Government Is The New Black

Bill Scher

Two weeks ago, I criticized the McCain campaign for claiming it was proposing solutions for the housing crisis, while refusing to offer any policy ideas.

But after some supporters chided McCain for offering nothing of substance, he tried for a re-do, delivering a new speech touting the power of, yes, “government.”

I believe a more robust, timely and targeted effort is my HOME plan. It offers every deserving American family or homeowner the opportunity to trade a burdensome mortgage for a manageable loan that reflects the market value of their home. This plan is focused on people. People decide if they need help, they apply for assistance and if approved the government under my HOME Program supports them in getting a new mortgage that they can afford. There will be qualifications which require the home to be a primary residence and the borrower able to afford a new mortgage. We will combine the power of government and the private sector to find immediate solutions for deserving American homeowners.

Many conservatives are apoplectic. But as the pundits at MSNBC’s First Read astutely note:

McCain starting to sound like a big-government Republican on the economy now. Why? Because he has to.

When was the last time I associated Beltway “pundits” with being “astute?” I think it was, never.

But even some pundits are recognizing what Campaign for America’s Future and Media Matters for America chronicled last year in “The Progressive Majority” report: Americans want our government involved in getting our economy back on track.

At minimum, McCain needs to be perceived as believing in a role for government. This week’s speech did not offer much detail in what he expects our government to do. But he realized that his original speech, signaling more callous conservatism, was political suicide.

However, this political shift doesn’t change how I ended my prior post: “[Conservatives] often refuse to actually say that they don’t want to take any public action, especially when it’s clear that most Americans are calling upon their government to take action.” If McCain is going to live up to maverick reputation and appeal to the progressive majority, he’s going to need more substance that shows he’s serious about empowering our government to take action.

But make no mistake — the conventional/conservative wisdom that has gripped the Beltway, presuming that government-bashing is the only way to win in America, is out the window.

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