Wednesday, April 16, 2008

That's Gotta Leave A Mark

Well, now, here's a little something different: a mainstream media outlet actually casting a critical eye on a Republican candidate. In this case, it's the Boston Globe and and the candidate is presumptive GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain. What is especially delicious about this editorial is its title: "George W. McCain."

JOHN MCCAIN acknowledged that he didn't know much about economics a few weeks ago, and this shortcoming manifested itself yesterday when he unveiled his fiscal platform. But he does know something about Republican politics. McCain stuck closely to the ideology of the party when he proposed tax cuts that belied his reputation for fiscal responsibility.

The most dramatic plank was a call for a suspension of the 18.4-cent-a-gallon federal tax on gasoline from Memorial Day to Labor Day this year. Not even the inveterate tax cutter George Bush has the nerve to propose that one. How else is the money supposed to be raised to repair the interstate highways? Congress should let this bad idea fade into the autumn without a hearing.

The gasoline tax idea seems devised for sound bites. The substance of McCain's plan, which depends on his election as president and a compliant Congress, is far more dangerous. Earlier in the campaign, he endorsed an extension of Bush's tax cuts and yesterday added several more: a cut in the business tax rate, a phase-out of the alternative minimum tax, doubling the exemption for dependents, and a permanent credit for research and development.

What? St. John the Straight Talker reversing his position on fiscal responsibility? Unpossible.

Actually, quite possible and quite fitting, given his campaign. I mean, really, what's he going to run on? Iraq? He's tried, but even he has to admit that right now is not the best of times for that illegal, misbegotten war. The economy? Well, consumer confidence is way down, which means the glittery tax rebate will probably be used to pay off credit card bills, and that won't exactly put more people back to work.

What is going on, I suspect, is that St. John is still trying to line up more of his own party behind him so he's talking the talk, as in "Read My Lips."

Meanwhile, schools are unfunded, roads and sewers are crumbling away, affordable health care is out of the reach of most Americans, food prices are skyrocketing, and wages are being supressed.

And the latte-drinking liberal Democratic candidates are out of touch with middle Americans?

Oh, please.

At least the Boston Globe is paying attention to what's really going on.

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