Is it possible to read David Brooks without wanting to vomit? Not today. Brooks writes:
[T]he Obama people are too convinced that they can define McCain as Bush III. The case is just factually inaccurate. McCain will be able to pull out dozens of instances, from torture to global warming to spending, in which he broke with his party, as Rush Limbaugh will tell you.Umm, what? By far the two most important issues to voters in this election are: (1) Iraq, and (2) the economy. On Iraq, McCain's position is identical to Bush's. There is zero difference. On the economy, McCain's position is also the same as Bush's. McCain wants to extend the Bush tax cuts; so does Bush. McCain says he'll finally cut government spending; so did Bush. McCain says he'll reduce government spending by eliminating earmarks; Bush said in his State of the Union that he'll veto any budget with earmarks. McCain thinks tax cuts finance themselves; so does Bush. McCain opposes significant government intervention to help homeowners refinance existing mortgages; so does Bush. With all those differences on the two most important issues to voters, it will obviously be difficult for the Obama campaign to paint McCain as Bush III. Very difficult. It's also important to note that the issue Rush Limbaugh and his minions get most fired up about is immigration. McCain is very, very pro-immigration; so is Bush. I was very impressed with both McCain and Bush for standing up to the xenophobic wing of their party and trying to ram through the immigration reform bill last summer. If McCain is elected, I suspect he'll make immigration reform a priority again, to his credit. But the point is that even on immigration, McCain would be Bush III.