Instead, he is riding a populist wave of economic pessimism and panic that appears ready to buy his "change you can believe in" mantra, despite an economic plan that few voters understand.
At its core is a raft of draconian tax increases on critical components of the nation's economy -- tax hikes that have been an integral part of his party's "grow the government" prescriptions for decades.
He intends to raise the top personal-income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, hike the 15 percent tax rate on capital gains and dividends to between 20 percent and 28 percent, levy higher tax rates on corporations, and increase the Social Security payroll tax on upper-income Americans.
Obama will be raising taxes on the very parts of our economy that have been the wellspring of its venture-capital investment pool that is now on life support.
Exactly how Americans worried about the economy can truly believe that we can tax our way out of a recession is a mystery, but that is what Obama is peddling and that is what Obama voters are buying hook, line and sinker.
Not everyone, though. Listen to what University of Maryland economist Peter Morici, a sharp critic of the Bush administration's economic policies, said about Obama's plan:
"Obama's tax-and-redistribute policies will not resurrect jobs, wages or the price of stocks in American retirement accounts ... Obama's policies may make economic conditions worse," he said this week. "His platform is full of platitudes and generalizations but not enough substance."
McCain has got to relentlessly pound Obama's tax plan as the medical equivalent of bleeding an economy that is hemorrhaging internally. The American economy is not ill because it is undertaxed. U.S. corporations are taxed at one of the highest rates of the world's industrialized nations, second only to Japan.
This is an issue that still resonates with Americans if it's explained clearly and powerfully, but it must be tied to Obama's inexperience and his irrational class-warfare hostility toward corporations and wealth.
Barack Obama thinks raising taxes to enrich government is the answer to all our troubles when it will only weaken a severely anemic, overtaxed economy desperately in need of capital and tax relief.