Bob Novak, the highly distinguished veteran columnist and author, told the American Spectator New York dinner group last night that John McCain will defeat Barack Obama in November’s election, although the Democrats will enhance their majorities in both the Senate and the House. Novak, who has covered elections for fifty years, speculated that McCain will pick former Ohio congressman Rob Portman (who also was President Bush’s special trade representative and OMB director) as his running mate, while Obama could choose former Sen. Sam Nunn as his.
On Portman, Novak said he’s young, will pass the conservative spell check, and can stand up in a debate. Our speaker also told us that the GOP has stumbled into the exact right candidate this year in McCain. Regarding McCain’s tax-cut proposals, Novak thinks they are real, and that cutting the corporate tax rate, as McCain has proposed, should be much more important to observers than the candidate’s occasional corporate and Wall Street bashing.
Novak also believes Obama’s gaffes about bitter small-town people who cling to guns and religion will be an absolute killer in the general election. So will the Jeremiah Wright business, and more generally Obama’s extreme, across-the-board, liberal-left positions.
The veteran journalist also responded emphatically to a question about media- and investment-driven pessimism that seems to permeate the airwaves today. He noted how much better off this country is today compared to the 1930s and 1970s. He observed that the Reagan supply-side revolution has created a vastly better economy than anything he has ever seen in his lifetime. Slowdowns come and go, but the underlying economy is strong.
It was a bravura performance from someone who has been a friend and mentor to me for three decades. Wonderful to see.