1) Barack Obama learned great lessons from Karl Marx.
Socialism, class warfare, and income redistribution has one very effective political tool...strengths in numbers. From the beginning, Barack Obama has been touting that his plan will cut taxes for 95% of the people. Barack Obama has been able to carry this simple message of economic populism
Economic populism, the staple of the Democratic left, demonizes Wall Street and glorifies Main Street. It rails against unequal distribution of wealth and warns, perpetually, that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. From Andrew Jackson's frontier democracy to Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, economic populism has powered the left.
Give credit where it is due. Barack Obama has effectively sold his message. He bemoaned the growing income gap, wage stagnation, tax cuts for "the rich", and a deregulation environment that benefits the few at the expense of the many. Furthermore, Obama has effectively framed those getting a tax increase as Warren Buffett and himself. In this way, Obama is not that much different than Marx. In much the same way, Marx bemoaned the capitalistic system benefitted the few at the expense of the many. He said the system was taking advantage of the proletariat and unfairly rewarding the bourgeoise. Obama is doing much the same thing.
2) Americans are economically illiterate.
Think about Obama's tax plan for a minute. He wants to raise taxes on the top earners by as much as 10%. Meanwhile, 40% of the population pays no income taxes, only the 6.5% payroll tax, will get a tax cut. (or in reality a tax credit since you can't cut below 0) This is his tax proposal. So, why is he leading? It's because far too many Americans are simply economically brain dead. They see a tax proposal that will cut their own taxes far more than the opponent, and the tax increase comes to someone else.
Most Americans can't make the simple connection. If you punish the job creators, there won't be as many jobs. Americans are simply not economically literate enough to understand that this is boiler plate tax and spend income redistribution. Americans lack of economic understanding is truly frightening really. Obama will lower no one's income tax bracket. Yet, he will raise the top two income tax brackets, the capital gains tax, and the corporate tax. Every single one of his so called tax cuts is a actually an obscure tax credit. That's his plan. Raise the top two tax brackets, the capital gains tax, and corporate tax and every single tax cut is in the form of an obscure tax credit. Meanwhile, he's proposed one trillion Dollars in new spending. Yet, the American people are willing to elect him the new President. Not despite making this the centerpiece of his economic agenda, but because of it. That's simply economically brain dead.
3) The McCain campaign has been totally incompetent in exposing the policy
The most obvious example of this is that Joe the Plumber has been more effective in exposing Obama's plans than the McCain campaign has. Until recently, we have heard nothing from the McCain campaign about the fact that Barack Obama plans on cutting taxes for 40% of the people that currently have an income tax rate of zero. Senator McCain should have been visiting successful small businesses all over the country and ask the owners what would happen to their business if Obama's tax plan went into effect. Why did he need Joe the Plumber to expose the obvious fallacy that raising taxes on the most successful hurts everyone? McCain has done little to point out that a series of targeted tax cuts, tax credits, and tax increases will complicate the tax code. In fact, I've never once heard McCain point out that Obama's so called tax cuts are actually nothing more than a series of tax credits.
4) Time and Place
The only time we have ever had a President swoop in with a promise for so much government expansion was in 1933. The similarities between FDR and Obama have a lot to do with the state of the economy. One would never be able to propose Socialism and income redistribution unless the economy isn't merely doing bad but on the brink of collapse. The reality is that our economy is on the brink of collapse and most folks blame the naked capitalistic system for getting it there. Barack Obama hasn't merely been effective in selling this economic populism, but he has sold it at just the right time.