Once you get past the soaring oratory, to experience a speech by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., is to be hit with an astoundingly lengthy list of promises.
"I don't know how any reasonable person" could think he'd really be able to accomplish everything he's pledging to do, said the mother-in-law of a colleague, a Missouri woman who intends to vote for Obama.
Just today in Sarasota, Fla., the Democratic presidential nominee said that he'd:
"give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
"eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
"give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
"end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
"give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
"eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
"create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
"invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
"reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
build "a new electricity grid";
"build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
"eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
"lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
"if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
"end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
"invest in early childhood education";
"recruit an army of new teachers";
"pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
"make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
"stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
"end this war in Iraq";
"finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
"increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
"invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
"No more homeless veterans"; and
"no more fighting for disability payments."
This on top of his 30-minute infomercial last night, and the myriad other pledges and promises he's made throughout the last 21 months.
It's quite a list!
He does call for some sacrifices, though nothing that would equal the cost of these measures.
"Washington is going to have to tighten its belt. It's going to have to put off spending on things we don't need. As president, I'm gonna go through the federal budget, line-by-line, and we're going to end programs that we don't need. We're gonna have to make the ones we do need work better and cost less."
Of course, he'll soon be "asking folks who are making more than a quarter million dollars a year to go back to the tax rate they were paying in the 1990s before the Bush tax cuts."
And in a way of attempting to head off at the pass any criticisms that there's no way the U.S. can afford all this, he says supporters should tell skeptics that ending the war will save the U.S. $10 billion a month.
The AP's Calvin Woodward took a look at Obama's assertion that he's "offered spending cuts above and beyond" what he's pledging to spend, and he concluded that's "accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by 'eliminating programs that don't work' masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are -- beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq."
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., too is making unrealistic promises. As the Tax Policy Center says of both candidates, "Both John McCain and Barack Obama have proposed tax plans that would substantially increase the national debt over the next 10 years, according to a newly updated analysis by the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Neither candidate's plan would significantly increase economic growth unless offset by spending cuts or tax increases that the campaigns have not specified."