Obama Should Attack McCain's "Country First" Narrative

10/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Time to unleash Obama the man, the guy who can be tough -- and time to systematically attack McCain's America/Country/Nation First branding and narrative. It's the biggest McCain lie and where the GOP has invested the most.

It's time for Obama, or at least for his surrogates, to come on strong. He has to focus all his intensity on McCain, period. Forget about Sarah Palin. Going after her is a job for surrogates. Obama needs to let loose hard on McCain, calling him for his lies, nailing him for his weaknesses and flaws, challenging his America/Nation/Country first "branding." Obama needs to refer to McCain as Bush Republican McCain, using the word and person that the GOP has attempted to separate itself from.

Obama must totally assault the claim that right wingers, that McCain put America/Country first. This is a huge lie -- the biggest lie, and when it is attacked enough, it will destroy the McCain campaign's momentum. It's easy to do: there are so many examples.

Obama must also attack McCain for letting his country down by not picking a strong, experienced candidate for VP, then list some of the people who were expected to be chosen. That's not attacking Palin. It's attacking McCain, for putting campaign before country, and that's how Obama needs to unrelentingly attack McCain, again and again. McCain put his campaign first. McCain put corporations first. McCain put his party first. McCain put lobbists first. Obama should attack, attack, attack Republican McCain for betraying the troops, for betraying American industry and American workers, for putting Oil companies before people who can't afford to drive to work. Obama should have surrogates respond to McCain's attack -- a good job for Hillary and Bill Clinton and John Kerry.

Rep. Keith Ellison suggested to me the other day that they attacked Obama for not wearing a flag pin, for having a pastor who criticized America. But Sarah Palin is married to a man who was, for years, a member of a separatist party-- the Alaska Independence Party, that calls for a re-vote on Alaska accepting statehood, that talks about Alaska being a separate nation. That's anti-American. And, while Palin wasn't a member of the party, she slept with one and she welcomed the party with a warm and friendly video greeting.

So... Obama doesn't wear a pin, McCain picks a supporter of a party and wife of a party member that's anti-american for vice president. Who's worse? Every day, Obama and his surrogates must attack McCain and his party for putting Americans second, for putting their special interests first. Oh, we're proud of Obama for being smart, polished and grown up, unlike rageoholic, partier, adulterer McCain. Smart and grown up is not enough. Americans want to know that a president is red meat eating tough. If Obama doesn't show his stuff, he won't make it in the final stretch.

With a tough Putin, tough choices in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, N. Korea, Iran-- Obama must show he can be a calm and tough leader, able to face nasty, rough leaders. On the other hand, he has to be careful. One southern politician, Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) has already called him"uppity", an adjective often associated with the "n" word. That means Obama has to be tough in a smart way, not a scary, rough way that the right can spin to tap racist fears. He can do it. He should. He must.

Democrats must prove they are as tough as Republicans. Obama should start by throwing out the advisors who counsel him in spineless Demtalk to make nice. It doesn't work. And Obama should embark on a continuous attack on McCains history of putting Americans second.

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