While speaking at a rally at the Indiana State Fairgrounds today, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said that better days are ahead, and he criticized John McCain’s health care plan as radical and dangerous.
Obama expressed optimism about the future of the economy, “But I’m here today to tell you that there are better days ahead. I know these are tough times. I know that many of you are anxious about the future. But this isn’t a time for fear or panic. This is a time for resolve and leadership. I know that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Because that’s who we are. Because this is the United States of America. This is a nation that has faced down war and depression; great challenges and great threats. And at each and every moment, we have risen to meet these challenges – not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans. With resolve. With confidence. With that fundamental belief that here in America, our destiny is not written for us, but by us. That’s who we are, and that’s the country we need to be right now.”
Obama saved his strongest attack on John McCain for the issue of health care, “Take health care. We were both asked whether we believed that health care should finally be the right of every American. I believe it should. But Senator McCain didn’t say that. And when you look at his radical health care plan, you can see why. He talks about giving every family a $5,000 credit to buy health care, but he didn’t mention last night that he’ll also tax your benefits for the first time in history. It’s an old Washington bait and switch. He gives you a tax credit with one hand, but raises your taxes with the other. And he didn’t mention that the average health care plan costs $12,000 in the first place.”
“Senator McCain didn’t tell us about the studies that say his plan would cause 20 million Americans to lose their health insurance, or how the Chamber of Commerce said it would be a disaster for businesses, or how it would de-regulate the insurance industry so that they don’t have to cover things like mammograms, or vaccinations, or maternity care. He thinks we won’t notice these things. Well, I’ve got news for John McCain: we notice, we know better, and we’re not going to let him get away with it,” he continued.
Obama is an interesting candidate to read because you can tell how the campaign is going by his energy level on the stump. Barack Obama is a candidate who feeds off of the energy of the crowd, and I think it is fair to say that the Obama supporters are feeling good about their chances after the debate last night. Their optimism was reflected in Obama, as he looked and sounded energized today. The campaign won’t publicly say this, but they see that John McCain is fading, and they know that they are getting close to their goal.
What has to have Obama feeling good about his chances is that the McCain campaign stubbornly refuses to talk about the issues that voters are most concerned about. They are making this easy for Obama by not contesting his views on the economy. McCain has not offered an alternative economic plan. At the most basic level, he has been unable to connect with voters and share their concerns about the economy.
McCain’s use of tired smears, and conservative platitudes is not what people want to hear right now. The Republican campaign may be motivating their base, but they are destroying their chances with undecided voters and Independents. They have not been able to effectively counter Obama’s charge that they are more of the same, because their policies are more of the same. Without something intervening to slow him down, it is starting to feel like an Obama surge is coming.