The vast majority of Americans, even those who will not be basing their vote on the issue, will be looking at what is happening with the economy, and consequently, at which candidate they think is better suited to handle the economy. The starting point is that Obama is slightly more trusted on the economy, but that is mainly due to party affiliation, press treatment, and relative inattention to the issue. This means we have an incredible opportunity to boost the McCain ticket.
Obama continues to bleat change is needed. Let him do so, he’s just wasting time. Obama will cry “the sky is falling” and talk about how bad the economy is doing. That’s not positive, and, it probably hurts the economy more than if he stood up and said, “yes, the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but they could be stronger so as to avoid the unfortunate situation that has occurred, and here’s how…” But that’s not what he’ll say. As such McCain should do 6 things to win on this issue:
- McCain/Palin should propose a $1000 tax credit, per year, for every taxpaying American citizen for investing in American owned companies employing American workers. This should provide incredible life for the economy, pay for itself through creation of new American jobs and increased stability in the markets and increased income. It should take us from 41% of the population who have an investment in the market to 100%, which should make a lot more Republicans who will finally be empowered in an “ownership society” type way that generated huge numbers of new Republicans in the late 90s, early 00s. Every American will have a stake in buying American goods, in seeing American business do well (which should help on drilling as more folks invest in American oil), and feel a sense of ownership and empowerment (and perhaps patriotism) to bring us through this crisis. The Democrats will oppose the tax cut which will make common sense to most Americans, and we will crush them for it. Obama can’t say this tax cut doesn’t apply to John Q. Taxpayer, because John Q. Taxpeyer knows what a 100% across the board $1000 tax cut means. Its simple. Its straightforward. We can rally downticket on it. It takes the GOP back to its brand strengths. We should do it. And now.
- Generate a 5-6 point bullet format, ready for TV and radio ads recovery plan. Among those 5-6 points should be some points he has already highlighted on the trail at different points, though somewhat disjointedly, such as:
-criminal accountability for corrupt CEOs, no golden parachutes for incompetent CEOs;
-basic protections for investments and accounts of American stakeholders;
-his bipartisanship pledge / history of reaching across the aisle to include the smartest Americans, regardless of party affiliation to tackle all the economic challenges of the next few years;
-ethics reform legislation coupled with sunshine laws so that investors will be able to hold those managing their accounts and investments more readily accountable; McCain/Palin’s proven record of ethics reform against Obama’s ZERO accomplishments on this point should be a nice contrast to slip in;
-a real, across the board, populist proposal that could be a practical solution to the problem. My thought is that we could use this as an opportunity to offer some type of annual “investment credit” for all Americans investing in American businesses, which would create American jobs, so all American taxpayers will have a greater stake in the economy and the stock market; Fail to put forth a populist and pragmatic solution, or series of such solutions, and Obama will win this issue, no matter what else we do;
Highlight everyday Obama’s connections to the corrupt CEOs and the money his campaign has taken from them4. Highlight Obama’s tax plan to double the capital gains tax as hurting all Americans.
Once things settle down, McCain should take Obama to task for making things much worse by his chicken little “the sky is falling” tact which he calculated to win political points, putting himself before the good of the country. McCain’s more stately, FDR-esque, “only thing to fear is fear itself” approach, and proffered leadership should contrast well.
McCain predicted this was an issue years ago, in 2005. As the crisis developed, the 2006-2008 Democratic controlled Congress failed to avoid the problem, and even caused it by facilitating the bad loans and failing to deliver promised ethics reform that would have avoided the crisis McCain forewarned them of. This should be an upticket and downticket winning issue for the GOP. IT IS PELOSI’S FAULT. IT IS REID’S FAULT. Since the Democrats had the majority and the responsibility to handle the economy, it is every member of that Democratic majority’s fault. Especially the ones taking money from the corrupt individuals/CEOs at the center of the crisis.
McCain should, starting now, emphasize how we will pull through this stronger than ever. He has already started the “best days are ahead” theme, which, when this crisis is over in a few weeks, will contrast nicely as demonstrated leadership to Obama spinning everyone into panic mode and saying “I don’t know how to fix the situation”.