Hours before President Obama is to unveil a proposal to raise taxes on America's rich, one of former President Bill Clinton's key advisers has come out strongly against the current White House resident and this move.
For this reason, Mark Penn's "Obama -- Don't Bring Back Class Warfare," published at the Huffington Post Sunday evening, is destined to raise a lot of eyebrows on both sides of the aisle:
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.
It's interesting Penn published this Sunday, for just a few hours ago, after watching all the day's talks shows, I was thinking the same thing about how what people tell pollsters concerning taxes differs greatly from how they really feel.
We all know darn well the history of politicians calling for higher taxes, and it's not good.
Maybe when in the comfort of their homes, Americans think such hikes make sense, but they clearly don't express this at the ballot box.
What was so brilliant about the Obama 2008 election was that it brought together the upper and lower classes in a common mission of hope and change. Today, he is smashing apart that coalition with policies that seem to be about expanding the scope of government by the trillions of dollars (starting with health care) and raising taxes. Such policies will allow him to hold on to his under $35,000 support, but are anathema to the rest -- and especially the unique coalition of new professionals he forged in 2008.
No question that the fiscal problems have become intense, especially after a trillion of stimulus and a trillion of new health care spending that contains a 4.5% tax increase that no one has yet focused on. But if Obama thinks the way to re-election is increased taxation and spending, he is misreading the mid-terms and last week's elections.
Indeed he is as are his remaining tax-loving fans in the media.