08/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dear Barack, Time to Bite the Old Dog Back

July 30, 2008

Dear Barack,

Long time no talk. Congrats on the nomination, the Berlin love, and the spread in US Magazine. I know you got some flak a few weeks back from the left for making some cowardly compromises. I happen to agree with them. But I'll vote for you in the fall - and so will they. Meanwhile, your opponent looks like what he is: an old white guy who ran out of gas two years ago.

But he's got the old Rove Scuzzforce at his disposal now, and they're starting to ramp up the attacks. They have to do this, because there's no way McCan't can compel people to vote for him. Meanwhile, the media needs to make the race appear close, so they're going to whip every bit of insinuation into a giant, news-cycle guzzling Outrage Latte. Sound familiar?

The question is whether you're going to respond more forcefully than you did to Hillary. I implore you to stop using your surrogates to "push back." Think of it this way: McCan't just called you out. Americans want you to be tough. Grab a podium and pop him with this:

"A few months ago, John McCain promised he'd run a civil campaign. But I guess it's true, what they say: You can't teach an old dog new tricks. So now he and his people are running around trying to say I don't care about the troops.

Please remember one thing, as you listen to this garbage: If it were up to me, our troops would never have gone to Iraq. More than 4000 of them wouldn't be dead. Tens of thousands of them wouldn't be injured. Hundreds of thousands of them wouldn't be haunted by memories of a senseless war.

The American people and the Iraqi people have spoken: they want this misadventure over. They're tired of tough talk. It's time for smart policy. That's what this race boils down to - policy that helps us recover as a nation from the mistakes of the past eight years, versus the old politics of fear and smear.

John McCain has no plan to get us out of Iraq. He can't even remember what countries share a border, or who the Sunnis or Shiites. He has no plans for our economy, especially now that he's chief economic advisor, Phil Gramm, has stepped down. Extend tax cuts for the wealthy, drill for oil, close your eyes to those struggling with mortgages, insurance, or lost wages, and hope. That's the McCain prescription.

We need a real set of policies: a sustained effort to create a green economy, a health care plan that protects the needy as well as the rich, an educational policy that invests in our children, a legislature that acts on behalf of citizens, not lobbyists. And an end to a military occupation that makes us no safer and drains our ailing economy of billions of dollars every day.

As you listen to Senator McCain and his surrogates assail me, please ask yourself: how are these attacks going to improve my life? How are they going to help solve the common crises we face?

The country deserves a serious discussion of policy, not more politics. Because politics is what got us into this mess."

Hoping that belly can be fired,