Inertia coupling is a phenomenon of high-speed flight in which aircraft control input in one direction leads to unexpected movement in another direction.
I wonder if his current popularity is in part a function of Obama’s rise in the Iowa caucuses.
I think McCain is a lousy Republican candidate: sponsor of a terrible campaign-finance law, bad on immigration, an unprincipled flip-flopper on important issues such as taxes, with a history of self-serving political maneuvering at the expense of his own Party. Compared to McCain, Hillary Clinton — a crook and, I think, a socialist at heart — seems stable. She appears to offer the possibility that she would do the right thing on taxes, spending and national defense if it were politically advantageous. Thus she becomes almost an acceptable choice for center-right voters if the Republican candidate is as flawed as McCain is.
But if Obama rather than Clinton is the Democratic nominee, McCain becomes more attractive to Republicans, because Obama is weak on national defense and looks like the kind of pol who, if elected President, would stick to failed ’60s liberalism in domestic policy out of principle. National defense is the most important issue to many Republicans, and McCain is pretty good on it, so he starts to look better if the election becomes a choice of lousy foreign and domestic policies vs. possibly-lousy domestic policy and probably-OK foreign and defense policies.
(I’m not arguing that Giuliani looks worse after Iowa. He doesn’t. It’s just that McCain now looks less bad. And if Clinton isn’t the Democratic nominee, it may be that Giuliani loses some of his relative advantage as a New Yorker who can compete effectively for some of her home-state votes.)
I think Hillary Clinton would be a lousy President but I could be wrong. But Obama might be even worse. Of the Republicans, I think Giuliani would be better than McCain. The stock market, and particularly the tax-sensitive tech sector, got drilled today, and Intrade’s contract on the odds for an economic recession in 2008 popped above 50% again. Some of today’s bad market news is certainly related to this morning’s unemployment report. However, my guess is that some of the negative market behavior is a function of the Iowa results, which improved the electoral odds of the candidates who are most likely to support bad economic policies.
Related: Obama, the Election and the Economy