John McCain Gets a Dunce Cap

So now John McCain is attacking Barack Obama for not offering enough policy specifics in his campaign. As Jonathan Chait mentions, this is laughable given that McCain himself admits that he knows nothing about economic policy and that his entire campaign is tantamount to, “vote for me–I was a POW.”

Perhaps the snarkier response is simply to say, “Senator McCain, you may be too old to realize this, but there’s a thing called the internet. Barack Obama has a website with all of his policy proposals, and maybe you can get some of your younger staffers to read it for you and tell you what’s in it.”

But most substantively, just compare Obama’s and McCain’s websites for substance. Take environmental policy, something about which I and my co-bloggers know somethings about. It’s not even close: McCain has a few paragraphs of cliched boilerplate and a video. Obama has a series of very specific proposals followed up with two relatively comprehensive PDFs on both energy policy and the environment–which are closely linked (as Obama seems to recognize and McCain doesn’t). McCain actually has nothing on energy.

So maybe the best overall response to the senior Senator from Arizona is to shut his damned mouth and do his homework.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.