By Teresa Welsh |
In proposing a one-year extension of the Bush tax cuts for everyone making $250,000 or less, President Barack Obama sought to put his opponent, Mitt Romney, on defense on what is typically a winning issue for Republicans.
But the Obama team's tax argument is both phony and clever. President Obama agreed to a two-year extension of all of the Bush tax cuts in 2010, signing it Dec. 17, 2010, with five Republicans and 29 Democrats in attendance. At the time, President Obama said the bill would create jobs and boost the struggling economy. Two years later, four months from his own re-election, he has changed his tune.
If it was good policy to extend all of the tax cuts then, it should be now.
But the Obama tax political argument didn't hatch this week. It started early last year when the Obama team embraced the Occupy movement, using the 1 percent language. It continued when Obama repeatedly sought to use Mitt Romney's wealth against him, citing disproven "outsourcing" in ways that fact checkers have called false.
On Sunday, in a coordinated attack, the Democratic headliners on all the major tax shows (Robert Gibbs, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Rep. Xavier Becerra) all recited talking points about Romney's "offshore bank accounts." Then Monday, Obama launched, in an East Room press announcement, his urging of the "middle class" tax cuts to be extended for one year.
As Charles Krauthammer noted, if Obama believes his plan is a good idea, why not extend them permanently, instead of for just one year? Plain and simple: This is a ploy. Make Romney defend wealthy people, like himself.
If this election is waged over Mitt Romney's wealth, Romney will lose. Indeed, the negative attack ads run by Obama against Romney have had an effect. But wealth can be a positive attribute as most people wish to be wealthy and believe it is indeed possible in America.
Every day, the Obama campaign wakes up with one mission: Make this race about anything other than the direction of the economy after three and a half years. The Romney campaign must continue to force each debate, each news cycle back to the central question: Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
Everything else is white noise.
About Matt Mackowiak Republican Consultant and President of Potomac Strategy Group
Lara Brown Author of 'Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants'
Brad Bannon President of Bannon Communications Research, a Polling and Consulting firm
Penny Lee President of Venn Strategies, a Government Relations and Public Affairs firm