It’s Your Credibility, Stupid

Ross Douthat:

For a week or so now, I’ve been listening to smart conservatives suggest that Obama’s “spreading the wealth” remark might really, really hurt him – “talk about playing into the most extreme stereotype of your party, that it is infested with socialists,” writes James Pethokoukis – and I have a question: Hasn’t Obama been promising to spread the wealth throughout the entire race – a race he seems to be winning at the moment? His signal domestic-policy proposals are 1) a series of tax cuts and tax credits aimed at Americans making less than $250,000 a year and 2) a big-ticket health care reform aimed at expanding coverage; both of these plans, he promises, can be paid for with tax hikes on the richest 5 percent of Americans. This agenda isn’t a big socialist secret; it’s more or less the basis of his campaign. I suppose it’s possible that the “spreading the wealth” turn of phrase throws the redistributionist aspect of Obama’s agenda into relief in a way his campaign promises haven’t. But it seems to me like a generic restatement of a message that’s central to the Democratic campaign: Namely, that the rich haven’t paid their fair share under Republican rule, and that people making over $250,000 a year should pay more in taxes so that most Americans can pay less, to the IRS and in health-insurance premiums.

Look, we already mentioned this earlier today, Powell talked about it over the weekend, but I will let Chuck Todd say it one more time:

Has the McCain campaign made a fundamental mistake in attack politics — don’t charge your opponent with something that doesn’t seem to pass the smell test beyond your base? This “socialist” charge is going to be hard for many middle-of-the-road voters to believe, particularly after Powell endorsed his candidacy. Saying Obama’s a “liberal,” well there are facts to back that up. But the socialist charge feels like an over-reach, and it may be falling on deaf ears. Of course, with the government getting so involved with our financial markets right now and McCain wanting to use federal money to buy up bad mortgages, it’s hard for McCain to back up his socialist charge since he wants a similar amount of government intervention.

Exactly. The appropriate response to any Republican who calls Obama a socialist after eight years of Bush and after listening to McCain’s own proposals is outright ridicule. Laugh in their face. Mock them. They have zero credibility, and the word socialism no longer has any meaning, at least not in American politics. That the Republicans still have not realized this on the very day that Ben Bernanke is on the hill advocating more spending in order to stimulate the economy is just extra precious. As a commenter noted:

Socialist: raising the top tax rate from 35% to 39%.

Free-Market: nationalizing the banks, massive investment in insurance agencies, limiting certain types of trades, raising the debt ceiling, and promoting government investment into stocks and bonds. And an emphasis on Red States.

It’s all so clear now!

We are all socialists now, Ross.

*** Update ***

Let’s play list the bailouts- I will start with AIG, the airline industries post 9/11, the 25 billion to the auto industry a few weeks ago, and hell, I think an argument could be made that the SuperFund clean-ups that have been going on for who knows how long constitutes a bailout of sorts- how many of those companies would have gone under had they been forced to pay for the toxic mess they left behind. Add your own.

A Lesson


Text from McCain Robo-calls

“You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans,” a McCain robo-caller tells voters. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country.”

“I’m calling on behalf of John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama and his Democrat allies in the Illinois Senate opposed a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born alive after surviving attempted abortions — a position at odds even with John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama and his liberal Democrats are too extreme for America. Please vote — vote for the candidates who share our values.”


John McCain’s respectful campaign.

Keep that in mind the next few weeks while you read right-wing blogs complain about the media treatment of Joe the Plumber, who was thrust onto the national stage by McCain. The “I am Joe” campaign may be the lamest thing, ever.

Sarah Palin

Just a misunderstood genius, like Ronald Reagan, also.

Inside the Bubble

According to everything I have read and everything the talking heads on my television have said, last night was John McCain’s best performance, but that Obama committed no gaffes, held his own, and then finished strong. I have to say at that I am relieved that McCain had a better night, as there is still a chance that he could pull it out and win. Anything can happen, and it would be nice to think that if Obama does lose, the next administration would not be a total disaster.

On the other hand, I think this take on things is probably delusional:

Tonight we finally saw what so many of us have been waiting for. John McCain mopped the floor with Barack Obama.

Throughout the night, Barack Obama looked distant, like he did not want to be there, like he was annoyed. He really looked annoyed all night.

McCain on the other hand looked like the comeback kid — the guy who knew he had to do well. And he did.

Here is why it mattered.

Between October 24th and 27th of 1980, Jimmy Carter was ahead of Ronald Reagan by six points. Obama is up three in the traditional Gallup poll and up eight in the expanded Gallup poll.

This becomes very doable for John McCain tonight. It becomes very doable.

Doable and plausible are two different things, and we need to square this “mopped the floor with him” rhetoric with the polls:

CNN poll of debate viewers: Obama 58%, McCain 31%

CBS poll of uncommitted voters: Obama 53%, McCain 22%

Still making their own reality over at Red State.

Ohio, Obama, What’s the Difference?

From the comments at the Townhall post on the hoax Michelle Obama story:

A few comments later, this reply:

clendon & animalgirl:

the flag you’re asking about is the state flag of ohio.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Republican base. Kind of explains why the Corner is the way it is, doesn’t it?