It’s risen a notch. But the candidates are still looking for key
words to level blame on their opponent that will stick in this campaign.

Obama is now saying McCain isn’t racist….he’s cynical. This story is all over the news.

“In no way do I think that John McCain’s campaign was
being racist,” Obama said in his first meeting with reporters since
predicting that McCain and other Republicans would try to scare voters
because Obama looks unlike “all those other presidents on the dollar
bills” — most of them older white men.

“I think they’re cynical,” he said. “And I think they want to distract people from talking about the real issues.”

Hold on. Note that Obama took the initiative to predict “that McCain
and other Republicans would try to scare voters…” because Obama looks
different than all the presidents on American currency. Come on. That’s
goading. And distracting.

But at least Sen. Obama retracted it (in a way) and re-framed the blame. Now McCain is cynical.

As for McCain….I’m listening to the car radio this evening and hear
a news update on a Chicago station that says McCain calls Obama a “big
spender”. I’m thinking…’okay, at least the name-calling is rising to a
different level now, still political, but not as ugly as it has been
and could be.’ So when I do an internet search for any news story on
that McCain clip, it really only came to this Chicago Tribune blog piece. It has some remarks McCain said at the Racine, Wisconsin Civic Center.

Senator Obama says he’s going to change Washington, but
his solution is to simply make government bigger and raise your taxes
to pay for it. We’ve been doing that for years and it hasn’t worked. In
the few years he’s been in the Senate, he has requested nearly a $1
billion in pork barrel spending for his state. That’s nearly a million
dollars for every day that he’s been in office…

And my friends, Senator Obama is an impressive speaker, and the
beauty of his words has attracted many people, especially among the
young, to his campaign. I applaud his talent and his success, and all
Americans should be proud of his accomplishment. My concern with
Senator Obama is that on issues big and small, what he says and what he
does are often two different things. And he doesn’t seem to understand…

What doesn’t he seem to understand? Tax and spend policy consequences.

Senator Obama says he’ll only raise taxes on the rich,
but in the Senate he voted for tax hikes that would have impacted those
making just $32,000 a year. He’s proposed tax increases on income
taxes, capital gains taxes, dividends taxes. Pretty much anything you
can tax, he wants to tax more. My friends, on Social Security, he wants
to raise Social Security taxes. My position, and I am opposed to
raising taxes, including Security Taxes. I have no doubt about my
opposition.

If the campaigns could continue on the tenor of this battle over ideas, risen above the level of ad hominen attack, Americans may listen more and think about what they’re both saying on the merits of the argument.

Tonight’s Journal Editorial Report
on Fox will be interesting to look at once it’s up on video archive on
Fox News. It scrutinized both candidates for positions they take on
economics and how much is still “on the table” for both Obama and
McCain. Bottom line: they haven’t found themselves yet in a policy
position that sticks. Both Obama and McCain are still drifting, and the
economy is sagging.

Congress just recessed in spite of failing to reach agreement on
domestic oil production, though some members of the House stayed after
Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered in-house cameras and microphones off and
lights out. At least some of them want to do something for the people
who think we elect leaders to send to Washington and solve problems.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....