Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Obama's leading, but he has a lot of work to do

So, the new Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll gives Obama a 47 to 41 lead over McCain. The Journal is right to point out that Obama's lead is way below voter sentiment when the question is which party is preferred to win the White House. The choice then is 51 to 35 for Democrats over Republicans.

"...Sen. Obama continues to do poorly among white male voters, according to the poll. More ominous is his weakness among white women, particularly suburbanites, who generally are open to Democratic candidates and whose votes could be decisive."
-- WSJ/NBC News Poll

Obama has a lot of work to do to win more white voters. He has to do that not just by talking -- how he won in the Democratic primaries against early big favorite Hillary Clinton -- but by doing. Obviously he can't do things that a sitting President can. But he can say, "This is what I will do." Like getting rid of the terribly regressive FICA tax for the 67 million workers who make less than the median income of $32,140. That would put an average of $3,800 in each worker's pockets -- money they could spend on education, home improvements, whatever, to build a better life for themselves. More details, and how the proposal would be funded, below.

As the first black candidate for President, Obama should also do something big and dramatic about improving race relations in America. He made a step in that direction in his "More Perfect Union" speech in Philadelphia in March. But that was a response to his former pastor Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.'s racial rants. Obama needs to go beyond Wright -- who will be a historical footnote -- and engage both white and black citizens with action. Obviously that would include proposals to confront the stubborn gap in the academic results of black students compared to white ones. It would also include tackling crime and other big problems in low-income black neighborhoods. Here, Obama should be able to use his experiences from his early efforts organizing in tough Chicago neighborhoods.

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