3) General Motors and Chrysler wouldn't be government owned: McCain advocated bankruptcy for Chrysler and GM. He also took a dim view of the government buy-in to the company and Obama's meddling to help the unions. While McCain would have likely succumbed to the pressure to help both companies in some form, it's doubtful that the taxpayers would have been on the hook for tens of billions, become part owners in both companies, and that the unions would have ended up as majority stakeholders in Chrysler had McCain been President.
4) Cap and Trade would be more likely to pass: The Cap and Trade bill that passed the House is, at least for the moment, not making any headway in the Senate. Although it's possible it will eventually pass, the odds are against it. The same couldn't have been said had John McCain been President.
Although McCain has criticized Obama's Cap and Trade plan, he had his own plan during the campaign and it seems likely that he could have worked with the Democrats to craft a bill that he found acceptable. Furthermore, President John McCain could have undoubtedly persuaded at least a dozen Republicans in the Senate to vote for the legislation. That means Cap and Trade would have been much more likely to pass under McCain than Obama.
5) Say "hello" to amnesty: The Democrats are understandably terrified of pushing amnesty during a recession with Obama's approval numbers already plummeting. That's why an amnesty bill probably won't be seriously considered until 2011 at the earliest.
Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that John McCain shares the Democrats' fear despite the fact that his soft-on-illegal-immigration stance aggravated conservatives and led to his collecting, by some accounts, only 1% more of the Hispanic vote than Republicans collected back in 2006. In an environment where McCain couldn't get any legislation passed without plenty of Democratic support, amnesty AKA Comprehensive Immigration Reform would have been on the agenda and would have had a decent shot of passing, if only so that McCain could say that he "did something."
6) Socialized medicine probably wouldn't be on the agenda: Despite the Democrats' attempts to tie socialized medicine to the recession, it's being pushed right now because it has long been one of the highest priorities on the Democratic wish list and if not now, then when?
McCain did have some good ideas about improving health care, but they would have gone nowhere in a Democratic Congress and he would have vetoed a socialized medicine bill. That means that "McCainCare" would have probably never been on the agenda.
7) You'd be talking Republicans down off of ledges today: After the last four years of Bush, having another Republican President who paid little attention to the grassroots would have been incredibly demoralizing. Moreover, if the President were moderate, the Republicans in Congress, who have improved their performance considerably since Obama came into office, would be tacking to the middle, instead of the Right, in order to support the President. That's part of what killed the Republican brand under Bush and the problem would have certainly continued under McCain. So, instead of seeing increasing energy on the Right, tea parties, and conservatives starting to get fired up, the Right would probably be descending into complete despair as we would seem to keep winning elections, but continuing to lose on issues we care about in Congress.
Obviously, those wouldn't be the only changes. If McCain were President, this country would be supporting democracy in Honduras today, instead of opposing it. Gitmo would still be closing, but it wouldn't be on an unreachable timetable. McCain's administration also wouldn't be threatening to engage politically motivated prosecutions of their predecessors, accusing cops of racial profiling without knowing the facts, or hiring tax cheats to run the Treasury Department. Of course, Sarah Palin also wouldn't be the governor of Alaska and...oh, wait, maybe that's not the best example.
Long story short, it wouldn't be all bad and without question, McCain would certainly have been an improvement over the guy in the White House today, who seems to believe being president mainly consists of giving campaign speeches, catering to dictators, and playing golf. Still, when you take a hard look at it, it's remarkable how much of a mixed bag a McCain presidency would have been for conservatives. Perhaps that's at the core of the Republican Party's problem: even when Republicans win, their supporters still end up losing on so many of the issues they care deeply about.
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