Later today I expect McCain to be beaten by Obama in the Presidential election. I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on what may have been.
If McCain had been elected, he would have been one of the most independent Presidents in history. His legislative history as a Senator speaks for itself. His independence from some of the religious lobby groups would be especially useful – abortion and civil unions should not be the number one issue for a country.
America would have had its most ardent pro free trade President in history – McCain supportes free trade agreements with every country, except those they have security issues with.
On fiscal issues, Bush has left a disaster of a deficit, and McCain would probably have been pretty effective in reducing the deficit. Bush in fact has massively expanded the federal budget.
On Iraq, he was the main proponent of the surge strategy, that basically suceeded. The challenge would have been to then reduce numbers in Iraq over time so that the Iraqi Government can govern without the need of foreign troops. A McCain presidency would be given more time by am impatient public to withdraw. Obama may find it very difficult to reconcile the expectations of his supporters and the obligations to the Iraqi Government not to pull out too quickly.
It would be fascinating to know what would have happened if McCain had won against Bush in 2000 and then been elected againgst Gore. I suspect he would have been a far more sucessful President than Bush.
But his presidency will be the realm of “what if” writers as 2008 is not his year. It is a credit to McCain that he is still so close to Obama in the polls, when you consider only 10% of Americans say the country is heading in the right direction and 88% say the wrong direction. The candidate for the party of the incumbent should be miles behind. He won’t lose by miles but I don’t think it will be close either.