10/26/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The Bailout and the War

The man-on-the-street (as opposed to Washington elite) conventional wisdom is pretty clear: Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay $700 billion for a no-strings-attached plan to bail out people who got themselves into a disastrous mess through their own damn fault -- people who should have known that everything was bound to head south, but stuck their heads in the sand and carried on with their own inept, misguided, poorly judged plans.

Speaking of which, the Iraq war has already cost taxpayers about $700 billion and is likely to end up costing us anywhere from $1 to $4 trillion.

Assuming there is a foreign policy debate on Saturday, Obama should take the opportunity to draw connections between the mismanagement of the war and the economy. Forget apple pies, if we hadn't gone to war, we could have gotten the bailout free and had some left over for a party. With apple pies!

Jokes aside, Americans have been thinking a lot this week about what $700 billion could buy, including college educations for 5.4 million people and social security benefits for all Americans with $120 billion to spare. McCain wants to continue the war indefinitely. Now more than ever, Obama should make financing it part of the calculus.