Commentary Magazine


Posts For: November 1, 2008

One Last Hit?

This FOX news report gets to the ongoing problem for Barack Obama — maintaining the notion that he intends to hike taxes only on the “rich.” This 2003 interview suggests Obama believes the cut off  on income for tax cuts should be much, much lower — “50, 60, 70 thousand dollars” than even the newly revised Bill Richardson number of $120,000. Well, has Obama simply changed his mind? Or was his underlying agenda revealed at a time he wasn’t confronting the “spread the wealth” problem?

It is unclear because both the MSM and the McCain “oppo” research has been so utterly deficient in bringing to light, until the eleventh hour, any persuasive information that might contradict Obama’s newly moderated agenda. It would have been nice to have that little nugget at the debate, or for a few weeks of ads. Some daring reporter might even have brought it up during one of those hard-hitting interviews. Well, if there had been any such interviews, I’m sure this would have been an item.

This FOX news report gets to the ongoing problem for Barack Obama — maintaining the notion that he intends to hike taxes only on the “rich.” This 2003 interview suggests Obama believes the cut off  on income for tax cuts should be much, much lower — “50, 60, 70 thousand dollars” than even the newly revised Bill Richardson number of $120,000. Well, has Obama simply changed his mind? Or was his underlying agenda revealed at a time he wasn’t confronting the “spread the wealth” problem?

It is unclear because both the MSM and the McCain “oppo” research has been so utterly deficient in bringing to light, until the eleventh hour, any persuasive information that might contradict Obama’s newly moderated agenda. It would have been nice to have that little nugget at the debate, or for a few weeks of ads. Some daring reporter might even have brought it up during one of those hard-hitting interviews. Well, if there had been any such interviews, I’m sure this would have been an item.

Read Less

Palin Sums It Up

On Friday, Greta Van Susteren asked Sarah Palin for the best reason to vote against Barack Obama. Palin said, she “can’t ratchet is down to one,” but then gave a cogent critique of  Obama’s economic vision:

I believe they are going to put this nation on a course that will erode the work ethic and the entrepreneurial spirit that has grown this country into the greatest country on earth. Because their idea of taking more from our families and more for government from our small businesses will kill job creation opportunities and it will kill that idea that you will be rewarded for your hard work ethic. Unfortunately that kills opportunity, too. for us to be generous and compassionate with our fellow Americans. The Democrats, it seems, on this ticket anyway, led by Barack Obama, seem to want government to mandate that we be generous and compassionate with one another via spreading the wealth. That is not the American way. We don’t need to go down that road. John McCain has a better idea that’s spreading opportunity by allowing our businesses to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they could hire more people, grow the economy that way, provide more for their employees . . .

On national security, she dubbed McCain the better choice “hands down,” citing his role in supporting the surge. She also threw this sharp elbow: “He is not one to invite this international crisis that Joe Biden is promising will happen if Barack Obama is elected.”

That’s the case in a nutshell for McCain. Someday, we will get to the bottom of the nefarious plot to keep the ticket’s most effective and engaging spokesperson under wraps. One wonders where the race would have been had she been doing this over and over again since September –or frankly, if John McCain had been this articulate on his own behalf in the debates.

On Friday, Greta Van Susteren asked Sarah Palin for the best reason to vote against Barack Obama. Palin said, she “can’t ratchet is down to one,” but then gave a cogent critique of  Obama’s economic vision:

I believe they are going to put this nation on a course that will erode the work ethic and the entrepreneurial spirit that has grown this country into the greatest country on earth. Because their idea of taking more from our families and more for government from our small businesses will kill job creation opportunities and it will kill that idea that you will be rewarded for your hard work ethic. Unfortunately that kills opportunity, too. for us to be generous and compassionate with our fellow Americans. The Democrats, it seems, on this ticket anyway, led by Barack Obama, seem to want government to mandate that we be generous and compassionate with one another via spreading the wealth. That is not the American way. We don’t need to go down that road. John McCain has a better idea that’s spreading opportunity by allowing our businesses to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they could hire more people, grow the economy that way, provide more for their employees . . .

On national security, she dubbed McCain the better choice “hands down,” citing his role in supporting the surge. She also threw this sharp elbow: “He is not one to invite this international crisis that Joe Biden is promising will happen if Barack Obama is elected.”

That’s the case in a nutshell for McCain. Someday, we will get to the bottom of the nefarious plot to keep the ticket’s most effective and engaging spokesperson under wraps. One wonders where the race would have been had she been doing this over and over again since September –or frankly, if John McCain had been this articulate on his own behalf in the debates.

Read Less

Which Jews Are Serious About Israel?

About a week ago, explaining why Jews will vote for Obama (I covered similar ground here), I cited a scholarly study involving Prof. Steven Cohen. Cohen has collaborated with Samuel Abrams of Harvard on a new study named “The Diminished Place of Israel in the Political Thinking of Young Jews,” and the results are interesting: Cohen and Abrams have determined that American Jews who vote are thinking less about Israel these days.

This is not the first time Cohen has made this assertion. About a year ago, Cohen Ari Kelman found that “less than half of such Jews who are 35 and under believe that Israel’s destruction would constitute a personal tragedy for them.”

With the new study, the picture becomes even clearer:

Jews 65+ are almost twice as likely to rate the Israel-Palestine conflict as a major consideration in their vote for President as are Jews their children’s age, those 21-34. Jews 35-64, report levels of concern about Israel intermediate between their younger and older counterparts.

Among those 65 and over, 54% rate “high” or “very high” the Israel-Palestine conflict as a consideration in determining their vote for Obama or McCain. This figure comes in contrast with far lower levels among younger non-Orthodox Jews: 39% among those 35-54, and just 29% among those under 35.

The answers in to survey questions showed that young Orthodox Jews were the only ones thought of Israel as a priority. The others groups still saw their Jewishness as important (similarly to the older generation), they just didn’t think it had much to do with Israel: “Diminished concern with Israel in the election does NOT reflect diminished importance attached to being Jewish.”

The implications for Israel’s support among American Jewry are profound. Absent any significant change in current trends, Orthodox Jews will come to play a more significant role as political advocates for Israel in the United States. Their numbers will increase as will the number of Orthodox Jews who move to Israel, further cementing the ties of Orthodox family and friends with the Jewish State. At the same time, while the Orthodox population is likely to grow over time, the non-Orthodox population may well decline once the Baby Boom generation passes from the scene.

Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews differ dramatically not only in their levels of relative concern for Israel, but also in terms of their political stances in American life, and their approaches to the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians. The Orthodox are significantly more identified with conservative politics and the Republican Party and take a commensurately more “hawkish” posture on Israel’s search for peace and security. If these tendencies continue, and the growth of Orthodoxy as a share of the pro-Israel Jewish constituency in the United States unfolds, the posture and politics of that constituency will change in predictable directions.

Of course, such developments will help the new dovish “pro-Israel Jewish lobbies” argue that the mainstream lobbies (namely AIPAC) have become more hawkish and can’t be trusted when it comes to representation of the American Jewish community. However, this is a double edged sword: If the “other” Jews – those less hawkish – will not care as much, the political clout of any dovish organization who might deal with issues related to Israel will diminish.

Two years ago, in a piece questioning the commitment of the dovish J Street, I wrote:

In any case, this initiative also has a positive aspect, which must be recognized by those who do not support the political ground it lies on: Many American Jews who cannot identify with the existing pro-Israeli bodies have chosen to give up, disengage and alienate themselves. A new lobby, reflecting their worldview, would provide them with a convenient channel to express their sympathy for Israel. This is assuming, of course, that they are ready for the commitment.

The question of such commitment remains. The new Cohen-Abrams study might bring us closer to an answer. And it is not the answer this dovish lobby – or any other dovish lobby – would like you to hear: no, they are not ready, because they just don’t care enough.

About a week ago, explaining why Jews will vote for Obama (I covered similar ground here), I cited a scholarly study involving Prof. Steven Cohen. Cohen has collaborated with Samuel Abrams of Harvard on a new study named “The Diminished Place of Israel in the Political Thinking of Young Jews,” and the results are interesting: Cohen and Abrams have determined that American Jews who vote are thinking less about Israel these days.

This is not the first time Cohen has made this assertion. About a year ago, Cohen Ari Kelman found that “less than half of such Jews who are 35 and under believe that Israel’s destruction would constitute a personal tragedy for them.”

With the new study, the picture becomes even clearer:

Jews 65+ are almost twice as likely to rate the Israel-Palestine conflict as a major consideration in their vote for President as are Jews their children’s age, those 21-34. Jews 35-64, report levels of concern about Israel intermediate between their younger and older counterparts.

Among those 65 and over, 54% rate “high” or “very high” the Israel-Palestine conflict as a consideration in determining their vote for Obama or McCain. This figure comes in contrast with far lower levels among younger non-Orthodox Jews: 39% among those 35-54, and just 29% among those under 35.

The answers in to survey questions showed that young Orthodox Jews were the only ones thought of Israel as a priority. The others groups still saw their Jewishness as important (similarly to the older generation), they just didn’t think it had much to do with Israel: “Diminished concern with Israel in the election does NOT reflect diminished importance attached to being Jewish.”

The implications for Israel’s support among American Jewry are profound. Absent any significant change in current trends, Orthodox Jews will come to play a more significant role as political advocates for Israel in the United States. Their numbers will increase as will the number of Orthodox Jews who move to Israel, further cementing the ties of Orthodox family and friends with the Jewish State. At the same time, while the Orthodox population is likely to grow over time, the non-Orthodox population may well decline once the Baby Boom generation passes from the scene.

Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews differ dramatically not only in their levels of relative concern for Israel, but also in terms of their political stances in American life, and their approaches to the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians. The Orthodox are significantly more identified with conservative politics and the Republican Party and take a commensurately more “hawkish” posture on Israel’s search for peace and security. If these tendencies continue, and the growth of Orthodoxy as a share of the pro-Israel Jewish constituency in the United States unfolds, the posture and politics of that constituency will change in predictable directions.

Of course, such developments will help the new dovish “pro-Israel Jewish lobbies” argue that the mainstream lobbies (namely AIPAC) have become more hawkish and can’t be trusted when it comes to representation of the American Jewish community. However, this is a double edged sword: If the “other” Jews – those less hawkish – will not care as much, the political clout of any dovish organization who might deal with issues related to Israel will diminish.

Two years ago, in a piece questioning the commitment of the dovish J Street, I wrote:

In any case, this initiative also has a positive aspect, which must be recognized by those who do not support the political ground it lies on: Many American Jews who cannot identify with the existing pro-Israeli bodies have chosen to give up, disengage and alienate themselves. A new lobby, reflecting their worldview, would provide them with a convenient channel to express their sympathy for Israel. This is assuming, of course, that they are ready for the commitment.

The question of such commitment remains. The new Cohen-Abrams study might bring us closer to an answer. And it is not the answer this dovish lobby – or any other dovish lobby – would like you to hear: no, they are not ready, because they just don’t care enough.

Read Less

The Candidate Who Cried Wolf

Poor Barack Obama has grown disenchanted with his opponent:

Barack Obama says he admired John McCain, the 2000 version. These days? Not so much.

Hours after McCain released an ad citing past praise from Obama, the Democratic nominee said Friday he respected the unsuccessful 2000 primary campaign McCain waged against then-Gov. George W. Bush. Obama noted the Arizona senator’s stand then against negative political attacks.

“I admired him for it,” Obama told a crowd of 25,000 in Des Moines.

“He said, ‘I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.’ Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent John McCain,” Obama said.

“But the high road didn’t lead him to the White House then, so this time he decided to take a different route,” which Obama assailed as “slash-and-burn, say-anything, do-anything politics.”

This race has, at times, swerved unnecessarily into the gutter. Remember the ad one candidate ran disingenuously linking his opponent to the race-baiting remarks of other people? Or one candidate’s claim that his opponent would play on the electorate’s baser instincts in order to scare voters away from the competition’s “otherness”? Or one candidate’s assertion that his opponent was disturbingly “losing his bearings”?

It would be hard to consistently admire a presidential hopeful who had engaged in any of the above. Yet, the fact that Barack Obama has done all three is ignored across-the-board, in favor of the “McCain has changed” myth. Which, come to think of it, constitutes a fourth untruthful attack on the character of the Republican nominee.

The few who have managed to breach the mainstream media’s protective mote, and get the details on Obama’s pre-messianic days, are not surprised by this Chicago-style, kick-em-in-the-shins approach. After all, Obama sued all of his primary challengers in a 1996 state senate race, questioning the authenticity of their petition signatures. Even if you haven’t succeeded in prying sacred reports of Barack the Shielded from university and newspaper archives, there’s evidence of Obama’s bogus foul-call strategy. Remember that Obama told the entire world President George W. Bush slandered him in May, when making an historical reference to appeasers before Israel’s Knesset.

Accusing your opponent, without justification, of being sleazy is the stealthiest way of being sleazy. It has worked wonders for Obama, (even as John McCain suffers under the self-imposed proscription on bringing up Jeremiah Wright), because the press is only too happy to help out. Do we dare consider Obama’s line of attack in the event he’s unhappy with Tuesday’s results?

Poor Barack Obama has grown disenchanted with his opponent:

Barack Obama says he admired John McCain, the 2000 version. These days? Not so much.

Hours after McCain released an ad citing past praise from Obama, the Democratic nominee said Friday he respected the unsuccessful 2000 primary campaign McCain waged against then-Gov. George W. Bush. Obama noted the Arizona senator’s stand then against negative political attacks.

“I admired him for it,” Obama told a crowd of 25,000 in Des Moines.

“He said, ‘I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.’ Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent John McCain,” Obama said.

“But the high road didn’t lead him to the White House then, so this time he decided to take a different route,” which Obama assailed as “slash-and-burn, say-anything, do-anything politics.”

This race has, at times, swerved unnecessarily into the gutter. Remember the ad one candidate ran disingenuously linking his opponent to the race-baiting remarks of other people? Or one candidate’s claim that his opponent would play on the electorate’s baser instincts in order to scare voters away from the competition’s “otherness”? Or one candidate’s assertion that his opponent was disturbingly “losing his bearings”?

It would be hard to consistently admire a presidential hopeful who had engaged in any of the above. Yet, the fact that Barack Obama has done all three is ignored across-the-board, in favor of the “McCain has changed” myth. Which, come to think of it, constitutes a fourth untruthful attack on the character of the Republican nominee.

The few who have managed to breach the mainstream media’s protective mote, and get the details on Obama’s pre-messianic days, are not surprised by this Chicago-style, kick-em-in-the-shins approach. After all, Obama sued all of his primary challengers in a 1996 state senate race, questioning the authenticity of their petition signatures. Even if you haven’t succeeded in prying sacred reports of Barack the Shielded from university and newspaper archives, there’s evidence of Obama’s bogus foul-call strategy. Remember that Obama told the entire world President George W. Bush slandered him in May, when making an historical reference to appeasers before Israel’s Knesset.

Accusing your opponent, without justification, of being sleazy is the stealthiest way of being sleazy. It has worked wonders for Obama, (even as John McCain suffers under the self-imposed proscription on bringing up Jeremiah Wright), because the press is only too happy to help out. Do we dare consider Obama’s line of attack in the event he’s unhappy with Tuesday’s results?

Read Less

Obama To Farmers: Stop Growing Food

You have the sense that the election cannot come soon enough for Barack Obama. Between Joe the Plumber and Joe the VP, the ever-shifting definition of “rich” and the blabber-mouth Congressional allies who hint at tax hikes and defense cuts to come, it hasn’t been a great finish. Now comes this report:

In a recent interview with Time magazine, Obama cited an article written by Michael Pollan, a professor and longtime critic of U.S. farm policies. As Obama described it, Pollan’s article was about “the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil.”

Obama told Time: “As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector … and are partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs because they’re contributing to Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in health care costs.”

In loose moments, Obama’s lack of understanding of and condescension toward rural and small-town America always slips out. And really, is his point that if farmers grew less food, Americans would be thinner? The mind reels.

You have the sense that the election cannot come soon enough for Barack Obama. Between Joe the Plumber and Joe the VP, the ever-shifting definition of “rich” and the blabber-mouth Congressional allies who hint at tax hikes and defense cuts to come, it hasn’t been a great finish. Now comes this report:

In a recent interview with Time magazine, Obama cited an article written by Michael Pollan, a professor and longtime critic of U.S. farm policies. As Obama described it, Pollan’s article was about “the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil.”

Obama told Time: “As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector … and are partly responsible for the explosion in our health care costs because they’re contributing to Type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in health care costs.”

In loose moments, Obama’s lack of understanding of and condescension toward rural and small-town America always slips out. And really, is his point that if farmers grew less food, Americans would be thinner? The mind reels.

Read Less

Flotsam and Jetsam

Is the Democratic Senate really going to let through Doug Kimec for a judgeship? Who would believe his testimony as to his legal views, at this point? Not Mark Levin.

A must-read and balanced take on John McCain and his campaign: “The former Navy pilot’s politics has always been more personal than ideological. His core convictions are duty, honor and country. He has always been passionate to the point of being impulsive, an unguided policy missile until he locks on target. Then he can be tenacious, and sometimes moralistic. These traits have characterized the McCain candidacy for better or worse and, we suspect, would also mark his Presidency. ”

Hard to argue with this: “Once the panic hit in September, Mr. McCain’s penchant for hyperactivity was also less than reassuring. He suspended his campaign to lead the “bailout” talks without a clear idea of what he favored. He offered to bring all sides together but in the process made himself hostage to Nancy Pelosi and House Republicans. All of this let Mr. Obama pose, paradoxically, as the steadier hand, even if all he did was sit back and bow to Congressional Democrats. In the final days, Mr. McCain has finally gained traction by pounding away on Mr. Obama’s enormous tax increases.”

One of the better contrast ads from the McCain camp. Would it have made a difference if they had done this for the last month? We’ll never know. Just as we’ll never know if McCain was the best nominee the Republicans could have chosen –unless he wins of course.

McCain picks up on the sliding scale of “rich.”

This McCain email tells us by the final day’s itinerary where they think they can get to 270 electoral votes. Virginia and Pennsylvania are clearly “it.” Colorado? Not so much.

A clever analogy between Reverend Wright and Bob Jones. Hey, that was then, this is now.

Where is the “temperament” police when you need them? Not in Minnesota.

A poll from Harvard tells you viewers and readers are pretty much on to the MSM : “Almost two-thirds of the respondents don’t trust press coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign; 89 percent said journalists focus too much on “trivial issues”; and 77 percent think that the press is politically biased. Twelve percent rejected the media altogether, saying they ‘either don´t trust or don´t use any media source for campaign coverage.’”

Others have noticed that Obama has a peculiar understanding of who the money “belongs” to.

Bringing people together — well the ones that don’t endorse the other guy.

If he loses it must be the racism, says Susan Estrich. Perhaps it was finding out that tax increases were more important than growing the economy, that the bitter and clinging people of Pennsylvania didn’t like being called racists and that if the definition of “rich” went from $250,000 to $120,000 before Election Day that it might include them by January. Nah. It’s the darn racists — and how clever to nominate an African American to cover their tracks.

Arnold rocks the house — and reminds us that much of politics is performance.

Americans are getting a peek at the thugocracy. There was another president who got tripped by this sort of thing — coincidentally the last time “plumber” became a political catch-phrase.

Is the Democratic Senate really going to let through Doug Kimec for a judgeship? Who would believe his testimony as to his legal views, at this point? Not Mark Levin.

A must-read and balanced take on John McCain and his campaign: “The former Navy pilot’s politics has always been more personal than ideological. His core convictions are duty, honor and country. He has always been passionate to the point of being impulsive, an unguided policy missile until he locks on target. Then he can be tenacious, and sometimes moralistic. These traits have characterized the McCain candidacy for better or worse and, we suspect, would also mark his Presidency. ”

Hard to argue with this: “Once the panic hit in September, Mr. McCain’s penchant for hyperactivity was also less than reassuring. He suspended his campaign to lead the “bailout” talks without a clear idea of what he favored. He offered to bring all sides together but in the process made himself hostage to Nancy Pelosi and House Republicans. All of this let Mr. Obama pose, paradoxically, as the steadier hand, even if all he did was sit back and bow to Congressional Democrats. In the final days, Mr. McCain has finally gained traction by pounding away on Mr. Obama’s enormous tax increases.”

One of the better contrast ads from the McCain camp. Would it have made a difference if they had done this for the last month? We’ll never know. Just as we’ll never know if McCain was the best nominee the Republicans could have chosen –unless he wins of course.

McCain picks up on the sliding scale of “rich.”

This McCain email tells us by the final day’s itinerary where they think they can get to 270 electoral votes. Virginia and Pennsylvania are clearly “it.” Colorado? Not so much.

A clever analogy between Reverend Wright and Bob Jones. Hey, that was then, this is now.

Where is the “temperament” police when you need them? Not in Minnesota.

A poll from Harvard tells you viewers and readers are pretty much on to the MSM : “Almost two-thirds of the respondents don’t trust press coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign; 89 percent said journalists focus too much on “trivial issues”; and 77 percent think that the press is politically biased. Twelve percent rejected the media altogether, saying they ‘either don´t trust or don´t use any media source for campaign coverage.’”

Others have noticed that Obama has a peculiar understanding of who the money “belongs” to.

Bringing people together — well the ones that don’t endorse the other guy.

If he loses it must be the racism, says Susan Estrich. Perhaps it was finding out that tax increases were more important than growing the economy, that the bitter and clinging people of Pennsylvania didn’t like being called racists and that if the definition of “rich” went from $250,000 to $120,000 before Election Day that it might include them by January. Nah. It’s the darn racists — and how clever to nominate an African American to cover their tracks.

Arnold rocks the house — and reminds us that much of politics is performance.

Americans are getting a peek at the thugocracy. There was another president who got tripped by this sort of thing — coincidentally the last time “plumber” became a political catch-phrase.

Read Less

Why The Wait?

Sarah Palin has a lengthy interview in the Wall Street Journal. It is not brimming with policy details, but she comes across as confident and informed. She is utterly on message.

The nagging question remains: why did the McCain camp wait until the weekend before Election Day to do this sort of thing? It is mind-boggling, really, as to why they did not roll her out to the Journal and other print publications (not to mention radio and TV outlets) earlier so as to demonstrate why it was that John McCain chose her. Perhaps all of the “Fasidiocons” would have been calmed by reading about her in national publications. At the very least, she would have had additional time to impress not just the base in the heartland, but also the urban and suburban independents and more upscale women voters.

So if McCain does not prevail and the “What ifs” begin, the right queries should be considered. The issue is not just “Was she a hindrance or a help?” There’s also “If they had been properly used her, how many more votes could they have gotten?” But it may be that despite the campaign fumbles, Palin has been able to “break out” — and provide her ticket with a much needed lift. We will know more in a few days.

Sarah Palin has a lengthy interview in the Wall Street Journal. It is not brimming with policy details, but she comes across as confident and informed. She is utterly on message.

The nagging question remains: why did the McCain camp wait until the weekend before Election Day to do this sort of thing? It is mind-boggling, really, as to why they did not roll her out to the Journal and other print publications (not to mention radio and TV outlets) earlier so as to demonstrate why it was that John McCain chose her. Perhaps all of the “Fasidiocons” would have been calmed by reading about her in national publications. At the very least, she would have had additional time to impress not just the base in the heartland, but also the urban and suburban independents and more upscale women voters.

So if McCain does not prevail and the “What ifs” begin, the right queries should be considered. The issue is not just “Was she a hindrance or a help?” There’s also “If they had been properly used her, how many more votes could they have gotten?” But it may be that despite the campaign fumbles, Palin has been able to “break out” — and provide her ticket with a much needed lift. We will know more in a few days.

Read Less

The Final Pitch

In his last Saturday radio address before Election Day, John McCain leads with the economy and seems to acknowledge that his own camp needed help to finally make the case:

We’ve learned that Barack Obama’s economic plan for America to redistribute the wealth of America with higher taxes. It took a working man in Ohio to finally get him to explain his economic plan in plain language. Senator Obama wants to “spread the wealth around.” He thinks that your job is to earn wealth, and the government’s job is to spread it. I reject the ideology of redistributing wealth, and I always have. I believe that the only way to pull our economy out of this terrible time of worry and hardship is to spread opportunity. Low taxes reward effort and create jobs. We’re going to double the child deduction for working families. We will cut the capital gains tax. And we will cut business taxes to help create jobs, and keep American business in America.

But what is surprising is the amount of time spent on national security. He sums up:

With terrorists still plotting new strikes across the world, millions of innocent lives are still at stake, including American lives. Our enemies’ violent ambitions must still be prevented — by American vigilance, by diplomacy and cooperation with our partners, and by force of arms as a last resort. In his four years in the Senate, two of them spent running for president, Barack Obama has displayed some impressive qualities. But the question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and other grave threats in the world. And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative.

At the same time, Democrats in Congress have already proposed to cut defense spending by 25 percent. Even with our troops engaged in two wars, and with a force in need of rebuilding, we’re getting a glimpse of what one-party rule would look like under Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. Apparently it starts with lowering our defenses and raising our taxes.

(The McCain camp is also hitting the defense spending issue in radio ads in Virginia.)

It really has always been about this, albeit not expressed in the clearest terms and not with the focus always needed to penetrate the media thicket. McCain’s best case has always been that Obama is a risk — he may steer the economy too far Left and be insufficiently resolute in confronting international enemies. The campaign hasn’t been error-free, and the candidate isn’t always on message. But the fundamental questions remain. And voters, especially those fourteen percent “persuadables,” will have to think just how much “change” they can afford.

Campaigns tell us a lot about candidates. But the prize doesn’t go for “best disciplined campaign” or “the least internal drama.” For McCain that’s a good thing. It remains to be seen whether voters will see through all of that. If they do, the credit will go to Joe the Plumber who did what McCain’s own team — and the MSM — could not: make the case against Obama.

In his last Saturday radio address before Election Day, John McCain leads with the economy and seems to acknowledge that his own camp needed help to finally make the case:

We’ve learned that Barack Obama’s economic plan for America to redistribute the wealth of America with higher taxes. It took a working man in Ohio to finally get him to explain his economic plan in plain language. Senator Obama wants to “spread the wealth around.” He thinks that your job is to earn wealth, and the government’s job is to spread it. I reject the ideology of redistributing wealth, and I always have. I believe that the only way to pull our economy out of this terrible time of worry and hardship is to spread opportunity. Low taxes reward effort and create jobs. We’re going to double the child deduction for working families. We will cut the capital gains tax. And we will cut business taxes to help create jobs, and keep American business in America.

But what is surprising is the amount of time spent on national security. He sums up:

With terrorists still plotting new strikes across the world, millions of innocent lives are still at stake, including American lives. Our enemies’ violent ambitions must still be prevented — by American vigilance, by diplomacy and cooperation with our partners, and by force of arms as a last resort. In his four years in the Senate, two of them spent running for president, Barack Obama has displayed some impressive qualities. But the question is whether this is a man who has what it takes to protect America from Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and other grave threats in the world. And he has given you no reason to answer in the affirmative.

At the same time, Democrats in Congress have already proposed to cut defense spending by 25 percent. Even with our troops engaged in two wars, and with a force in need of rebuilding, we’re getting a glimpse of what one-party rule would look like under Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. Apparently it starts with lowering our defenses and raising our taxes.

(The McCain camp is also hitting the defense spending issue in radio ads in Virginia.)

It really has always been about this, albeit not expressed in the clearest terms and not with the focus always needed to penetrate the media thicket. McCain’s best case has always been that Obama is a risk — he may steer the economy too far Left and be insufficiently resolute in confronting international enemies. The campaign hasn’t been error-free, and the candidate isn’t always on message. But the fundamental questions remain. And voters, especially those fourteen percent “persuadables,” will have to think just how much “change” they can afford.

Campaigns tell us a lot about candidates. But the prize doesn’t go for “best disciplined campaign” or “the least internal drama.” For McCain that’s a good thing. It remains to be seen whether voters will see through all of that. If they do, the credit will go to Joe the Plumber who did what McCain’s own team — and the MSM — could not: make the case against Obama.

Read Less




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.