Change you can believe in

Change You Must Believe In:

Looking at the ratings of the Obama campaign commercial, you have to be struck by how few people watched it.

Does that imply that the poll numbers are wrong? Maybe, but not necessarily.

I think the thing it may say is that the support he enjoys -- at or just under 50% of voters, by most measures -- is not about policy. A lot of these people want to believe which, to a certain degree, means not looking too closely.

The Democratic plan, as the last few days have made clear, is twofold:

1) To raise taxes in a recession,

2) To defund the military in a war.

On point #1, the only question is how massive the tax increases will be. Sen. Obama's commercial made use of a new number -- $200,000. If you've been watching the debate closely, you know this is a shift. It has been $250,000 until now. Sen. Biden recently said $150,000. The movement is on, downward, toward the real number. How low will it go? What will the effect be of higher capital gains taxes and higher income taxes on a struggling economy?

On point #2, Sen. Barney Frank has said that he wants cuts of as much as 25%. One presumes that means an end to operations in Iraq at least, an end to research and development, and spending constrained to replacing worn equipment with the generation-old designs already extant. Sen. Obama has separetly called for ending, delaying or subjecting to yet-another-review-past-the-QDR all R&D and procurement.

American power has been built on technology. The reason we succeed on the battlefield is not that Americans are braver than any other kind of man, or even that they are more virtuous. It is that we have good technology coupled with good training and tactics. Everything we do arises from this union, both parts of which involve large R&D and training budgets. The decrease in the effectiveness of IEDs against American forces, for example, came from a combination of new technology to identify and jam IEDs; plus a careful review of evidence, by experts in IED Defeat cells, to develop tactics and protocols that defend us. These experts must be either hired or trained; and they must be paid.

What will the effect be of such decisions as these be on national security? They're a move to try to be more like the Russian army: a big, cheap force.

That means that you pay with lives what you save in dollars.

Don't look too closely. He won't fight wars, maybe. He's called for an increase in the number of Marines and soldiers; why would he need them? Well, maybe he doesn't mean that. He's promised to go into Pakistan's tribal areas. Well, maybe that's just to sound hawkish in the debates. He may not get to be the one who decides.

What then? Negotiate? Iran has already stated its preconditions. Do we meet them? Use France as a go-between to pre-negotiate better ones?

It's best not to think too much about that. Don't look too closely. Just vote. If you want to believe, that's the only way to make it work.

The Senator should be glad no one wanted to see it. His support hinges on that key group, the people who are determined to believe.

UPDATE: Of course, some people can actually listen to what he says, and still believe:

The saddest thing is, McCain actually promised to do that. The Obama campaign called the plan "more costly and out-of-touch than we ever imagined."

It's amazing.

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