellent advice. Rather than basing your decision on politics, base your decision on whether it’s good policy. What a novel and unusual suggestion.