Obama Pounces on McCain in NH: Enough is Enough!
Obama takes a tough tone on McCain today in his speech today in Dover, NH. And while I think Obama is still missing an overarching theme for what change means (more on that later), the good news is, he pounces hard on McCain:
The good news is that in 53 days, the name George Bush will not be on the ballot. But make no mistake: his policies will. A few weeks ago, John McCain said that the economy is “fundamentally strong,” and a few days later George Bush said the same thing. In fact, Senator McCain has said that we made “great progress economically” over the last eight years.
And here’s the thing. I think they truly believe it. After all, my opponent said just last night, “It’s easy for me to go to Washington and frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have.” So from where he and George Bush sit, maybe they just can’t see. Maybe they are just that out of touch. But you know the truth, and so do I.
After going through a list of the failed economic policies (specifically calling out trickle-down economics, making those of us who love indictments of GOP economics hearts afflutter), he turns to McCain:
Good to see Obama jumping on McCain’s quote last night about being divorced from reality. It certainly does play into the overall “out of touch” meme that the Obama campaign is pushing. But there is more:
We’ve tried that way. It won’t work. And yet Senator McCain stubbornly holds to it. The only change he offers is completing the Bush agenda. Privatizing your Social Security. Taxing your health benefits. And another $200 billion of budget-busting tax breaks for corporations like Exxon-Mobil that have just turned in the greatest profits in history, while you can barely afford to fill up a tank of gas.
Now that’s a good line: the only change he promises is completing Bush’s agenda. Once again, happy to see privatizing social security on there. That’s something that’s been underplayed.
Here comes the money part:
It’s time for us to say, Enough is enough!
Now my opponent wants to have a debate about change, and that’s a debate that I welcome. Because the choice in this election is very simple. If you are better off than you were eight years ago and you want four more years of a President who puts the special interests and the biggest corporations first, then vote for John McCain. If you believe it’s time for fundamental change in Washington and a President who puts the middle class first, then we will win this election in November, and we will change this country for our children and our grandchildren. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President of the United States.
The “If you are better off” framing makes one of its first appearances. Let’s hope it’s not the last.
Obama then pivots to discuss the changes he would bring and specifically talks about taxes. It’s a strong laundry list and I’m happy to hear it. Having said that, I still think there needs to be one big theme that ties it together with one big policy (ending the war, rebuilding America, something) that is the centerpiece of change. Something clear and concise and new so that voters know what change really means. And preferably, something tied to renewing America so that America can be America again (to paraphrase Langston Hughes).
Still, this speech is a strong start, and it ends with a strong finish:
We cannot afford four more years of out of touch, on your own, leadership in the White House. John McCain likes to rail against the Washington herd, but the truth is, when it comes to the issues that really matter in your lives, he’s been running in that herd for 26 years, and they’ve run this economy into a ditch. This election is our chance to stand up and say – enough is enough.
It won’t be easy. The kind of change we’re looking for never is. What we are up against is a very powerful, entrenched status quo in Washington who will say anything and do anything and fight with everything they’ve got to keep things just the way are.
But I feel good about our chances, because I’ve got something more powerful than they do: I’ve got you. In this campaign, you have already shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.