Getting Specific

It's a bit odd that John McCain would decide that now's a good time to criticize Barack Obama for lacking specifics in his proposals. On the one hand, Obama has all these detailed proposals. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has been trying this attack for a while now and it's not working. It's probably not working because Obama does, in fact, have detailed proposals but his speeches are relatively light on them because that's how you put an effective speech together. The third thing that makes it a strange decision on McCain's part is what Jon Chait observes here:

McCain is like Obama in that he's appealed to voters largely on the basis of broad themes and his personal charisma and history. The difference is that Obama is a former law professor who's actually done his homework on the policy, and McCain is still winging it.

Chait supplies the following video as illustration:

This sort of thing happens all the time to McCain who, by his own admission, doesn't know much about economics and as you can tell from his ideological meandering, he doesn't really care about it either. He liked war, and he liked getting attention for bucking Bush, and then more recently he liked hewing to the orthodox line, but he doesn't know anything about the subject and certainly can't answer questions in detail. Check out, for example, his vague as hell detailed Social Security proposals:

John McCain will fight to save the future of Social Security and believes that we may meet our obligations to the retirees of today and the future without raising taxes. John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts -- but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept. John McCain will reach across the aisle, but if the Democrats do not act, he will. No problem is in more need of honesty than the looming financial challenges of entitlement programs. Americans have the right to know the truth and John McCain will not leave office without fixing the problems that threatens our future prosperity and power.

That's right -- Americans have the right to know the truth and the truth is that on retirement security, McCain is the only candidate with the courage to vaguely allude to unspecified benefit cuts, to be applied to unknown persons at an unknown time. Because after all, no problem is more in need of honesty, and nothing is more important in a candidate then specifics. McCain will hope Democrats agree to go along with his Mystery Plan, and if they don't act, he will . . . to do something . . . to someone's benefits . . . at some point.