Now that we’ve become a socialist country (strike that–an 80% socialist country) under George Bush and now that McCain himself is channeling Herbert Hoover, the McCain campaign has a surrogate problem.

They’re actually fairly lucky–Phil Gramm, the architect of this year’s economic meltdown, had already gotten hidden away somewhere after he called us all a nation of "whiners." Had he still be out campaigning for McCain, it’d have made it a lot easier for us to explain how electing McCain (and putting Phil Gramm in charge of Treasury) would only exacerbate our economic crisis, since Gramm’s the guy who caused it in the first place.

But then yesterday, McCain’s top domestic advisor, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, claimed that John McCain had invented the blackberry. Holtz-Eakin is still out there boasting of McCain’s great accomplishments, but his credibility has declined from that of a carnival huckster to that of a clown.

On the same day, Carly Fiorina stepped in it too. She already was a terrible surrogate to talk about the economy. After all, she failed as CEO of HP. More importantly, one of the McCain campaign’s responses to this economic meltdown is to attack CEOs–like Fiorina–who devastate their company but still get multi-million dollar golden parachutes.

But things got worse yesterday. Fiorina–who after McCain spotlighted in an attempt to have a woman, any woman, defending Sarah Palin’s qualifications to be Veep–trotted out and asserted that Palin is not qualified to run a corporation. And for that matter, John McCain isn’t either. Somehow that comment, not Fiorina’s qualifications as a poster child for wasteful golden parachutes, was enough for the McCain campaign to start canceling Fiorina’s speaking engagements. 

McCain might have any of the number of highly-connected 170-odd Republicans running his campaign. Then again, seeing as how Obama’s making effective ads pointing out that McCain’s campaign is being run by the same special interests McCain claims he’ll take on, that doesn’t help McCain either. 

So who’s that leave? I understand Mitt Romney was out touting McCain’s ability on the economy last night. But given that Mitt agrees with the rest of the world that McCain is a pathological liar, Mitt isn’t the best surrogate for McCain either.

I gotta say, it’s a testament to how bad this economic crisis is when you’ve got a Republican candidate for President who can’t find an appropriate economic surrogate.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.