McCain's Hurdle for Debate #2

On Thursday night, Governor Sarah Palin cleared the credibility hurdle she faced in the estimation of swing voters, even earning some begrudging kudos from Democrats.

On Tuesday night, it’s John McCain’s turn to do the same.

The Teddy Roosevelt-style populist rhetoric about earmarks and Wall Street greed is an okay warm-up act, but McCain needs a show-stopper.

McCain should speak to Obama in that same father-to-son fashion as to how the world works when it comes to pocketbook issues like he did as to foreign policy in the first debate.

Here’s what McCain should say:

Barack Obama wants to make this campaign about Wall Street versus Main Street.Senator Obama clearly needs directions.Because this campaign is about K Street versus Pennsylvania Avenue. It's about the lobbyists who've corrupted politicians and compromised our politics. And it's about the need for a President to stand up to those who seek to game the system for personal gain.Senator Obama says our current financial difficulties result from the failed Bush-McCain economic philosophy. First, Senator Obama, I take great umbrage at the insinuation that I am not my own person. If you think I take my cues from George W. Bush or anyone else, then you are neither familiar with my public record nor my personal sacrifice. And if you care to make such an assertion, Senator, then please be man enough to do it straight away and to my face.Second, what Senator Obama terms a failed philosophy is nothing more than a common-sense belief that Americans should keep more of what they earn because families make better decisions on how best to spend their earnings than does the political class in Washington.And what of Senator Obama's economic philosophy?It is Senator Obama who initially proposed doubling the capital gains tax and has now scaled that back to a 33% increase in that tax. That would be devastating to our economy. At the core of our financial problems is the credit crunch. Senator Obama's tax hike would further restrict credit and inhibit capital formation. This is precisely the opposite of what we should be doing. Senator Obama clearly realizes this since he diminished the magnitude of his own tax increase proposal but still insists upon a massive hike. So who is the ideologue?Senator Obama decries deregulation but it is Obama's team of economic advisors formerly at the helm of Fannie Mae--Franklin Raines, Tim Howard, and Jim Johnson--who engaged in the reckless lending policies, encouraged by President Clinton at the time, that extended loans to subprime borrowers. (Here McCain could hold up the Sept. 20, 1999 New York Times article entitled, "Fannie Mae Eases Credit To Aid Mortgage Lending" that outlines this policy change in detail).And since Senator Obama has such newfound concern for windfall profits, perhaps he can start with his campaign's economic advisors, the three of whom parachuted out of the Fannie Mae death spiral with close to $300 million before the corporate jet crashed on the roofs of Main Street homeowners.Senator Obama carries on about job creation but advocates job-killing protectionism and an antagonistic posture towards our trading partners. He wants to renegotiate trade agreements that will inevitably close markets to American goods.Senator Obama is selling you a bill of goods, America.He casts himself as a reformer and yet springs from the bosom of political corruption and machine politics, against which he did nothing.Senator Obama speaks of his fondness for the middle class and yet cannot contain his contempt for middle America when he is at a San Francisco fundraiser or when he is confronted by the strong, conservative female Governor running with me.I know there is anxiety. I know there is fear because I understand that things are difficult financially for millions of American families. But don't let yourself be ruled by that fear or by the contrived class envy rhetoric that the radical left wing has been trying to sell you since the 1960s. For all his talk of change, Senator Obama is intent on pursuing the very same policies with the very same people that got us into this mess.We will turn our economy around by pursuing common-sense policies that ease our tax burdens, restrain government spending, incentivize savings and investment, and encourage small business growth.These will be the first principles of a McCain presidency. This is the way back for America.