MCCAIN’S READY TO FIGURE OUT HIS ECONOMIC PRINCIPLES…. Funny, most politicians with national ambitions come up with an economic agenda and then run for president. John McCain has apparently decided to try the opposite.

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.”

Does a politician who’s never been right about anything related to the economy — indeed, someone who has publicly acknowledged, more than once, he doesn’t really understand economic policy — really need to pursue a project like this?

McCain had his chance to present his “principles.” It was called the 2008 presidential election. He explained his belief that the fundamentals of the economy are strong, he called for a truly insane spending freeze, he prioritized deficit reduction over economic growth, and he told voters there should be “NO TAX INCREASES.” McCain proceeded to lose by 9.5 million votes. Maybe now he should enjoy a little quiet time.

Digby added, “I get the feeling that McCain is stung by the fact that everyone in the world knows he’s an economic moron. Unfortunately for the Republicans, every time he opens his mouth on the subject he reminds everyone in the country just how close they came to electing someone who doesn’t even know how many houses he owns, much less how to fix the thorniest economic problem in modern memory. Bring it on St John. Get out front on the economy. It only helps the ball team.”

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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.