So the general election has begun. Oh sure, Hillary hasn’t formally dropped out yet and neither party has had their convention yet. But last night John McCain and Barack Obama made it clear that they have switched their attention towards each other.
Obama claimed the mantle of the Democratic nomination, which he had secured not by primary votes alone but by the special party elders, known as superdelegates, and took time to accuse McCain of running for the third term of President Bush. McCain, speaking before Obama, pointed out that despite Obama’s constant mantra of change, and obvious rhetorical skills, he mostly offers standard liberal big government solutions not real change.
It is a truism that the candidate who can define his opponent generally has the upper hand. Yet, it remains true today and both candidates have already begun that battle.
Obama’s unique persona and talents will have to be countered with a laser focus on his leftist views and radical history. If the race comes down to speaking ability, or likeability, Obama will win.
No amount of charm, however, will change the fact that Obama is the most liberal candidate for president in a generation. He is a committed leftist with historical ties to radical organizations and parties. He offers nothing but the failed big government solutions of the past dressed up with fancy words and vague symbolism. This is the battle that must be engaged.
Obama makes a lot of promises. He promises universal health care where everyone has coverage whatever the circumstances and yet costs go down. But it doesn’t take an economist to figure out that this is an expensive project and no amount of technology can magically give people free health care. Someone will have to pay more. Michelle Obama admitted as much, remarking on the campaign trail:
Take a wild guess who that someone is going to be. If you said American taxpayers you guessed right. Obama, like all Democrats, promises to only raise taxes on the “rich.” But once the reality of the budget – including all the new spending he proposes – hits, it is amazing how flexible that term can become.
Obama campaigns against free trade and for more union power as if those positions will lead to higher paying jobs. I am sure passing a card check bill that takes away the right to a secret ballot, and is favored by the big labor unions, will help a few of Obama’s supporters in their high paying jobs but for everyone else it will simply stifle the economy and restrict the rights of workers and companies.
Without the onerous restrictions of big government regulations and the inflexibility of union power, American companies can compete anywhere in the world and their doing so means economic growth. But Obama wants to tell companies where and how they can run their businesses. He wants to restrict trade in order to protect his union supporters. But a middle class built on union power is a vision from the past not the future.
The question of this election is whether the American people are going to mistake Obama’s charm and charisma for real leadership and effective solutions; if they are going to ignore his troubling past because he gives a good speech and looks good on TV; if they are going to fall for the promise of a government who can give them everything.
To Americans who are tempted to be taken in by the smooth talking snake oil salesmen, I say beware. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The promise of big government often sounds good, but it always ends in broken promises and higher taxes. As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Remember that next time such eloquently promises are given to change the world.