To me, the only takeaway is this: As godawful as Barack Obama has been and will continue to be, it is very difficult to feel it is some great loss that these people [in the McCain campaign] didn’t get a chance to help run the country. ~Jim Antle

It is all the more difficult to feel any loss when one realizes that on policy a McCain administration would have been no less “godawful” in many important ways, and would clearly have been much, much worse on foreign policy. Pretty much everyone on the right is justifiably horrified by Waxman-Markey, but I would hasten to remind people that McCain was on board with cap-and-trade, and he would have been happy to roll over for almost any domestic legislation that the Congress sent him. As ever, McCain came to this position through his usual process of discerning that the side of the debate that would earn him more glowing media coverage as an “independent-minded maverick,” and the one that would hack off most Republicans while raising his profile as the “reasonable” Republican.

Given that he had no idea that cap-and trade involved mandatory caps, it certainly wasn’t because of any extensive or deep understanding of the relevant issues, but then his obnoxious moral posturing on issues never is informed by such understanding. How better to demonstrate his willingness to “reach across the aisle” than to endorse the most awful sort of legislation that would satisfy people in the other party and outrage his fellow partisans? He has done it several times before from immigration to campaign finance reform, and had he been President he would have been so preoccupied with dragging us into ever-worsening relations with Russia, Iran and any other country he could think of that he would have signed off on almost anything that came across his desk. Meanwhile, McCain’s ridiculous, circus-like entourage would fill up the papers and blogs every day with leak and counter-leak as each aide maneuvered for position around McCain in between attempts to exclude the Vice President from any and all decisions. So we could have had staggering levels of additional debt, government collusion with financial interests, destructive environmental policy, even icier relations with much of the rest of the world and an even more dysfunctional, mediocre crew steering the ship of state. Whenever I begin to get a bit down, I think of what could have been and thank God we have been spared the nightmare of President McCain.