Because there always are, there will doubtless be those who see the social populist approach as a code word for racism, especially because it is directed against the proposals of an African-American candidate. But the dichotomy social populism exploits is one that separates the most productive members of our work force from the others, in the spirit of Joe the Plumber. Race is quite beside the point.
The question is whether McCain has the discipline to pursue the tax issue doggedly for the rest of the campaign. The other targets -- from Ayers to ACORN -- are so tempting but ultimately appeal to the Republican base and few others. But taxes hit us all.
The core difference between the American working class and its European equivalent is that Europeans are inclined to vote based on their current conditions, while Americans base their decisions more on their goals and objectives for the future. Americans assume upward mobility, while Europeans do not. Both groups are correct in their assessments. Despite the widening gap between the richest 20 percent and the poorest in the United States, the economic chart constantly is churning, and people are continuously moving out of the bottom fifth and upward on the scale, their places on the bottom of the ladder yielding to new arrivals, usually from abroad. So Americans are right to vote their dreams. And Obama's European socialist tendency to sabotage growth in the interest of "fairness" would serve merely to convert an American model that works into a European one that does not.