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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Wall Street Journal: Why Obama Can't Close the Sale

Wall Street Journal: Why Obama Can't Close the Sale
By AL HUBBARD and NOAM NEUSNER
September 3, 2008; Page A23

Even before John McCain shook up the presidential race by tapping Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, polls weren't showing the late-August lead that Barack Obama (and many Republicans) expected. Why so?

It's not because of the brilliance of the McCain campaign. Rather we believe that -- despite the media's best efforts to exempt Mr. Obama's policies from critical examination -- American voters aren't sheep. They pay attention to the candidates and positions and make wise decisions about who should lead the country.

True, Mr. Obama enjoys several advantages. Republicans are struggling nationwide in head-to-head contests. Democrats lead in voter registration, and have a well-funded presidential candidate.

Yet Americans have not committed to Mr. Obama. Why?

Clearly, Mr. Obama's weakness on foreign policy is a factor. He has a knee-jerk preference for diplomacy with China, Europe and Russia over the security of the American people and our closest allies. He hasn't explained his shifting positions on Iraq and Iran, among other hot spots. And he felt compelled to make up for his experience gap with Mr. McCain by picking Sen. Joe Biden to be his running mate.

But here's the thing: It's not that Mr. Obama hasn't been specific enough in his governing plans. To the contrary, he has been very specific about his tax policy, health-care and energy proposals. It's that voters are paying attention and appear not to like what Candidate Obama is saying.

Mr. Obama has proposed a massive tax increase on investors, business owners, and the "wealthy." At a time when the American people rate the economy as the central issue of the campaign, a tax hike doesn't make a lot of political sense. Voters know that a tax hike won't help the economy.

Moreover, Mr. Obama's tax plans would directly or indirectly harm U.S. investors by raising the capital gains and dividend taxes. More than half of U.S. households are equity owners, so Mr. Obama's proposal risks alienating half the population.

To read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122039919493892941.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

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