While Obama believes he can win the presidency simply by uttering the word "change" like a magical incantation, his "change" message has a soft underbelly. His focus on change means he despises this country the way it is. His wife, Michelle, is crystal clear on this. "Our souls are broken in this nation," she said this month at UCLA. "That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls." She went further in a February 18 speech in Wisconsin: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
Despite all of its problems, America is not a deeply flawed place. It is the greatest nation in the history of mankind. It allows Barack Obama to run for president; it allows his wife to attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The Obamas' constant emphasis on change carries the disturbing undertone that the country is a disaster requiring radical reform. This isn't a message of optimism -- it's a message of profound pessimism.
McCain can defeat Obama simply by pointing out the obvious connotations of Obama's "change" message. He can powerfully cite the fact that he was tortured for the best country on the face of the earth -- he's always been proud of his country.
And, McCain should say, his country deserves the pride of its citizens. Sure, some policies need change -- some policies always need change. But the soul of the country is intact. It doesn't need a soul-fixer. It needs a leader.