Good grief. The McCain campaign is getting even dumber. Inexcusably dumb. Monumentally dumb. Paradigmatically dumb.
From conception to execution, its American Homeownership Re-surge-nce Plan is a precise model of precisely what not to do while tumbling into the economic abyss. I heard one misery analyst -- once known as an economist -- say the current catastrophe leaves unwounded only those with nothing, and those with everything. Everyone betwixt gets bloodied and crushed. So just whom, pray tell, does McCain's plan benefit?
Actually, no one, since it hasn't a desperately ignorant hope in hell of ever seeing the legislative light of day. It's that dumb. But if it were to become the law of the land, well, let's see, for starters it would be an "outright loss for the taxpayer" -- that would be the middle, bloodied and crushed group -- said former Fed vice-chairman and Princeton professor Alan Blinder, since it proposes to buy bad mortgages at 100 percent face value.
That's so colossally dumb, for reasons so colossally self-evident, we shan't even bother dissecting its unprecedented dumbness.
Continued Prof. Blinder: "I don't see why anybody, Republican or Democrat, would want to do that." Actually, no one, Republican or Democrat, would want to do that, unless he, she or it is one of "the lenders who made the worst mortgages." Because it is they to whom you'd be "giving the biggest gifts," noted Blinder.
"They" also would tend to fall into the "those with everything" group. And the homeowning in-between group -- the ones getting bloodied and crushed -- would go right on getting crushed and soon join the bottom "with nothing" group, since they can't afford mortgages anyway, which, since the government guaranteed the bloody things, other taxpayers would soon be paying off.
Hence those in the middle would pay, those at the top would benefit, and the ranks of the very bottom would soon swell with all those socioeconomic dismounts. Damn. Wait a minute. I know there's a term for this sort of economic theory, and I could have sworn it has already been tried.
But wait just one more minute, because we haven't yet got to the best and paradigmatically dumbest part. Let us proceed.
As you know, Mr. McCain rolled out his wretchedly idiotic re-surge-nce plan Tuesday night at the town hall forum, hoping that some literally poor bastards in the viewing audience would believe it to be an authentic effort at helping.
And here, from the Politico, is what transpired within about a 12-hour period:
When McCain sprung his surprise idea at the start of the debate in Nashville, his campaign posted details online of his American Homeownership [Re-surge-nce] Plan….
The document posted and e-mailed by the McCain campaign on Tuesday night says at the end of its first full paragraph: "Lenders in these cases must recognize the loss that they’ve already suffered."
So the government would buy the mortgages at a discounted rate, reflecting the declining value of the mortgage paper.
But when McCain reissued the document on Wednesday, that sentence was missing….
That would mean the U.S. would pay face value for the troubled documents, which was the main reason Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave for opposing the plan.
Said a McCain official to the Politico: The offending sentence -- the one laden with pragmatic intelligence and political reality -- was first included merely as "a simple mistake." Their plan -- the one "making it more generous to financial institutions and more costly for taxpayers" -- as McCain's staff insisted to the Politico's likely incredulous Mike Allen, "was always meant that way."
So let us do get this straight. As this dumbest of mindbending dramas turns out, the McCain camp had actually stumbled on something intelligent, which it only mistakenly included in its plan's original description, which it then promptly and proudly redacted, saying the first but incorrect version -- the intelligent version -- was a "mistake."
In tracking the exotically gruesome vicissitudes of the McCain campaign, we can only conclude we've indeed entered Rod Serling territory. Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.
They're no longer citizens of the real, political world. They are, instead, otherworldly cryptofreaks methodically stripping off their freakish masks. They're neither Republican nor conservative, neither populist nor passable demagogue.
At their heartland Nürnberg rallies (and I am not prone to such severe metaphors), where they incite chants for the murder of their fellow citizens, they're already unmasked. But even in the quiet of their proposal-plotting strategy room they catch egregious mistakes of accidental thoughtfulness and lunge for their instant reversal. Unmasked, and unhinged.
If this gaggle of lunacy comes in from the Zone on November 4 with any more than token, ultrapartisan support, it'll be a lasting disgrace to, and permanent stain on the name of, whatever's left of American democracy.