Maybe I was right all along -- maybe, in a way, the Republicans really did nominate Rudy Giuliani:
Fortune magazine has parallel interviews about the economy with John McCain and Barack Obama in the current issue, and the PR email they sent me highlights their answers to this question:
What do you see as the gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy?
...McCain: Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we're in against Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences.
It's as if McCain is trying to become a parody of himself here. Is his answer to every question "Islamic extremism"? ...
A noun and verb, and 9/11? Yes, indeed.
The exasperated reaction above comes from Kevin Drum. He goes on to say:
And while Fortune's readership undoubtedly skews conservative, does McCain really think they're going to buy this?
I don't know, but the Fortune editor who wrote up the interview seems to buy it. The emphasis below is mine:
...[McCain] starts by deftly turning the economy into a national security issue -- and why not? On national security McCain wins. We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy - this according to McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an "unfortunate event," says Black. "But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us." As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. "Certainly it would be a big advantage to him," says Black.
And before economics is actually discussed, the Fortune piece gives us a couple of blasts of utterly gratuitous testosterone, for which I'm sure the McCain camp is quite grateful:
...We didn't have to spend a lot of time with McCain on the campaign trail to discover what really gets his mojo working. Let's just say it's not his plan to reform the unemployment-insurance system. There he was at an airport rally in Stockton, Calif., shouting out to his loyal pals in the Rolling Thunder veterans group who had parked their Harleys behind the stage: "Go ahead and start your engines for a second! Go right ahead!" And earlier that week in Chicago, addressing the other NRA -- the National Restaurant Association -- departing from his prepared remarks to accuse Obama of making light of the threat posed by Iran's leadership. "They are the chief sponsors of Shiah extremists in Iraq," he decried, his voice rising, "and their President has called Israel" -- and here he paused for one beat -- "a stinking corpse!"
On such occasions McCain conveys passion, commitment to a cause, a sure sense of who he is and why he's running for President, and above all a strong connection to his audience....
After that, who cares about the damn recession? Let's chest-bump! Whoo - whoo - whoo!