Track record— I hope McCain points out as often as possible examples of talk vs. walk in both candidates’ track records. There are many examples of Barack Obama talking about a problem (or claiming to have talked about it) and John McCain actually doing something. The Fannie/Freddie example is perfect. Obama says he warned of the financial crisis a year or so ago. Well, John McCain not only warned of it three years ago, but he did something about it. He sponsored legislation that might have prevented much of the pain we are experiencing today, but Democrats in Congress killed it. Obama talked the talk (at least he claims he did — did anyone out there hear him?), McCain walked the walk.
Another difference in track record where McCain walks and Obama talks is in reforming government. Obama is now talking about change, but when has he ever done it? John McCain has bucked his party and Sarah Palin has too. Both have gone against the grain when they thought it was in the best interest of their state/country and they have made big changes. Obama has “gone along” to get along. If he has stood up to anyone in his party, or to the status quo, I am not aware of it.
One more example is on taxes. Obama is talking about a tax cut for 95 percent of Americans. Never mind that many of those in that 95 percent currently pay no income tax so it would be impossible to cut their taxes — they would not get a tax cut, but would receive a check written on the tax dollars many of the rest of us have paid. But even if you disregard the redistribution of wealth element of Obama’s plan, what in his track record would lead anyone to believe he would deliver on his promise to cut taxes? He is talking about it now, but has he walked that walk? John McCain and Sarah Palin have a track record of cutting taxes.
Yet another example is on the issue of energy and drilling. Republicans have been trying to get Democrats to pursue domestic oil sources for many years, but Democrats have only just now agreed to consider it, after consumers paying $4/gallon for gas demanded it.
More than anything, though, McCain needs to point out how liberal Obama’s voting record has been.
Talk about why judgment and associations are important. Few in the media have been interested in talking about Obama’s associations with some pretty unsavory characters over the past couple of years. It bothered voters in the primary when the words of Jeremiah Wright were exposed and Obama was forced to disown the man he said he would never disown, but by then it was too late for it to sink his campaign. Now voters have internalized that one and any new reference to it may just be dismissed as old news. But it fits into a track record that is troubling. If McCain can explain to voters why it matters that Obama has formed alliances with the likes of Ayers and Rezko and Wright and others, voters might consider it. If he doesn’t, any reference will be seen as mudslinging.
If McCain can effectively show voters that Obama does not have a good track record on cutting taxes, or on energy, or on reforming government, or on many of the other things he now claims he supports, but that he has a track record of voting an extreme left agenda, some voters might have second thoughts about whether or not Obama can deliver on his promises. If McCain can also make voters question Obama’s judgment through his associations with Ayers, Rezko, Wright, etc., he might make some headway. Most of all though, what would hurt Obama in tonight’s debate is his own performance. Expectations are much higher for Obama tonight than they were in the first debate and he will not have a teleprompter. If Obama has a few “uh, er, uhm” moments, that could hurt him, but I would really be surprised if he is still doing that at this point.