Sen. McCain has been wobbly on tax cuts. Mitt Romney’s attack ads continue to point this out. My own view, after interviewing McCain several times over the past year, is that he’s more interested in spending and earmark restraint then he is in cutting taxes. And while he did vote for the Reagan supply-side program in the 1980s, he opposed the Bush tax cuts in recent years.
That said, I believe the real McCain value-added is his robust foreign- and military-policy experience. He was absolutely right on the Petraeus surge. And he was absolutely right on criticizing Don Rumsfeld for bungling the post-Saddam period in Iraq. There’s every reason to believe that a President McCain would be a very strong leader in the global war on terror.
Circling back to economic policy, I’ve got two key words for a potential President McCain: Phil Gramm. Look for a President McCain to hand the economic policy reins over to the former Texas senator. Gramm would either be Treasury secretary or chief of staff in a McCain White House. This is good.
Phil Gramm remains a strong, zealous, free-market advocate. He has been sorely missed in the U.S. Senate following his retirement a few years back. Gramm has been working as an investment banker on Wall Street for the global firm UBS.
Gramm is a staunch free trader, tax cutter, budget cutter, and entitlement reformer. Most important, he’s tough as nails on policy issues.
The conservative Mr. Gramm would steer a possible McCain presidency in the right direction.
Anyone reading this blog knows I’m a FredHead. I’m been vacillating on my fallback position should Fred not get the nomination. It’s been either McCain or Romney, depending on who I last read something bad about. Should Thompson drop out, this suggestion above makes me favor McCain more. If McCain wants to cinch my support up, he’s announce this publicly. Heck, if Gramm jumped into the race himself now, I’d have to think twice about dumping Fred for him. Gramm’s the man! (I was a staffer in his Delaware Presidential campaign office in 1996.)