Sen. John McCain is putting together a major economic plan that will be structured, in some ways, off of Newt Gingrich's famous Contract With America.
In an email obtained by the Huffington Post, the Arizona Republican's chief of staff, Marc Buse, asked an outside adviser for help with a "ten principles" program that the senator could use as a "definitive" platform.
"We are looking for some guidance on a definitive plan (aka contract with america style) on the economy...principles," writes Buse. "Ten principles that JSM could point to on what MUST BE DONE to address the problems our nation faces."
Buse doesn't offer specific suggestions of his own, save "NO TAX INCREASES."
The email is interesting for a variety of reasons. Most obviously, it advances the notion that McCain is eager to remain a key national political figure and Republican Party leader. The Senator has, at times, been an ally of the current White House. But on economic matters (the stimulus and omnibus first and foremost), he has vocally opposed the Obama agenda.
The fact that he is going outside the Senate office for advice on a "definitive plan" modeled off of Gingrich's work suggests McCain is laying the groundwork for more comprehensive opposition. Gingrich and his Republican colleagues famously introduced their blueprint for a GOP renaissance six weeks before the 1994 midterm elections.
Whether McCain is hoping to spearhead a reenactment of the '94 effort in 2010 or simply put together new policies for the changed economic landscape was not detailed in Buse's note. An email to the chief of staff and a spokesperson asking for clarification went un-returned.