Battleground Banter: Where will independent voters go in 2008?
Battleground Banter: Where will independent voters go in 2008?
Where will independent voters go in 2008?
A recent poll asked Wisconsin voters whether they think the country is headed in the right direction. Just 17 percent of respondents said it was. That means that only the most hard-core George W. Bush supporters are looking for more of the failed policies of the past eight years.
And that is exactly why Wisconsin’s independent voters will vote for Barack Obama on November 4.
Republicans will talk about the “maverick” John McCain, but that John McCain is a distant memory. The John McCain of today has shamelessly cast aside his independent streak – voting with George W. Bush more than 95 percent of the time last year.
McCain has said he thinks the economy has made “great progress” over the past eight years, and is running on a platform of more of the same.
That means more tax cuts for the wealthy elite and large corporations, while working and middle class families struggle just to get by. It means no plan to fix a health care system that has left 47 million Americans uninsured. It means gambling our Social Security on the stock market, giving Big Oil a blank check and calling it an energy policy, and continuing to pour $10 billion a month in Iraq while neglecting critical needs right here in the United States and letting terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan regroup.
Maybe it’s the quarter-century spent in Washington. Or maybe it’s owning multiple mansions, wearing $500 shoes, flying around in your own personal jet, and being so wealthy that leave McCain thinking the line between rich and the middle class lies somewhere around $5 million per year.
Whatever it is, the John McCain we’re seeing in this race is almost comically out of touch, and independent voters are looking for a president who understands the issues facing them and their families.
Barack Obama understands that the other 83 percent of Wisconsin voters desperately want a change. He knows that big business and big oil don’t need any more tax breaks, and that hard-working families can barely keep up with skyrocketing prices. That’s why he’ll close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas, and cut taxes by $1,000 for 100 million American middle class and working families.
Obama knows that millions of Americans are one unlucky break away from bankruptcy and millions more struggle to keep up with the insurance bills. That’s why his health care plan covers every American and cuts costs for the average family by $2,500 per year.
He knows that we need an energy policy that breaks America’s addiction to foreign oil, which is why he has proposed a comprehensive plan that truly invests in alternative energy, creates 5 million green jobs, and promotes the responsible domestic production of oil and natural gas.
He knows we need a foreign policy that rebuilds our alliances, responsibly ends the war in Iraq, and refocuses our foreign policy on 21st century imperatives like combating global terrorism and securing loose nuclear weapons.
On every issue in this election, the choice is crystal clear: more of the same, or change we can believe in. At a time when only the most rabidly partisan Republicans think America is on the right track, expect Wisconsin’s independent voters to cast their ballots for change.
-- Rogers is executive vice president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO.
The 2008 presidential election is less than 80 days away. Three independent polls released recently show John McCain has cut Barack Obama’s lead in Wisconsin in half in the past month. Obama now leads McCain by between 4 and 6 percentage points -- barely above the margin of error. These same polls show independents are now evenly split between McCain and Obama in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin voters have a proud history of voting for the person and not necessarily the party. Want proof? Ross Perot got nearly 550,000 votes here in the 1992 presidential race and Eddie Thompson got nearly 200,000 votes in the 2002 gubernatorial race.
Wisconsin has voted Democratic in the last five presidential elections, but those same voters returned GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson to office a record four times during the same period. The bottom line is the majority of voters in Wisconsin want candidates that can get the job done regardless of party affiliation.
Many Democratic pundits would like you to believe that independents will follow Senator Obama like lemmings all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I find this theory comical. Don’t forget less than a year ago many Democrats were saying Hillary’s primary and general election victories were inevitable. We all know how that ended!
It is true some independents and even some Republicans are dissatisfied with President Bush's job performance; they sent the president a clear message in 2006. However, Bush isn’t on the ballot this year. The 2008 presidential race will be determined by voter attitudes towards McCain and Obama’s vision for America’s future, and not about Bush decisions of the past.
John McCain was always in the “top tier” of GOP candidates but few thought he would actually win the nomination. Instead, McCain proved again that he is a survivor.
It may have been the best thing to happen to the GOP.
McCain has always been a maverick. He has demonstrated a willingness to work with Democrats to get the job done on many issues, including campaign finance reform, immigration reform, and energy policy. He bucked the GOP on certain tax cuts he didn’t believe the country could afford and he led the fight to implement the successful “surge” in Iraq because he disagreed with the original Iraq war strategy. In short, he is exactly the type of candidate that independents love. McCain is a doer not a talker.
Obama, on the other hand, has voted with the Democrats 97 percent of the time and he hasn’t led on any major issue in his brief congressional career. In short, Obama is a talker not a doer. Does that sound like change you can believe in?
Independents are more interested in results than partisanship. Over the next 80 days a majority of independents and undecided voters will conclude that John McCain represents the type of change that will lead to real results on important issues.
-- McCoshen is senior vice president of the lobbying firm Capitol Consultants and served as Commerce secretary under former GOP. Gov. Tommy Thompson.