When I was a kid in junior high school and first discovered that I had a talent for writing, one of my dreams was to be a political speech writer. I gave up on that dream and instead I write novels among other things. Still, I could not help wishing I was writing Obama's speeches. There is so much more he could be saying to put McCain into proper perspective for Americans and truly show how Obama could benefit this country.
I am not your typical political analyst. I am not even your typical American. I am just a guy with a blog who, as a taxpayer and an American who will be retiring from the workforce in twenty years, with a nephew serving in Iraq, a son who will be going off to college in four years, and two daughters who will be inheriting the outrageous federal deficit this administration has created, has a profound interest in how this election turns out. I listen to my fellow Americans everyday and so I feel I am qualified to say a few things about what Obama should be saying in these debates to reach more Americans and widen his increasing lead in the polls. Not to put words in the man's mouth but the first thing he needs to do is make the differences between his proposed policy changes and McCain's crystal clear. Obama has done more of this in the last debate but he needs to really hammer it home. What follows is an idealized debate between McCain and Obama.
McCain: "Under my Economic Resurgence plan, I would order the Secretary of the Treasury to set aside 350 million dollars to buy up all those adjustable rate mortgages and renegotiate them at the current market value of each home, forgiving the differences in value and absorbing the loss. That would stop the bleeding at its source which is the housing industry, stabilize the economy, and allow millions of Americans to stay in their homes."
Obama: "John, that is an extremely generous plan. But with a multi-trillion dollar deficit and a billion dollar a month war increasing that deficit every day, I'm just not as convinced as you that we can afford to be so generous. That's why I have a plan that would not make Americans, many of whom cannot and never will be able to afford homes or who did not get caught up in this economic mess, foot the bill for this housing crisis. My plan, would be to set up a National Mortgage Company, similar to the one Roosevelt set up during the Great Depression, and allow homeowners to refinance their homes and get out of these interest-only and adjustable rate loans into government backed low-interest 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. These mortgages would still be at their existing loan amount. There would be no lowering of the loan amount with the taxpayers absorbing the loss of equity. These new loans, however, would not adjust and increase their loan payments and with a lower interest rate, and I propose offering everyone 5% interest, their mortgage payments would decrease so that they can stay in their homes and pay off their mortgages and the government would make back its investment rather than assume another loss that would bail out Wall Street and these predatory lenders at the expense of the American taxpayer.
That would be a great start but even that alone would not solve the crisis that the Bush administration has dragged us into. We need to spend 100 billion on a "New Deal" program to put all of those out of work construction workers back to work building roads and bridges so that they have renewed buying power which will allow them to reinvest in our economy by purchasing goods and services. This increased purchasing power will increase retail spending and allow businesses to expand due to increased demand for these products and services putting even more people back to work. Not supply side economics but demand side economics. See, just like we all learned back in high school, demand must push supply, not the other way around. Giving more money to suppliers is not the way to build the economy. It is the consumers who need help and when they have the money to start buying again that's when the economy will prosper once more."
McCain: "My opponent still will not admit that the Surge in Iraq has worked when he predicted it would not. He predicted that it would increase sectarian violence when in fact violence has decreased. My fellow Americans, I do plan to bring our troops home. The difference is that I plan to bring them home with honor and victory and my opponent would bring them home in defeat."
Obama: "John, when you talk about victory, it makes me wonder if you have been paying attention the last six years. We are spending billions of dollars a month in a war that America should have never been involved in and losing thousands of American lives. This war has bankrupted America. Your war is exactly what men like Bin Laden wanted. It has crippled this country. You have accomplished the Taliban's goal by drawing us into a senseless war and dragging it out for six years. Look at America before the war and look at it now and you tell me who's winning, John. I think your passion for war and victory is clouding your judgement here. Whether the Surge is working is not the issue, the issue is should we be there at all. The issue is that your war has strengthened the Taliban and weakened America. The issue is that your war has cost more than 4,000 American lives. The issue is that while we have been fighting a senseless war in Iraq, who never attacked America, we have been losing the war in Afghanistan, we have let Bin Laden slip from our grasps. If that's what you call military success, then I don't think the American people can afford your brand of victory."
MCain: "I have served my country honorably as a soldier in the United States Armed Forces and veterans know that they can count on me to take care of them and look out for their interests."
Obama: "Do they know that you have one of the worst voting records in the US senate when it comes to veteran affairs? That you have not supported bills that would have increased spending for veteran health care and education? That you were given a "D" by the nonpartisan veterans’ group The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA’s) Action Fund as part of its congressional report card? I myself received a “B” from the group which I am not proud of and vow to bring up to an "A" but McCain is among just three senators who scored a “D.” Only one senator, Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), received a lower score than McCain scoring an “F.” Is that what you call looking out for our veterans?"
McCain: " I have a plan to give a $5,000 tax credit to every American and allow them to go out and purchase their own health Insurance."
Obama: "What John McCain is not telling you about his health plan is that he would put a tax on people who currently have employer health care in order to subsidize it. With the average cost of healthcare at $12,000 a year, giving each American a $5,000 tax credit will still not bring health coverage within reach of many Americans. His plan to privatize health care would mean that each one of you would be out there on your own fighting against the health insurance companies rather than having your employers to back you. You would see your co-payments and premiums go up and the coverage you receive would decrease because there would be no one to regulate these companies. Letting insurance companies operate across state lines would mean that companies would move to states with the very least amount of regulations so that they could avoid accountability. As McCain himself has said, his health care plan would do for health care what he has done for the economy. Is that what you want? My plan would allow those who are happy with their existing health care programs to keep them and those without health care would be able to get the same type of health care as members of congress.
Look, one of the biggest drains on the health care system is people without health care who are not able to afford preventive care and so they don't go to the hospital until they are extremely ill and the price of treating them is much greater. And we are paying the bill for this emergency care right now. My system would allow them to receive medicine and treatment that would keep them out of the emergency rooms for things like colds and toothaches and keep medical costs down. The choice is clear. John McCain's system would increase the costs of health care for everyone and my plan would decrease costs for everyone."
McCain: "Obama wants to increase the size of government and raise your taxes. his record is clear. he has voted for tax increases 94 times."
Obama: "That's just nonsense. By that way of looking at things, you yourself John have voted for tax increases 477 times throughout your career."
McCain: "I believe that life begins at conception while my opponent is for abortion rights."
Obama: "Since neither of us have ever been pregnant, I think that we are the last people who should be making decisions on what women should do in that circumstance. Now, I am personally not in favor of abortion and would do everything in my power to make sure women had other options. First by increasing abstinence and birth control education for our teenagers because history has shown that abstinence education alone does not work. Secondly, I would make parental classes and health care programs and assistance for unwed and underprivileged mothers a priority under my administration. But I will not overturn Roe V. Wade. I think that would be a mistake."
McCain: "Obama opposed offshore drilling while I am in favor of it. I think that the only way to bring down the cost of oil and cut our reliance on foreign Middle-Eastern oil is to increase domestic oil supplies by lifting the moratorium on offshore drilling."
Obama: "America is one of the largest consumers of oil in the world. We consume 25% of the World's oil while we posses only 3%. Even if we drilled for every last drop of American oil we would not put a dent in the price of oil for at least ten years and we would still be dependent on foreign oil for 90% of our oil. The only way to decrease our dependence on foreign oil is to decrease consumption. We must have more efficient homes and cars.
I propose mandating that all cars must have 50 miles per gallon fuel efficiency by 2013 and 75 miles per gallon by 2020. New homes must exceed the model energy code by 50% by 2013 and I would give a tax credit to homeowners and businesses for switching to energy efficient appliances and renewable energies to heat and cool their homes and businesses including solar energy. I would also create a federal program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to come up with a renewable source of energy to end our reliance on fossil fuels once and for all. McCain's plan of trying to drill our way out of this is less than a Band Aid it is just letting the wound continue to bleed."
I know, I put some of my own ideas in their along with Obama's but only because I think they are ideas that Obama is going to need to adopt in order to hold off McCain. It will not be enough for him to point out the problems with McCain's Economic Resurgence Plan. He needs to propose his own, in clear simple terms that Americans can understand. He needs to hammer McCain on health care and off-shore drilling and he needs to attack John McCain at his heart by pointing out his poor voting record on veteran's rights. If Obama does all of that, I have no doubt that he will be our next president because it is definitely time for a change.