MCCAIN’S NEO-HOOVERITE TENDENCIES…. It’s hard to guess which of John McCain’s personas is going to emerge at any given time, but apparently, when dealing with economic policy, we’re still dealing with ’08 Candidate McCain.

Sen. John McCain enlists the help of online supporters through his political action committee, Country First. The former Republican presidential nominee tapped into his campaign lists Tuesday, asking supporters to sign a petition in protest of the economic stimulus package.

“I cannot and do not support the package on the table from the Democrats and the Obama Administration. Our country does not need just another spending bill, particularly not one that will load future generations with the burden of massive debt. We need a short term stimulus bill that will directly help people, create jobs, and provide a jolt to our economy,” McCain says in the e-mail. “I hope you will join me in saying no to this stimulus package as it currently exists by signing this petition.”

Let’s unpack this a bit. First, in the midst of an economic crisis that McCain has never understood, he believes it’s a good time to exploit a recession and an economic rescue package to raise campaign money and collect email addresses. “Country First”? Not so much.

Second, by decrying “another spending bill” as a poor solution, McCain has joined the ranks of Republicans embracing neo-Hooverism.

Third, McCain’s fundraising pitch goes on to lament the notion of “partisanship driving our attempts to turn the economy around.” Seriously.

And fourth, what does McCain recommend as an alternative? At the top of his list is “payroll tax cuts.”

Just the other day, Atrios argued that political observers should just ignore McCain: “The dude lost Indiana. No one cares what he thinks.”

I agree, but major news outlets don’t. So, when McCain takes a ridiculous position like this one, it’s considered an important development, whether his argument is coherent or not.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.