Four years ago, a relentlessly upbeat Democratic convention did no damage to George Bush. In retrospect, the beginning of the end was only six days later when the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth launched their smear campaign.
Is history repeating itself? So far this year, few speakers have mentioned McCain. To her credit, Nancy Pelosi took on John McCain at length, saying he "has the experience of being wrong." She criticizes his votes on the Bush economic policies, children's health care, renewable energy, and – of course – the war in Iraq.
Hopefully her focus is a sign of things to come. Unfortunately, she missed the best arguments against McCain. She focused on McCain's mixed congressional record while ignoring the far more conservative agenda he is campaigning on.
As president, McCain would not only extend the Bush tax cuts – he would double their size. Most of the benefit would go to corporations, who already pay among the lowest tax rates in the world, while 100 million families would get nothing at all.
And Pelosi's right that McCain opposed expanding children's health insurance. But that's the least of it. He has proposed an ambitious health care plan that would tax workers' health benefits, raising taxes on millions of workers. He would also deregulate insurance markets, making it harder for millions of Americans to find coverage.
John McCain is running on an economic agenda that makes George Bush look sensible. The more voters hear about it, the less popular McCain will be.
--Robert Gordon and James Kvaal