Daily Archives: October 8, 2008

Gideon Rachman

I think that was a draw.

But watching these Obama-McCain debates, I keep find myself having to make two judgements. First, what do I personally think of what the candidates are saying? And second, what do I think the voters might think?

 On the substance, I think the only new thing that we learned was McCain’s proposal that the US government step in and buy all bad home loans and renegotiate them on more favourable conditions. This is such a large proposal with such mind-boggling implications that I find it difficult to get my head around it, at this early hour of the morning. But a couple of questions strike me, initially. First, how is this compatible with his proposal to freeze government spending? Second, what if the value of somebody’s house has fallen – which would be true for almost all homeowners in the US – but their mortgage is not ruinous enough to qualify for this government programme? Wouldn’t somebody like that be fairly irritated to see the government riding to the rescue of neighbours – who had made particularly reckless financial decisions?

Still, at this juncture, the key question is not whether McCain’s proposal makes sense – but whether it appeals to voters? Read more