Polls consistently show that the American people have a greater appetite for expanded, activist government than they have in recent memory. A key for the election will be for McCain to demonstrate that apart from being too naive to protect the nation from terrorist threats, Obama will also implement a domestic agenda far beyond what the American people will approve. With most analysts now taking it as a given that Democrats will control both the House and Senate, McCain can now attack the liberal powers in Congress as well:
"You'll see expansions in health care," [Barney] Frank said. "I think you'll see an increase in the rights to join unions. You'll see increased regulation. You're going to see the updated [Securities and Exchange Commission], the updated [National Labor Relations Board], an updated Medicare.... We'll get back to the business of building affordable housing. I think you'll see substantial activity."
This at a conference that featured praise for "Scandinavian-style socialism" and calls for "cuts in military spending." McCain is probably too lucky to hope that leading Democrats will be as foolish as Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) in giving the game away:
"All we're doing is going into the basket and saying, 'Damn, what did they do in '32, what did they do in '34, what did they do in '36,' and we're pulling them out, dusting them off, giving them a paint job, correcting the fenders a bit, and we're using them," Kanjorski said. "To get us through the horrendous problems we may have over the next several years, we've got to make these old programs work, and we've got to be as inventive as hell."
There's no way the American people will vote in 2008 for a recreation of the New Deal agenda, framed as such. But at heart, that's what Democrats are promising. Republicans will need to press Obama about whether he will stop the extreme liberals in Congress from completely rolling back the clock to the 1930s, if he's elected president.