I‘ve been watching and listening as Democrats start cranking up ways to trash John McCain (while moaning about the evil "Swift-Boating" that they’re sure will come their nominee’s way). None of it has been particularly imaginative — equating him with Bush is a favorite, although it certainly stretches credulity.
For the most part, they miss the one thing that bothers me most — and no, it’s not his age. It’s his having bought into the Bush tax cuts, after having opposed them so strenuously in 2000, and for good reasons (he did favor cuts at the time — just not nearly as deep). Sure, once the cuts are part of the tax structure for several years, I can see how someone might accept them as a fait accompli, but I don’t. (Call me wacky, but whether we’re talking the war or entitlements or anything else, I think we should pay what our government actually costs.) Also, I would hesitate to go back to the old rates when we’re in an economic slowdown — but McCain’s change of position occurred before that.
This is not a deal-killer for me, any more than Barack Obama’s preacher is. It’s just something that goes on the ledger in the negative column.
So it’s kind of galling to see this on the latest McCain fund-raising e-mail:
Today, April 15th, marks the deadline when all Americans must file their income taxes. While many of us are aggravated and displeased when we see exactly how much of our hard-earned money goes to the federal government – if one of my Democratic opponents is elected in November, you can be certain your tax rate will increase across the board.
When we elect our next president in November, we will make a clear statement about the direction we want to take our economy and our tax system. As I have said before, this election will present Americans with a clear choice between my vision for our country and that of my Democratic opponents.
I believe today, as I have always believed, in small government, fiscal discipline and low taxes. I believe that tax cuts work best when accompanied by lower spending. And I make the promise to you that if elected president, I plan to make the present tax cuts permanent, lower corporate rates from 35% to 25% and end the Alternative Minimum Tax, which will affect millions of middle class families….
Then, of course, we get to the point of the message:
But I cannot succeed in my efforts without your immediate financial support…
In other words, Quick! Send me your money before those crazy Democrats spend it on universal health care or something…
Such moments are not the senator’s best.