Peter Suderman (writing at the other TAS) notes McCain’s confusion over his own cap-and-trade policy, which is hardly surprising, since the great foreign policy “expert” has also shown that he thinks Iran is in cahoots with Al Qaeda and the great immigration policy reformer has often demonstrated an impressive lack of knowledge on the details of immigration policy and of the comprehensive “reform” legislation itself.  McCain has gained his reputation for expertise in various policy areas by adopting a sanctimonious, moralising tone after striking whichever pose on them will fit the crafted persona of the outspoken truth-telling “reformer.”  The blunder on cap-and-trade is typical of someone who thinks that policy positions are symbols for expressing his attitude about a particular subject: he supports cap-and-trade because he thinks it will show that he, like his hero Teddy Roosevelt, “cares” about the environment, but he doesn’t care enough to familiarise himself with the relevant details of what the legislation would actually do.  But the details aren’t relevant to him and he may think they shouldn’t be relevant to you–it is what his support for the measure expresses about John McCain that matters. 

As I’ve noted before, McCain has to hope that policy knowledge is not a prerequisite to becoming President (Mr. Bush’s election suggests that it is not), because compared to Obama it is he who will be playing the part of the confused naif.