Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

What McCain Doesn’t Get

Posted by Jim Walsh on Monday, October 27, 2008

As I write this, eight days before the election, I am dismayed about the course of the McCain campaign on several fronts.  It is an understatement to say that the Republican ticket has not caught fire with voters.  There’s still some hope of pulling off a victory, but those chances look slimmer and slimmer every day.  For what it’s worth, here’s my observations about some of the things that have gone wrong.

(1)  Sarah Palin – I love the selection, and I think she’s an intelligent person, but any Republican has to realize that the MSM are not your friends.  They should have prepared her better for what she was to face.  She did well enough in the debate with Joe Biden, but the Couric interview was a disaster.  And when the economy is in a meltdown, is it really necessary to spend $150,000 on clothing for her?

(2)  Spend But Don’t Tax – At the risk of committing Republican heresy, I think it’s a major mistake for McCain’s biggest mantra to be a 2008 version of “Read my lips, no new taxes.”  As recently as 2000, the federal government was running huge surpluses to the point that pundits were speculating on what would happen when the national debt was paid off and there would be no more Treasury bonds issued.  The last 7.75 years have been an irresponsible mess of tax cuts in the face of two wars and burgeoning domestic spending that has led to the debasement of the currency.  While the GOP taxes liked Republicans, they spend like Massachusetts Democrats.  Running up record deficits hardly qualifies the GOP to lay claim to being the Party of Fiscal Responsibility.  People understand that we can’t continue to run the federal government this way.  At least Obama gains some credibility when he says he’s going to raise taxes for some people.  And here’s news for Republicans:  thanks to Ronald Reagan and the Tax Reform Act of 1986, there’s a huge segment of the working population that pays little or no taxes already, and their response to Republicans is “But what have you done for me lately?”  Further tax cuts do not appeal to that group AT ALL.

(3)  Welfare in Disguise – Part of Obama’s plan is refundable tax credits for people who already pay no income taxes.  In other words, it’s not a tax break, it’s a massive welfare scheme.  Of course, the MSM won’t point that out, but why doesn’t McCain?  By wrapping up his wealth-transfer giveaway as a negative income tax, it’s going to be that much harder for future administrations to undo the damage:  “Massive tax increases on our most vulnerable,”  the Dems and the New York Times will cry.

(4)  Homeland Security – Possibly McCain’s strongest issue that he could use to his benefit is his advantage over Obama on homeland security.  And yet he’s not using it at all.  Yes, the MSM will probably twist any argument that McCain legitimately makes on this issue as a personal attack on Obama’s semi-Muslim heritage, but I repeat:  the MSM are not your friends.  They loved you when you were the outsider attacking the Republican administration, but they still hate you for being a Republican, especially when you have a chance at heading another Republican administration.  You have to craft your message carefully, and be prepared for the backlash that will follow.  I don’t buy the argument that McCain’s not raising the issue because it’s not on voters’ minds:  he needs to make it an issue and frame the debate to his advantage.  Or he can just write off one of his strong points and lose the election.


22 Responses to “What McCain Doesn’t Get”

  1. General Zod said

    Seems to me that McCain is not at fault. It’s the MSM’s fault. That’s part of the problem. The Republican Party does not want to take ownership for anything. Instead they try to pass their problems onto the media.

    Sarah Palin was a horrible choice. She brought nothing to the table except for the fact that she could energize the base. She did not improve McCain’s numbers among women and independents and she has been nothing but a disaster. How is that the medias fault?

  2. PZGURU said

    GZ – that’s your opinion, and it’s based solely on the bogus, slanted “polls” conducted by the MSM. Just because they say Sarah Palin was a bad choice doesn’t make it so. If she’s so lousy of a choice, why are 25,000 people going to all of her rallies?

    McCain is the attraction for independents. Sarah is the attraction for the conservative base. Best of both worlds in my mind.

    The fact that Obama is a socialist/fascist with anarchist mentors speaks volumes as to who he is courting. He’s not a moderate and he’s never done or said anything bipartisan in his life. He’s trying to act like a moderate because he knows if he ran on his true uber-liberal philosophies, he’d get trounced. Too bad that the speech he gave back in 2001 about how he wants the COURTS to get involved with wealth redistribution got uncovered and media outlets are poring over it. Fox News is covering it big time since the MSM is busy trying to sweep it under the rug and downplay it.

    Obama couldn’t even get a security clearance with the FBI or Secret Service because of his past, yet people are willing to give him the keys to the White House —- shameful and pathetic. Misguided sould who hate Bush and republicans so much that it blinds their judgement.

  3. General Zod said

    Kathleen Parker, David Frum, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Andrew Sullivan, and David Brooks only to name a few are against the selection of Sarah Palin. This has nothing to do with polls or the MSM. Sarah Palin might be skilled politician but that does not make her VP material. She energized the base that was going to vote for the Republicans any way, she is preaching to the choir while turning off the thinking community.

    Obama wants to shift the tax code back to what it was under the Clinton Administration. Do you consider Clinton a socialist? It’s funny how Obama’s policy is deemed as socialism. If socialism was staring you dead in your eyes I wonder if you still would recognize it. Having a progressive tax code is not socialism, it’s good policy.

  4. Purple Heart Vet said

    It is refreshing to see such an objective viewpoint on this blog. Jim’s point number 2 is the essence of what troubles Reagon Democrats. To turn the balanced budget, which took congressional Republicans and Democrats 20 years to attain, into the fiscal disaster we have today is the very worst legacy of the Bush/Cheney debacle. Interesting that the current Republican administration will be the cause of the dismantling of American free-market capitalism as espoused by fiscal conservatives.

    This election is truly the “perfect storm” for the Republican party and it will take decades to recover.

  5. PZGURU said

    Having a progressive tax system IS partially socialistic by its very nature. I don’t support a progressive tax system. I support Steve Forbe’s flat tax system as the only true, fair, non-socialistic system.

    Although letting Bush’s tax cuts lapse might not by itself be entirely “socialistic” it further accentuates the progressive side of the tax system so that is socialistic. PLUS, on top of that Obama wants to SEND CHECKS TO PEOPLE WHO DON”T CURRENTLY PAY TAXES. THAT IS PURE UNADULTERATED WELFARE – which is entirely SOCIALISTIC. To have a progressive tax system where some people pay higher taxes might be somewhat acceptable if the tax revenue is used for legitimate programs, but to take that tax revenue and send it to certain people goes way beyond a progressive tax system and is PURE SOCIALISM. That’s a huge difference.

    It’s an evil political system (what Obama is proposing) because anyone who makes less than 40,000 a year would get a payout from the government and who would turn that down? Obama basically wants to get millions of people hooked on government money and they of course will vote for him. He’s essentially buying votes with my money and every tax payers’ money. It’s sick, it’s uncostitutional, it’s un-American. But if that’s what you stand for….why don’t you move to Europe and you’ll be in your socialist paradise.

  6. General Zod said

    For the last 30 years wealth has been shifting from the poor and middle class to the rich. Clearly you support the rich getting richer as the lower and middle class pay more of their income towards an unfair tax policy. It’s a good thing for the wealthy the vast majority of this country is asleep because 200 years ago they would have been tarred and feathered and driven out of town on a rail.

    Those Obama “handouts” are more than just give aways. They are in the form of tax credits. For example, college tuition credits and child care credits are part of Obama’s tax plan.

    I hear Palin and McCain campaigning for tax credits (handouts) so would that make them socialists too?

  7. Purple Heart Vet said

    Today we learn that as a result of the Bush/Cheney tax policies and the unregulated promotion of home ownership, the eight largest banks in the United States will receive $125 BILLION from the Treasury Department. This action will semi-nationalize the US banking system. Another $125 BILLION will go to smaller banks.

    Would this be considered socialism or is it something different if corporations rather than individuals are helped out by the federal government?

  8. PZGURU said

    If the person getting the tax “credit” was only getting a credit against the taxes owed, then no that is not socialistic. If, however, the person didn’t pay any taxes in the first place, and then got a check from uncle sam, yes that is socialism and it doesn’t matter to me who proposed it.

    You sure sound like an anti-capitalist, anti-wealth person. Why should someone pay higher tax rates just because they earn more than you or me or the guy down the street. You’re punishing people for succeeding at the American dream. How more UN-AMERICAN can you get???

    Talk about a disincentive to working hard and being self supportive. If you do work harder and make more money, uncle sam will just take more of it away from you and give it to some lazy piece of crap who’s just waiting for a government handout.

    And, those evil rich people also happen to be the same people who took a risk and built a company that provides lots of jobs to the rest of us. So, tax the hell out of them and then when they lay off 1/2 their workforce you’ll be wondering why???

    It’s as stupid an idea as Obama’s plan to tax oil companies’s windfall profits. Do you think that the owners of those oil companies are going to pay the additional taxes out of their pockets? NO! They are going to pass the cost onto the customer by raising the price of gasline. HOW STUPID IS OBAMA??? Who gets hurt in this scenario? You and me, the paying customer.

    It’s sad that we are turning to socialism when contries in Europe as well as our neighbor Canada to the north are realizing how badly their socialist programs and policies have been (including nationalized health care) and are turning back to free market capitalism. Talk about being on the wrong path.

  9. Purple Heart Vet said

    Wow PZ, thanks for putting me in my place. You really make a clear and rational argument for government bailouts of corporations. I guess I’m just from the anti-American part of the U.S. I betcha, you must be a strong supporter of the U.S. military, maybe even a joe 6-pack or a wanna be plumber? By the way, which branch of the military did you do your service in?

  10. General Zod said

    If any group is being punished it’s the middle class. Americans have always supported a progressive tax system because those at the top are considerably more “able to pay” than those at the bottom, who need what little income they have for food, shelter, medicine and other daily necessities. The wealthy have, in fact, been major beneficiaries of the revenue reduction measures passed by the Bush Administration. In particular, the wealthy have benefited from the reduction by more than half of the rate they pay on the dividends they receive (from 35% to 15%) and the reduction in the capital gains rate, since the wealthiest taxpayers are the ones who receive disproportionately more of their income in dividends and capital gains than ordinary taxpayers.

    So why have wealthier taxpayers paid a larger share of taxes than in prior years? The answer is simple. Because they also received a larger share of total income than in prior years. The more income they have, the more taxes they pay. Their incomes have increased disproportionately compared to ordinary Americans, so their taxes have increased as well, in spite of dramatic reduction in tax rates.

    Call it what you want but it is about time the upper class start paying their fair share because under the Bush Administration the tax code has been disproportionately unfair.

  11. PZGURU said

    Purple Heart Vet – I was trying to respond directly to Gen Zod, but your comment got posted ahead of mine so it looked like I was talking directly at you in my comment.

    I have never served in the military, although my brother and plenty of uncles, aunts, and grandparents did.

    I’m not sure how I was making a case FOR corporate bailouts. I do not support the wallstreet bailout plan that was recently passed. I know I lot of people, including economic experts, said it was necessary to avert a recession/depression, but I disagree. The bailout will only serve to encourage more companies to ask for bailouts, and that’s exactly what has happened since. AND, look at what AIG is doing with some of their bailout money – they’re paying employees HUGE end of the year bonuses. With my taxpayer dollars!!! I am absolutely outraged by this. And you should be too.

    I know I know, McCain voted for it too. I wish he hadn’t.

    The people who ran those companies should be prosecuted and sent to jail. If a bank chairman did what they did, he/she would be sent to jail.

  12. PZGURU said

    Gen Zod,

    You are obviously motivated more by envy of the wealthy than anything else. Of course tax cuts “benefit” the “rich” more than us middle class folk because the rich pay a hell of a lot more tax dollars in the first place. It’s simple economics 101.

    And, if the rich (company owners who provide lots of jobs; or at the least buy lots of goods and services from other business owners) have more money to turn around and re-invest in their company, or in stocks, or in consumption of goods and services from other small businesses or other large businesses, is that a GOOD thing? How is that bad? It keeps the economy growing. It’s the principle of trickle down economics that Reagan AND Clinton utilized. And if the rich decide to keep that money for themselves, why is that so upsetting to you? If you want to be rich, or more well off than you are today, then you can take a risk and start a company and live the american dream. STOP STEALING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY AND ROBBING THEM OF THEIR DREAMS JUST BECAUSE YOURE TOO LAZY OR STUPID TO SUCCEED ON YOUR OWN.

  13. General Zod said

    Now I’m lazy and stupid? Are you 5? Are you incapable of having a discussion without personal insults. I can play that game too but I have more respect for this forum.

  14. timactual said

    “but that does not make her VP material.”

    Good grief, just what does it take to be VP? Admittedly, she doesn’t have a law degree or a penis, but other than that she is just as qualified as some other candidates for VP and even P.

  15. timactual said

    “For the last 30 years wealth has been shifting from the poor and middle class to the rich.”

    Myth. I am curious though, how exactly does one take money from people who, by definition, don’t have any?

    “And, those evil rich people also happen to be the same people who took a risk and built a company that provides lots of jobs to the rest of us.”

    Some are, most aren’t. It’s a lousy argument.

    “By the way, which branch of the military did you do your service in?”

    By the way, why is that relevant?

    “Call it what you want but it is about time the upper class start paying their fair share”

    What is your definition of fair? The upper class already pays most of the taxes.

  16. Purple Heart Vet said

    Hey Tim,

    The relevance of the question regarding military service is based purely on personal observation and inquisitiveness. I find that the most rabid right-wing, pro-military, gung-ho republicans usually have never served their country but they are very willing to send others into harms way, i.e., Limbaugh, Hannity, Cheney, O’Reilly, even the republican elite in Howard County. These folks are quick to label people who disagree with them or the current Bush/Cheney foreign policies as “un-American or anti-American”. Often they define the “American dream” as “making a lot of money”. More than anything, I am interested in what those quick to label others as “un-American” think “pro-American” looks like. I thought it might include service in the United States military. Thanks for asking the question.

  17. PZGURU said

    Purple Heart Vet – first of all we were discussing taxes and economic policies, not foreign policy. Nice bait and switch job! I never said anywhere that disagreeing with Bush/Cheney foreign policy made you or anyone else un-American.

    Second, I don’t recall Gore, Dowd, Olberman, or most of the wacko left liberals having any military service experience either.

    By your standard, only someone with military experience/service can (1) decide to send to troops into battle and/or (2) support the military. In that case, McCain is the only person qualified to be the President (since the President is the Commander in Chief) because Obama sure as hell doesn’t have any military experience and he doesn’t even like the military.

    By the way – I couldn’t join the military or the National Guard because I have asthma. And, although the asthma has lessened as I got older, I did inquire about joining the National Guard a few years ago but was told I was too old.

  18. PZGURU said

    Gen Zod – when you make flim flam “rationalizations” to try to support your position, I will call you out on it. I vigorously support the Constitution and the true American way – and that does not include socialistic or marxist policies – and I sure don’t appreicate people like you who are trying revolutionize the USA to that kind of political viewpoint. It would be one thing if you wanted to support a program that didn’t smack of socialism, but you are whole-heartedly peddling socialism, as is Obama and the entire Democratic leadership (Pelosi, Reid, Biden, and a few others). Notice I did not say all democrats since obviously there are some in the democratic party who do not subscribe to a socialistic philosophy.

  19. General Zod said

    For someone who loves to label people as a socialist and Marxist should take the time to truly understand what they mean and how they work. All you do is wrap yourself in the flag and tout the talking points of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Obama and the Democrats are not socialists or Marxists let alone communists. I support a tax policy that benefits the middle class and not the top 1% as did President Clinton and soon to be President Obama. There is nothing socialist about it.

    You’re upset because the Democrats are going to clean the Republicans clock on November 4th because your party has nothing to offer except insults and tired rhetoric left over from the Bush years. Good luck with that strategy in years to come.

    General Zod

  20. cynthia vaillancourt said

    Gore served in Vietnam, chris dodd served in the national guard and the army reserves, (i’m assuming a typo and that you ment dodd and did not actually mean maureen dowd who is an equal opportunity critic) – but hey don’t let the facts get in the way.


  21. timactual said

    So calling someone unamerican, etc. is okay as long as you have some sort of military experience? People with physical handicaps are to be forbidden from expressing an opinion on foreign affairs? Just what are the qualifications for calling someone or something unamerican, unpatriotic, etc?

    As far as sending someone into harm’s way goes, how much military experience did Madelaine Albright have when she famously remarked “What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?” . Sounds pretty hawkish to me. How much did Clinton et al. have when he was so eager to send US troops into the Balkans? How about Obama’s remark about chasing terrorists into Pakistani territory?

    Having reread all the comments, it appears that pzguru used the word ‘unamerican’ only once, and that was in reference to Obama’s domestic policy and socialism. How is military service relevant to domestic policy?

  22. pzguru said

    Gen Zod – Clinton NEVER proposed wealth redistribution or giving welfare to checks to people who pay no taxes. There’s a HUGE difference. You can try to deny it all you want, but the what Obama is proposing to do is flat out socialism, and not because I say so, but because it meets the very definition of socialism. You and the democrats are just trying to say that his proposals are “fair” and wrap it a mantra of sympathy for those who don’t have as much as those who do. This i right out of the socialist handbook, as well marxist and communist doctrines.

    I thought Obama was supposed to be a “uniter”. I guess except when it comes to class warfare. How exactly is he going to “change the tone” in washington and unite America when he is pushing to divide this country. Oh, wait, I get it – once everyone makes the same amount of money after taxes, then we’ll all be “united” under the Socialist Republic of Obama. LMAO!!!

    Like I said, if you want socialism, move the hell out of the USA and go somewhere that already has such a broken, un-American system in place.

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