McCain: Greedy people should be punished

The senator from Arizona explains to the folks at the National Review why the GOP is losing fans in Pensacola, Fla.

Published January 31, 2008 4:40PM (EST)

When the Wall Street Journal reports that Republicans are in danger of losing support in the Florida Panhandle, you know trouble is brewing for the GOP. How the World Works spent its high school years in northern Florida, and the Panhandle is as rock-ribbed a slice of conservative deep South as you will find in either adjoining Alabama or Mississippi.

"A toxic brew of economic anxiety, a deepening housing slump, skyrocketing home insurance, strained schools and the lingering effects of recent hurricanes have spawned a gloomy mood in Florida," writes the Journal's Corey Dade.

But do Republican opinion-makers understand this? Watching the bloggers at the National Review's "The Corner" during Wednesday's Republican debate, you couldn't ignore the feeling that the right-wing elite simply don't understand the mess they're in, or why Sen. John McCain has been winning primaries.

Witness one representative comment:

Yeah, Senator, That's the Problem [Andy McCarthy]

McCain: "There are some greedy people on Wall Street who need to be punished."

Is he our guy, or what?

Trust me, the sarcasm there is so thick you couldn't push through it in a turbo-powered Humvee.

For the despairing folks at the National Review, McCain's threat to punish the greedy is proof of his GOP-values-betraying pro-big government proclivities. But to anyone paying attention to what's going on in the United States at the moment, it might just seem like exactly the message voters want to hear.

And it's not even pandering! It's the truth. And if McCain keeps it up, he's going to be a formidable opponent for whoever the Democrats nominate.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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2008 Elections Globalization How The World Works National Review U.s. Economy