Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Big Picture Talking Points

Kudos to the McCain campaign for mastering the art of separating the particles of major issues and offering these disembodied fragments as if each were a meaningful whole. Consider offshore oil drilling. John McCain promotes this single proposal as if finding new sources of old fuel is policy enough for a nation desperate for cheap power. The GOP nominee’s energy proposal offers no link to economics other than the candidate’s promise that more oil will bring lower prices.
Senator McCain has had no particular economic policy, other than to promise to extend the Bush tax cuts, presumably as a stimulus. Again, unlike Senator Obama, he makes no link between a new energy policy and the potential for economic renewal, boosting education standards or clearing some moral high ground in international affairs.
With regard to education, Senator McCain’s policy seems to comprise providing vouchers for children in failing school districts, and after saying he would freeze discretionary federal funding, which would include money for schools, Senator McCain now says he will fully fund No Child Left Behind. (For a keen analysis and comparison of the two candidates’ education plans please read David Brooks http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/opinion/29brooks.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

John McCain’s policy proposals bring to mind the opposite of an impressionist painting. Up close, each element looks sharp. But step back, and it’s a mess.

Barack Obama by contrast has a coherent policy. He has integrated energy, economics, education and foreign affairs into an expansive plan for national renewal. His plans are so comprehensive and well-entwined that it’s tempting to reckon that McCain has been able to determine the terms of debate with his pitiful particulate policies because Senator Obama’s sweeping yet fundamentally sensible—and wholly necessary-- vision is a bit much for people to get their heads around.

So I am hoping that as advocates for Barack Obama, we can start talking about his joined up policies and the promise they have for our country. Let’s start with energy, the economy and education.
Simply put, Barack Obama has called for an Apollo Mission level investment in clean energy technology. This would necessarily involve lots of money for education, particularly in those areas where American students presently under perform: math and science. It would also necessarily involve creating new jobs, and not just openings for new workers in existing fields, but altogether new types of employment.
Please take a look at the following links to familiarize yourself with the big picture. Over the coming posts I hope to be able to reduce a number of the points that emerge from these documents to the kind of thing you can convey quickly, and with a smile in casual conversation. We only have a few weeks to convince those who are not yet persuaded that change is not only necessary and possible, but as rich with promise as we have come to believe.
On Energy: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/newenergy
On the Economy: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/

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