McCain Reverses on Taxes

John McCain's puzzling plunge to the right.

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Sen. John McCain once admitted that economics was not one of his strong points. He proved it this week with the issuance of a crazy-quilt tax package for the future.

In fact, the presumptive GOP nominee for president reversed his stand on previous tax policy. He also made a big pitch to the Republican right to the likely detriment of winning over independents and even some conservative Democrats.

When McCain voted against President Bush's original tax cuts, he worried about building the deficit. Now he wants to make those tax cuts permanent. So much for consistency.

The McCain plan also calls for $200 billion in new tax breaks, mostly for the more affluent. He plans to make up the difference in unlikely spending cuts. Good luck there.

Not even the Wall Street Journal editorial page, usually supportive of anything Republican, was blown away. It was especially critical of McCain's call for a suspension this summer of the 18 cents-per-gallon federal tax on gasoline.

But the best evidence of the plan's shortcoming was the praise from Grover Norquist, the blowhard tax cutter. He and McCain have been at each other's throats in the past. Norquist now calls McCain's change of heart "a red-meat plan."

McCain is obviously trying to shore up his support from right-wing Republicans who disapprove of his maverick ways. But this strange move to warm up to the right will only strain any effort to win over those important independents.

The word opportunist comes to mind here. McCain may have pleased Norquist and his ilk but at what cost?