Barack Obama was in Toledo today, giving a lengthy, detailed speech on the economy; slowly, he's adding more and more proposals to his generic "dudes, I got this" anti-panic agenda. The speech is up here, and the big proposal is this:
For those Americans in danger of losing their homes, today I'm also proposing a three-month moratorium on foreclosures. If you are a bank or lender that is getting money from the rescue plan that passed Congress, and your customers are making a good-faith effort to make their mortgage payments and re-negotiate their mortgages, you will not be able to foreclose on their home for three months. We need to give people the breathing room they need to get back on their feet.
That's an idea bandied around since last year, when Hillary Clinton proposed it. It's also, as Ben Smith points out, something Obama once proposed. This stage of the campaign, though, feels like 1992 or 1980 or even 1932, with the challenger, feeling his oats, proposing more action items as the big day gets closer. Combine it with Obama's attacks on Republicans and you start to see similarities to late stages of the FDR-Hoover race. (Late into the campaign, pundits like Mencken still thought Hoover would pull it off.) From an FDR speech at about this stage in the campaign:
The farmers of the United States know that today thousands of mortgages upon the farms of the United States are being foreclosed. The president stated that most of those mortgages now being foreclosed represented cases where the farmers were willing to have such mortgages foreclosed. I think I know the mind and the heart of the American farmer, and it is inconceivable to me that the president of the United States can believe that the farmers of the United States are willing and anxious to have foreclosed the mortgages upon their homes in which their fathers and mothers lived and died and in which their children were born.
If the president is sincerely of the opinion that these farmers are willing to be driven from their homes we cannot hope for any enthusiastic action upon his part to stop the foreclosures. I know that the last thing upon earth that a farmer wants is to be foreclosed, to give up his home, and it will be our aim to provide a practical and immediate remedy for the intolerable situation now existing.
At the same it feels like McCain's proposal for the government to buy up bad mortgages and provide a 30-year fixed rate is falling off the radar. But it's clearly the best thing McCain has going for him; hence Obama's attempt to short-circuit it.
UPDATE: To be clear, when I say the McCain plan is his "best bet" I mean that it's polling well. And the continued McCain rout in the polls suggests that Ayers Week did nothing for him.