Doing More on the Economy

Marc Ambinder over at the Atlantic does a good job summing up today's political messaging as it relates to the economy. In "Fannie, Freddie, or the Future," Ambinder argues that speaking about the future of the American economy is a better political strategy, and, that going for the gutter, as the McCain camp announced they were going to do, while politically enticing, might not be the best way to win (especially executed this poorly).

[Keating economics] successfully jammed up McCain's message of the day, which is that Obama is somehow to blame for the excesses of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Blaming Democrats for Fannie and Freddie's collapse -- implicity, blaming the government for giving people home loans who couldn't afford -- isn't beanbag, but the McCain campaign is using it the way that Democrats used to respond to foreign policy questions: by stumbling around, latching on to a poll-tested response, and ignoring the bigger picture.

Ayers and Keating aside, the leading edge of this debate is about what do we do post-bailout to restore confidence in our economy. The public will rightly pressure both candidates for more answers. It's an opportunity for somebody to come up with a newer, global message. or at least sound like they get the international dimension of our meltdown.

Hitting back with the Keating Five was political necessity from the Obama camp, and as Ambinder writes, has worked today, but Obama's real strength in recent weeks has come on the back of his strong response to the financial crisis. The current narrative about Obama's calm reaction compared with McCain's erratic reaction, believeable because it reinforced preexisting memes about both candidates, will serve Obama well for the next month.

Now, as the Obama campaign launches its Keating Economics piece, Obama himself expands his message on the economy and hits McCain on trying to turn the page. Today in Asheville, North Carolina, Obama had this to say:

We are going to have to then move on an aggressive plan to deal with some of the underlying structural problems in the economy, including the continuing decline in the housing market. Now Senator McCain and I have a debate tomorrow night, and obviously the American people are going to be anxious to hear from one of the two people who’s going to be the next president and responsible for dealing with this economic mess, what their plans are.

As NDN has argued, that plan must include action from Congress and the President to do more to keep people in their homes. For more on NDN's reponse to the financial crisis, visit Keep People in Their Homes.