This is the meaning of Obama's key economic policy, in blunt, harsh terms you would never hear from him. This is the wedge issue that Obama seeks to create, and, if he does so, it will be the means for him to win a convincing victory (one that's Electoral College chicanery-proof).
It's the Microeconomy, Stupid
I do not think Iraq, or foreign policy/national security generally, will be central to the campaign or its outcome. Each candidate has already garnered the supporters for whom this issue will be central, and that number will be less by November. Obama's current international tour should serve to demonstrate that there is no hesitation abroad about letting us elect him President (as if that really mattered), so we can check off that box.
It also provides a distraction and delay from what could be a more telling debate on military policy--a subject on which Obama will need to beef up his team by September, when he will begin to get intelligence briefings which should make it easier to avoid gaffes in the big debates. I'm talking about weapons programs, numerical strength of the different branches of the armed forces, enlistment--very important decisions that the next President will make and Congress will ratify.
Immigration, gun control, abortion, death penalty--these are all the political baggage which Obama can deal with, must deal with, in order to successfully execute his strategy, which boils down to cutting something like a 12-point election day deficit among white voters to a deficit of 6-8%. Whites must be placated in their backwards views on these sensitive topics--Obama must seek to moderate the intensity of debate and reduce these issues' importance--in order not to lose a point here or there. The ritual incantations of unqualified, unthinking support for entitlements and Israel are required to protect the Democratic base from McCain raiding tactics.
No, it will be the specific domestic issue of the economy which will determine the outcome (like 1992, as some BTH have noted). The President has relatively little leverage on the macroeconomic course of destiny, which is basically market dynamics misshapen slightly by the tinkering of professionals (the President is fully included in the discussion but doesn't have a vote). He does, or can, have a significant effect on the microeconomic level though, by helping to shape the winners and losers resulting from political developments with major domestic economic impact.
But Who Are These "Bushites"?
Take Dubya's Administration. His decisions have had a major, positive impact on a few, identifiable groups. Military contractors, especially on-site service providers, oil executives, commodity producers in general, all those for whom continuing unsafe or unsustainable practices is critical to their business models, real estate kingpins, certain types of market speculators--these are the leading protagonists and winners of the Bushite Recovery of 2002-07. (Iran and China, too, but that's another story.)
Many components of the victorious Republican national coalitions of 2000 and 2004 feel poorly done by the Bushite Administration. "Conservatives"--meaning those who are concerned about the growth of the public vs. private sector--got nothing but slippage. Religious evangelists not much more, besides lip service and the Roberts/Alito positions, and that's not enough considering their decisive involvement in key states. A large number of them are getting more interested in preserving man's dominion (i.e., global warming, etc.) since the Republicans don't seem to be able to deliver Armageddon. These groups are not Bushite, they were allied with the true Bushites, and they're walking away. McCain's opportunity lies in his ability to appeal to many of them.
No, outside of their specified agents in Federal government, the true Bushite constituents are the ones we identified above. Obama can win the election if he can make the average American understand that this phony recovery which ended a year ago had certain identifiable beneficiaries, and that we can, at least, target for taxation future recognition of their ill-gotten incomes. Simply by letting certain tax cuts expire. It's the reverse of the classic tax ploy, the "oil depletion allowance" .
Yes, some will identify this as class warfare. There is that element, but that charge is an oversimplification that will not impress the voting public. It will actually be a squeezing of one segment of the upper class, a bit of revenge that voters will endorse. Though it will never be presented to them so baldly as I do.