The Republican base may have brought George W. Bush two presidential victories. This time, pandering to it may be the downfall of John McCain
Two standout moments in the McCain campaign have graphically illustrated the delusional ideology that has helped put the US on the brink of economic collapse.
The first was back in September when Joe Biden made the seemingly self evident statement that paying tax was patriotic. The comment was seized upon by the McCain Palin team as they rallied their flag waving base, to symbolise the supposed dangers of an Obama presidency.
At those same rallies, McCain talked of his plans to freeze government spending except in the "valid" areas of expanded government - defense, security and veteran's entitlements. He failed to connect the simple fact that it is tax that pays for these programmes.
McCain plays to a US nationalism that waves the flag but doesn't pay its way - much the same nationalism of the Bush years.
More recently, the McCain campaign has been referencing Obama's comments to Joe the plumber "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody". Obama made this seemingly self evident comment in the context of a conversation where he argued for reducing taxes on low and middle class incomes (less than 250K US). Yet once again, the mainly Christian Right Republican base, is horrified at the prospect of sharing some of the enormous wealth concentrated in hands of a few with the wider American population.
This comment has been the inspiration for the psychotic screams "socialism" "it's socialism John" that have peppered the increasingly rabid McCain - Palin outings.
The United States, like every country in the developed world, has a progressive tax system that by definition "spreads the wealth around". Indeed, Adam Smith, one of the ideological fathers of capitalism enshrined the concept of progressive tax in his work.
It's just that the US does a worse job of spreading the wealth around than most developed countries which is why its health and education systems as well as its national infrastructure perform poorly by OECD standards for most of its population.
That these two points have become iconic for McCain, shows his desperation to mobilise the Republican base at a time when its policy bankruptcy has left the country on the brink of ruin - and plenty of Americans can see that now.
He deserves to be punished at the polls for that. Let's see if he is.