The slumping economy has become a primary contributing factor to McCain’s current struggles.  McCain hasn’t helped matters by fumbling his first response to it.   He has allowed Barack Obama to win the argument on taxes, and it certainly doesn’t help matters when every single ad we’re seeing on TV talks about Barack’s middle class tax cuts and McCain’s tax breaks for big oil and corporations.  Senator McCain has a winnable argument on his economic policies and on his health care plan.  He hasn’t effectively sold either one, and he hasn’t been able to break free from the Bush administration’s economic policies — only some of which played a part in the financial crisis we are in.  All this is good for Barack Obama’s viability as November 4th approaches.

McCain’s lack of a coherent message to counter Obama’s claims about his economic proposals is only part of the reason Republicans are frustrated with McCain.  Some of us just can’t understand why legitimate questions about Barack Obama don’t seem to affect his electability.  As I’ve said in previous posts, I think that the relationships with Ayers and ACORN matter a great deal, but the Democrats’ involvement and complicity in enabling Freddie and Fannie to do what they did is more relevant.  This should be part of the message when we are focused on the economy — the Democrats, including Barack Obama (who took campaign cash from Fannie and Freddie) are complicit in the financial mess we are in today.  It goes without saying that I believe that the Bush administration has made the situation worse by this bailout deal, but we have yet to see the full impact of Congress’ approval of that deal.

Another frustration I have is that McCain doesn’t have a problem with trashing his fellow Republicans whether or not they deserve it, but up until this point in the campaign, he has been relatively hands-off with Obama.  He criticized the NC GOP for running the Wright ad, and the media approved of that move.  He absolutely destroyed Mitt Romney in the primaries with negative attacks.  He clearly did not like Mitt Romney, so it’s no surprise that he hit Romney hard.  What we want from McCain is not to act out of character (as far as the way he normally treats Democrats), but to explain why Barack Obama is the wrong choice for our country.  We aren’t asking for scorched-earth rhetoric from McCain against Obama (at least I’m not) — we are just asking for him to keep raising questions about Obama’s record.

Interesting how the left is willing to condemn all Republicans for the comments of a few random people at McCain-Palin rallies (all of whom are total strangers to the two candidates) while not seeing anything damaging to Barack Obama and his campaign by association with William Ayers, ACORN, Reverend Wright, Father Phleger, and other questionable folks Barack personally knows.  I also think that there’s a difference between saying “Kill him” about Barack and calling him a socialist.   One phrase threatens physical harm to the candidate, and the other simply expresses an a opinion about Barack’s economic policies.

We should not condone or advocate physical violence on any candidate, regardless of how bad you believe their policies would be for the country.  But last time I checked, there was still free speech in this country.   There’s nothing wrong with calling Barack Obama a socialist.  Whether you believe that he is or he isn’t a socialist, we all have the right to express our opinion about that.  This isn’t a post to argue the accuracy of that opinion.  My intention is to defend the right to express that opinion.

There will always be people who take their frustration with McCain and his ineffective campaign too far, and they will say inflammatory things that rightly draw condemnation from both sides of the aisle — and the media will always be there to record the moment it happens.  There are people like me out there who fear a Barack Obama presidency, and it’s not because I believe he’s a Muslim or that he will put terrorists in his Cabinet.  I think he’s a disaster on foreign policy, and that his plans to raise corporate taxes — when corporations are struggling to stay afloat in this economy — would severely damage the prospect of an economic recovery.

I understand McCain’s desire to keep the overheated comments from the audience to a minimum, but if McCain is going to concede that there’s nothing to fear from Barack Obama and that he would make a decent president, that’s a bad strategy for someone who wants to win an election.  McCain needs to explain why Obama would be a risky choice with the economy the way it is and that he is unprepared to confront the global challenges we face with terrorism and the conclusion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (in that exact order).  If he can’t do this,  say hello to President Obama.