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Barack Obama and the Politics of Fear

11:59 AM, Oct 16, 2008 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
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An interesting take from Windsor Mann in the Examiner today.

Why is Obama, who spent the first half of 2008 denouncing the politics of fear, all of the sudden trying to scare voters? The candidate of change changed his mind, I suspect, because he decided it was time to face reality.

He recognized a basic truth: Fear is what successful campaigns are all about, and pretending otherwise is stupid and naïve. Candidates can't be scared of scaring voters if they want to win. There's a reason politicians use fear: It works.

So, Mann argues, Obama is practicing "the economics of fear."

In a speech last week, Obama suggested that, without him in the White House guiding the economy, "it will be harder for you to get a mortgage for your home or the loans you need to buy a car or send your children to college…. Thousands of businesses could close. Millions of jobs could be lost. A long and painful recession could follow."

Not exactly a message of hope.

An avid reader of old Democratic playbooks, Obama is doing his best to scare the bejesus out of old people. His campaign is running ads warning seniors that John McCain's Social Security policies will "gamble with your life savings."

Another Obama ad says McCain supports "cutting Social Security benefits in half"-a claim that FactCheck.org called "a falsehood sure to frighten seniors who rely on their Social Security checks."