Senator Obama is facing an important moment that will determine his defeat or victory in this campaign and it is extremely important that he get it right. John McCain, who is tanking in the polls in the fallout of the economic crisis, has decided that he will "suspend the McCain-Palin campaign", pull his campaign commercials, and seek a delay to the presidential debate scheduled for Friday, Sept. 26, 2008. McCain is claiming that he is putting "Country First."
Given Obama's penchant for caution, I want to lay out the case to stay the course and continue to fight. Senator Obama should let John McCain try to pull off his political gimmick of "suspending his campaign." However, Senator Obama should not fall for this okey-dokey, rope-a-dope move because Senator Obama is winning and John McCain is losing. The latest polling shows a clearly widening lead for Senator Obama; as the economic crisis deepens, Americans rightly perceive the Republican Party dogma of free-market fundamentalism as a culprit and causal factor in this crisis.
Moreover, if Senator Obama stops now it will demonstrably undermine how people perceive his readiness to be Commander-in Chief. A Commander-in-Chief needs to have the killer instinct to understand you destroy your enemy, thoroughly; you do not let up to give him time to breathe when he is flailing. If Barack Obama backs off now, then Americans will have good reason to see it as a wimpy move by a man who doesn't have the 'stones' to finish a fight. Every stereotype of the effete, elitist, liberal afraid to work with his hands or put up his fists will become operative.
Senator Obama must call John McCain's "Country First" bluff with a factual recitation of some of the votes to deregulate that have led to this crisis, and note that John McCain and the lobbyists running his campaign have always been what is now clearly the wrong side of these congressional actions. How did McCain vote on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed banks to own many other types of financial companies? For too long, McCain has voted the interests of the Country Club more than he has the interests of the country.
For too long Democrats have been vilified as socialists who hate free-markets and aspire to autocratic control of the lives of Americans; good politics demand we show the American people the real tyranny of market-fundamentalism. John McCain's "Country Club First" mentality while he served as Chairman of the Senate's Commerce Committee let markets run amok. John McCain's "poor judgment", which the Senate Ethics Committee chided him for in the wake of the Keating 5, is part of the reason Americans are seeing their 401(k) and IRA accounts take a hit.
Senator Obama has an opportunity to show his regular guy image here, as he has pointed out on the campaign trail, he is still close to regular; close to renting an apartment while trying to pay off student loans. He needs to emphasize his personal experience with the need for credit in the economy. Remind people that without student loans neither Michele nor he would have graduated from law school.
Obama must also emphasize his team of champions like Warren Buffett and Larry Summers. McCain has Rick Davis - - whose firm up to last month was still cashing Freddie Mac checks.
Senator Obama must contrast his story with the 8 homes and 13 cars of John McCain and the tanning bed of Sarah Palin, when tanning beds cost around $35,000.
Senator Obama needs to pound home this message with aplomb. He must demonstrate his ability to pull no punches. With racism in America, I believe Obama needs to be up by 10 points just to be even. This is a chance to earn that 10-point lead. Senator Obama needs America to understand that the reason McCain wants to delay the upcoming debate is -- there are some questions John McCain cannot answer and is afraid to answer.