As the Iraqi government wants us to set “timetables and milestones” to use a McCain phrase, it is becoming more and more clear that this election will once again become “It’s the economy, stupid!”

And if that is the case, John McCain has already stacked the deck against himself quite nicely.

I can start with the obvious, which is the various times that Johnny Mac has bumbled, waffled and plain old looked silly when questioned about the economy.

But there is one specific quote in that old Romney ad I linked above that merits closer examination. It’s McCain’s response to Ron Paul’s question regarding the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets that exposes how really clueless he is when it comes to fiscal matters:

But I as president, as every other president, rely primarily on my secretary of the Treasury, on my Council of Economic Advisers, on the head of that. I would rely on the circle that I have developed over many years of people like Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm, Warren Rudman, Pete Peterson and the Concord group. I have a process of leadership, Ron, that is sort of an inclusive one that I have developed, a circle of acquaintances and people that are supporters and friends of mine who I have worked with for many, many years.

As Andrew Ferguson pointed out when this quote was first made in February, the only thing that many of the folks in McCain’s “circle” have in common is that they know John McCain:

Notice that phrase “people like.” What makes it odd is that those people aren’t like each other at all, at least when it comes to their economic views. A couple of them, if you put them in the same room, would set off an intergalactic explosion like the collision of matter and antimatter.

Well, the bad(?) news is that after last week, McCain won’t be trotting Phil Gramm out much anymore, so that’s one less ego in the circle for him to check. The best line had to be when asked about Gramm’s potential role in a McCain administration, he responded – “I think Senator Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I’m not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that.”


So now McCain has jettisoned his top economic advisor, let’s take a look at his recently released “Jobs for America” economic plan, shall we?

Diane Lim Rogers aka Economistmom has some great analysis of the plan, and what makes it even better, is that Rogers works for the Concord Coalition, which McCain lists as part of his “circle” of economic advisers.

Maybe it’s time to talk to your circle a wee bit more ofter Senator!