Given how common the complaints from the left are that the right is all racist Christian fanatics, it’d be pretty impressive — and amusing — if McCain’s running mate were Jewish (Lieberman or Cantor) or Indian-American (Jindal).
On another positive McCain note, the Cato Institute suggests that, imperfect as both Obama and McCain are, McCain’s health plan is substantially more free-market-oriented and even takes encouraging steps toward ending the stifling tie between health insurance and employers, which would do wonders to make the labor market more fluid and ease a lot of employee anxiety (the sort of concern that has driven even some fairly market-friendly writers such as Malcolm Gladwell, dissatisfied with the current employer-mandates/governmental situation, to think a flat-out government-run system might even be preferable).
On the downside, McCain says things that sound as openly and pugnaciously anticapitalist as his hero, Teddy Roosevelt, as in the narrator’s words in this McCain campaign ad:
Washington’s broken. John McCain knows it. We’re worse off than we were four years ago.
Only McCain has taken on big tobacco, drug companies, fought corruption in both parties. He’ll reform Wall Street, battle Big Oil, make America prosper again.
Yikes. Some terrifying mixed messages in there, from a free-market perspective. Add to that the possibility of Independent Lieberman (who’s prone to call for regulation of violent videogames and that sort of thing) running with “maverick” McCain, and we might find ourselves with no real Republican ticket on the ballot at all come November — but instead a sort of Bull Moose progressive/imperialist ticket vs. a Democratic ticket — McCain leading an 1890s-style progressive ticket and Obama a 1990s-style progressive ticket, with some of us market-oriented Republicans left feeling out of options.
Unless you count the Republican who’s running on the Libertarian ticket, of course. (It’s very complicated.)
Now if we could just get the whole thing to loop around so that a libertarian or at least a real free-marketeer became the Democratic running mate, we’d be getting somewhere. Ah, well, at least the Dem v.p. slot definitely won’t be going to a certain philandering populist lawyer from North Carolina.
UPDATE 8/19/08: Giuliani as v.p. would be another pleasing thumb in the eye to the religious folk who failed to support him in the primary — and an exciting resurrection after his defeat in that process. He’d fare better in the general, likes McCain, and is similarly ideologically ambiguous. But maybe the Giuliani rumors will give way to something else within days.