This Election is Green; Not Black and White

09/26/2008 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

While some want to paint this year's presidential race in black and white, for middle class America, it's all about the green.


Team colors are clearly visible: The Republicans' -- green and gold. That's obvious when their nominee, John McCain, is one of the richest men in the Senate. He's so wealthy that when recently asked by a reporter how many homes he owned, he just couldn't recall.

Seven, Senator, seven.

When schlepping around Arizona on the campaign trail got tough, his wife surprised him the gift of a private jet to ease the sojourn. When asked to define wealthy, he said, for him, a guy whose worth has been estimated at $100 million, rich is $5 million.

Team colors for the chosen Democratic candidates, by contrast, are basic red, white and blue. Presumptive nominee Sen. Barack Obama's boyhood family struggled on food stamps for a time. His chosen vice president, Sen. Joe Biden, grew up in hard scrapple Scranton and his family shared quarters with in-laws during tough times. Biden has long been ranked as one of the least wealthy members of the senate.

Biden, long a personal friend of McCain's, noted the economic difference in his speech in Illinois Saturday after Obama introduced him as his selection for vice president. While many Americans sit down at their kitchen tables to worry over bills, Biden said, John McCain, by contrast, would just have to worry over which of his seven kitchen tables to sit down at -- not over an actual bill.

Ah, the frets of the rich. And for them -- and himself -- John McCain wants to preserve Bush's tax cuts.

Those tax cuts are a considerable part of the budget deficit, and the budget deficit -- along with the trade deficit -- is a considerable part of the declining confidence in Wall Street.

The Republicans, George Bush, VP Dick Cheney, and McCain, the self-styled "maverick" who voted with Bush-Cheny 95 percent of the time last year and 100 percent this year, took the budget surplus that Democrat Bill Clinton bequeathed them and converted it into a behemoth debt.

They took rising employment and sent it down and a burgeoning housing market sent it to bankruptcy. They took a low consumer price index and bought us the highest rate of wholesale inflation in nearly 30 years - 9.8 percent. Think $4-a-gallon gasoline.

Then, just to smack middle class America in the face, they gave the rich tax breaks. 'Cause multi-millionaires like John and Cindy McCain, with their seven homes and private plane, need a break today.

Greenbacks. Republicans Bush and Cheney put us here, with McCain agreeing all the way. Electing McSame would result in four more years of greenbacks draining out of our wallets.

Obama and Biden didn't come from the world of wealth that Bush, Cheney and McCain luxuriate in. They have lived the life and felt the feelings of middle class Americans. They know what it is to pay off college and car loans.

Biden rode a train back and forth from Washington to his district home in Delaware, chatting with conductors, never buying a second home and living in pricey D.C. He crawls on the floor to play with his grandkids.

Obama declined top dollar job offers when he graduated Harvard Law School to return to Chicago to become a civil rights lawyer and organize voter registration drives. When he was campaigning in Pennsylvania earlier this year, he wanted pictures of himself feeding a bottle to a calf at a Penn State University dairy so he would have something interesting to tell his little daughters about in their evening telephone call.

Greenbacks. Obama and Biden will help the middle class keep them in their pockets. Because they understand from firsthand experience how difficult it is to get a few there in the first place.