Election Reflections

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 13:11:40 +0000

I mentioned yesterday that I voted for Senator McCain, not Senator Obama. If I could have split my vote, I would have given about 60% to McCain and 40% to Obama. I suspect that might wife would switch the percentages, and so between her vote for Obama and mine for McCain, the Samwick family's centrist tendencies were reflected pretty well.

My vote was determined more by my self-identication as a conservative than my professional training as an economist. As a matter of principle, I never signed on to one of those "Economists for McCain" petitions despite a number of requests. It was McCain's failure to get serious about the budget deficit and other matters relevant for a fiscal conservative that limit the disappointment about the way the election turned out. That disappointment comes from my concerns about judicial nominations, free trade, and keeping the government's interference in the economy to a minimum in an Obama administration.

Like most people, I draw some inspiration from President-elect Obama's rise to prominence, and I was pleased to meet him over the past 18 months as the candidates came through town. I was thinking last evening about the way I ended my first blog post about his candidacy, just over two years ago:

So my advice to Obama would be to make a spirited campaign in 2008, talking about big issues and running it squeaky clean. If it works in the primaries, keep it up. If it doesn't, settle for VP nominee in 2008 if that's offered (hard to imagine it wouldn't be). If that doesn't work out, he can get back in the game in 2012 or 2016, but it's not clear he would be in any better shape, just a longer serving Senator. The lesson from history would be to challenge for the governorship of Illinois in 2010 rather than another term in the Senate.

It seems quaint today.