Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Day Late, A Few Billion Short

Senator John McCain today proposed a $52.5 billion dollar economic plan that is a day late and billions of dollars short of his opponent's proposal. McCain did so while campaigning in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. His proposal would cut the capital gains tax, eliminate taxes on unemployment benefits and lower the tax rates on Individual Retirement Accounts. McCain also warned his audience to be wary of Senator Barack Obama because he has voted for tax increases "his entire career."

Yet McCain's proposal is smaller and less sweeping than Obama's, which he unveiled yesterday. "The one word that is on everyone's mind is J-O-B-S," Obama said in his announcement in hotly contested Ohio, which has been economically hard hit. Targeting the middle class, Obama's plan includes a $3,000 tax cut for businesses who hire additional employees, tax cuts for households making less that $250,000 a year, reduced penalties for borrowing from a 401K retirement account, and a 90 day moratorium on most home foreclosures. It appears that Obama has again trumped McCain on the economy.

As with throughout the recent economic crisis, Obama has shown strength, leadership and calm. McCain has appeared out of sync and flappable. He suspended his campaign yet campaigned. He tried to get credit for a bailout plan that he at the same time discredited. He even cancelled an appearance on David Letterman only to be caught in a little white lie. The McCain campaign has misused Governor Sarah Palin almost from the start. She has become a charming and charismatic pit bull with lipstick. Handlers crammed the former sportscaster with more stats than she has ever seen in her entire life both as a mayor and Governor. And, until recently, both McCain and Palin have stirred up the most hateful rhetoric directed to Senator Obama.

Senator McCain has lost his already precarious footing within his own party, especially those on the far right, whose frustration is growing loud and vocal. No wonder, McCain has ping-ponged from one strategy to another--experience, maverick, bipartisan, POW, American hero, reformer, tax cutter, "Surge" supporter, foreign policy expert and veteran. So Senator McCain finds himself falling way behind in the national polls as well as in thosefrom the many states President George Bush carried last election. And McCain's negatives are at an all time high across the board reflecting the tone of his campaign. Yet now McCain has Obama right where he wants him!

The truth is Senator McCain still has a real chance. If the stock market can drop 18% in one week, anything can happen. Some in the electorate remain uncertain about Senator Barack Obama. And, while more and more undecided voters are getting used to the idea of an Obama presidency, a major international incident, or an Obama gaffe, could change the current trajectory of the campaign.

Moderator Bob Schieffer: "Senator McCain, you have two minutes for your opening remarks"

Senator John McCain: " Thank you, Bob. Friends, I open with a question for Senator Obama. What's the deal with your pal, terrorist Bill Ayers? And can you go over that Reverend Wright thing one more time for the folks out there--this time in detail?"

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