Thursday, December 2, 2010

How the Democrats Blew The Tax "Debate"

So it has been a while since I have posted on here while my focus has been on getting the hockey site off the ground and because it had a more built in following from the start it took precedence.  Obviously since I last posted the elections happened and wow was that a bad result, but I will come back to that and what really happened another time along with how the Democrats, specifically the White House, do not seem to be grasping the actual lessons they were taught a month ago.  For today the focus is on specific screw up it appears the Democrats and that White House are about to make on the tax issue.

In 2008 when Barack Obama was running for the presidency he would classify the Bush tax cuts as fiscally reckless, along with looking out for millionaires and billionaires instead of the middle class.  This argument was still be espoused by the President in a speech in Cleveland three months ago and to some extent in interviews since.  The difference is that now the White House apparently is willing to cut a deal on the tax cuts even though they have publicly said it is a 700 billion dollar giveaway to the top 2% of the population that will not improve the job situation or the economy, but this time it was he would not threaten to veto their extension.  Today the news is that it appears the deal is being cut to possibly extend them for an interim period of two years in the most likely scenario.  So what in the facts changed about their viability that now they have the upper hand while the middle class tax cuts which actually do boost the economy are being held hostage?  The true answer is nothing other than the resolve and spine of the Democrats writ large and the White House.

Public polling is on the side of the Democrats on the issue for once in a tax debate as the majority is for extending the middle class tax cuts and an overwhelming majority is against extending the tax breaks for the wealthy and yet here we are.  If the Democrats had been smart they would have trotted out the vote they had in the House of Representatives today two months ago and made every Republican office holder have an up or down vote on whether to stand with the middle class or not.  Imagine the theater that would have been watching the tea partiers and supposed populist GOP candidates having to explain that they could not stand with the middle class for their tax cut unless the rich “wall-street” types got theirs too.  The problem was the Democrats had jelly instead of steel in their spine and they punted afraid that any tax talk would be good for Republicans instead of actually making the voters see the differences in the two parties. 

The simple fact is Democrats will NEVER beat Republicans in a sound bite war on any issue because the GOP is just better at it.  Republicans are the best at the sound bites because they keep it simple and go for the old it must fit on a bumper sticker rule while Democrats sit there and try to explain everything.  Look no further than the leaders for the Democrats against the leaders elected and unelected for the GOP.  Obama on just about any and all issues will sit there and explain the facts expecting the audience to actually want to know the facts and find out the actual information while Republicans will sit there and simply say, “TAXES=BAD”.  Reality is facts do not matter in most of these debates until you make someone vote and force them to do the right thing or use it against them. 

The first rule for politicians is not about making the best policy or creating jobs, rather it is about focusing on sustaining one job; theirs.  The lesson to be learned here and over the last two years is that being a politician in Washington these days is not about policy at all, it is solely about politics and until the President learns that having the facts in a policy argument is never going to win against these opponents and learns to play the political games he decries so often he is going to continue to get tattooed while caving to the opposition and trying to spin it into victory.  Any extension of the Bush tax cuts is a loss for the country and the debt and there is no way to spin that, especially when the very next day the people who will get more free money for the rich will then complain about doing anything the Democrats want that is not paid for using the debt and deficit as their crutch.

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