If Obama is down in the polls, and at risk of blowing the Democrats' third winnable election in a row, the reason isn’t residual racism, or Sarah Palin, or Fox News. The reason is that Obama is not maximizing the teachable moments that history is offering him.
Over the weekend, the Bush administration moved to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Palin didn’t even know that these were not public agencies. In fact, Fannie was once a very well-run public institution—and it didn’t lose a dime until it was privatized. A whole ideology is to blame, and it happens to be the one that Obama is ostensibly running against.
Surely there is an Obama teachable moment here. It isn’t even that complicated. To wit:
- Ordinary homeowners got suckered so that a few fat cats could get very rich.
- The needless damage to the mortgage sector has wreaked much wider harm on the economy--causing other people to lose jobs, not get raises, lose health coverage, and suffer losses to their net worth because of collapsing housing prices.
- This was all the fruit of ultra free-market ideology, as a carried out by an opportunistic Wall Street-Washington axis.
- In competent hands, government can do some things more reliably than Wall Street.
That only took 65 words, less than a typical TV spot. This could also be the subject of a major, high profile Obama speech, laying out all the gory details and drawing the lessons. Other Democrats could be reinforcing the message.
But here’s what the Obama campaign put out Sunday afternoon, the same day that a new USA Today poll was finding McCain ahead by ten points among likely voters:
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