The big political news today (so far) is that Sen. John McCain couldn’t remember the number of homes he owns.. (Getting a little less attention, his staff then told the Politico that the answer is four, when in fact, it is at least seven and as many as ten.)
Democrats quickly took McCain’s confusion as an opportunity to charge McCain with being out-of-touch with the economic realities of most Americans.
Now, a politician’s financial standing does not automatically tell us anything about how in-touch his or her economic policies are. FDR came from money and Ronald Reagan did not, but who had policies that did more for most Americans?
But conservatives have dug a very big hole for themselves.
The conservative economic strategy of reckless tax cuts for the wealthiest, slippery rules written by and for corporations, but no investment in America’s foundation has all led to flat wages, rising costs, a housing/credit crisis and an overall weakened global economic standing.
Yet iinstead of accepting responsibility for their failed old ideas and recognizing a need for new ideas, conservatives resort to yelling at people that the economy is doing better than you think it is. Phil Gramm, who called America a “nation of whiners” remains the true face of conservatism.
And because conservative leaders refuse to accept the economic reality for most, McCain has been in a pickle trying to appeal to conservatives and swing voters: sometimes saying America is better off than seven years, sometimes saying it isn’t.
If conservatives had regrouped, rejected what has failed and re-emerged with new ideas, McCain’s gaffe would be more likely to be shrugged off as a silly mistake and quickly forgotten.
Instead, it is more likely to symbolize how far out-of-touch conservative economic policies have become.