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September 19, 2011

Big Democratic Pollster/Adviser Mark Penn: Obama Is Dooming Himself With His Class Warfare Gambit

He was part of Team Hillary!, so maybe he doesn't know what he's doing, either.

But add another voice to the Democratic chorus of criticism.

Obama's team actually believes that in the last six months they have courted independent voters and that didn't work, so now they are turning to activating the base with higher taxes on the wealthy. However, he never made any meaningful appeal to those voters in terms they would understand. He supported extending the Bush tax cuts, temporarily zoomed up in the polls, and then promptly repudiated what he had done, only to then fall back down.

The 2010 mid-term elections were fought over Obama's healthcare plan and on his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy by ending the Bush tax cuts. The results were, in his own words, a "shellacking." After his most recent speech to Congress, voters in New York City's Ninth Congressional District just elected a Republican for the first time since 1920.

And now, Obama is pressing the case for higher taxes, following in the footsteps of Walter Mondale. Higher taxes always seem to poll well, but in reality the country sees that as a last resort.

...

America wants to see the president focused on stimulating jobs and innovation, not on raising taxes in a near recession. The president could be out there with tax reform that promotes America's greatest asset -- the country's hard working and ever successful professionals -- and yet raises funds by closing the gap on taxes on capital. He could have tax reform that righted the balance between capital and wage income without opening up class warfare. And he could be moving forward on immigration reform, on trade deals, on new policies and programs that put America at the frontier of new technologies on energy and pharmaceuticals.

Instead, the president has wandered into the thicket of class warfare that will only compound the difficulties before his climb to re-election.

The Washington Post calls Obama's play a "more populist approach." Absent from that approach is any kind of genuine reform.

Steven Hayward has similar thoughts at Powerline. He notes that 36 Senators from both parties gave a press conference urging not tax hikes but tax reform, and wonders why on earth Obama would pass up on the politically-popular (and policy-prudent) issue of tax reform.

Obama is so besotted with class warfare mentality that he is unwilling to grasp the one huge bipartisan opportunity that is in front if him—an opportunity that has been in front of him for months. He doesn’t care about economic growth; he cares only about redistribution and gaining more political control over the economy. His dismissal of his own deficit commission last year showed his inclinations on this.

I reckon Obama has only about four days to see the light on this. Harry Reid has said the Senate won’t take up his urgent jobs bill Stimulus bill until after their next recess. If Democratic Senators go home without a course change from Obama, you can count on them coming back to DC with the attitude of “Obama jobs bill? What Obama jobs bill? Obama? Obama who?”

Obama's proposing "The Buffet Rule," a bit of class-warfare and pure populism that would impose a minimum tax on millionaires.

President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials. …

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

Maybe my populism-sense is all screwy, but I do always think that that sort of thing should sell well with the public. Which isn't an endorsement. I'm just noting I usually fear that that's going to work, in inciting class-warfare sentiments against the GOP.

Dick Durbin says they'll get to this incredibly urgent Pass This Jobs Bill Now jobs bill sometime next month.

But Obama did want to show how really urgent he said the situation was, even though it had taken him 961 days as president to say them. And even though from Day #1 of the brief Obama Era polls had shown jobs and the economy were the No. 1 priority among voters but he pursued healthcare and financial reforms first. And even though unemployment had been at or above 9% for 26 of the last 28 months.

So, given the president's professed urgency, the next day, Sept. 9, everyone asked where was his jobs legislation?

And, well, it seems the urgent jobs bill hadn't actually been written yet but should be ready in a week or two. When the laughter died, the White House said on second thought the legislation would be ready for a photo op the next Monday.

Well, here we are on the next Monday after that next Monday and we've just learned from the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin, that actually it seems that body won't really be seriously getting into the legislation for a while yet. The Senate has some other more important business to handle. And then there's this month's congressional vacation, which in Washington is called "a recess," like elementary school.

Here's the revealing exchange with a persistent host Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union:"

CROWLEY: When is the bill going to get on the floor?

DURBIN: The bill is on the calendar. Majority leader Reid moved it to the calendar. It is ready and poised. There are a couple other items we may get into this week not on the bill and some related issues that may create jobs. But we're going to move forward on the president's bill. There will be a healthy debate. I hope the Republicans will come to...

CROWLEY: After the recess, so next month? Or when will it actually begin to act on?

DURBIN: I think that's more realistic it would be next month.

So, as of right now, "right now" uttered on Sept. 8 really means sometime at least one month later.

Good thing the president's own Democratic party controls the Senate. Because, otherwise, there might be some kind of silly, unnecessary delays in deliberating Obama's urgent jobs bill that he says will surely help the nation's unemployed millions if only those Republicans don't connive to slow things down.

Because the liberal base wants Obama to "get tougher" and "be more of a fighter" and show some netroots passion, Obama is dutifully complying.

President Obama warned he will veto any deficit plan brought to him by Congress that wasn’t ‘balanced’ between taxes and spending cuts.

‘We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable,’ Obama said Monday morning, speaking from the Rose Garden.

He rejected accusations that tax increases for the wealthy was ‘class warfare’.

The president argued, as he has repeatedly, that wealthier Americans ‘shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families.’.

“This is not class warfare, it’s math. The money’s going to have to come from some place,” the president said, speaking to reporters. “If we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit, the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more. “

Obama acts as if both taxpayers and taxspenders have contributed equally to this problem, so both will now have to pitch in equally.

Of course that's not quite accurate.


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posted by Ace at 01:25 PM

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