Monday, January 07, 2008

A Bad Turn
I've not commented on the Democratic race because I've been feeling pretty good about most of the candidates. Each of the major contenders struck me as a vast improvement over the incumbent. True, I was rooting for Barack Obama, but I wasn't speaking ill of anyone. But now, now that her candidacy is at risk, we're seeing how desperately Hillary Clinton wants the presidency and the lengths she is willing to go to in order to get it.

First there was the New Hampshire mailer alleging Obama was soft on choice, based on his "present" votes (instead of no) on Illinois legislation while in the Illinois Senate. In fact, Planned Parenthood had endorsed the "present" vote -- which amounts to a "no" in Illinois -- as a tactic to protect vulnerable Democrats. People in Illinois familiar with the situation were stunned at the audacity of the Clinton campaign in trying to twist the truth on Obama's abortion record.

Then comes the Social Security mailer. Man, if Obama gets the nomination, the GOP will use this one in their slime campaign against Obama. Obama has suggested that while keeping the Social Security tax cap at its current $102,000, we may have to tax income OVER $200,000 or $250,000 in order to maintain the current benefit structure. Income between $102,000 and the new, higher limit would not be taxed. So IF you make over $200,000 (or $250,000 or whatever the number ends up being), your Social Security taxes might rise. Based on this, what does the Clinton campaign say to New Hampshire voters? "Barack Obama. A plan with a trillion dollar tax increase on America's hard-working families." Yeah, those hard-working families who pull in a quarter-million a year. Meanwhile, Clinton suggests no plan at all for shoring up Social Security. Her position, according to the mailer, is to "address Social Security without putting burdens on hard-working families or seniors." Hmm. Sounds like what Obama is proposing.

The really sickening thing about this is that one the bravest things Bill Clinton did as present was raise income taxes soon after his election. The early-90s tax increase was key to setting us on a road to budget surpluses later in the decade. Bill Clinton pulled this off despite the attacks of Republicans -- attacks that sounded precisely what we're hearing Hillary Clinton use on Barack Obama today.

I don't suppose it matters to her, but Hillary Clinton should know that this sort of thing will lead to her getting drubbed come November. There's a core of Republicans who will never vote for her, so she can't afford to lose any Democrats. In fact, she'll need to draw in new voters to the fold. Savaging Barack Obama is only going to drive people away -- potential new voters, and others (like me) -- who have always voted Democratic.


Donald said...

Um ... I don't have anything political to contribute here - I was just going to say thanks for correcting me on the Stones lyrics. I'll change them tonight.

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Dan Brekke said...

Pete, I'm afraid we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Pete said...

You might be right, Dan. It's amazing how much Barack "Hussein" Obama stuff is out there, posted all over the place in comments sections for websites and blogs. You know, assertions or intimations that he's a Muslim, or won't put his hand over his heart for the Pledge, or whatever. These aren't from the Clinton campaign per se -- although some low-level workers were involved in putting out this stuff in Iowa. But I would like to see Hillary herself step up and denounce these attacks. I would respect her more if she did.