From Commonweal Magazine

The Catholic magazine Commonweal has a good article by E. D on the presidential race in the U.S.

Romney & the Go For Broke Election

Here are the two great campaign mysteries at midsummer: Why does Mitt Romney appear to be getting so much traction from ripping a few of President Obama’s words out of context? And why aren’t Romney and other Republicans moving to the political center as the election approaches?

Both mysteries point to an important fact about the 2012 campaign: For conservatives, this is a go-for-broke election. They and a Republican Party now under their control hope to eke out a narrow victory in November on the basis of a quite radical program that includes more tax cuts for the rich, deep reductions in domestic spending, big increases in military spending, and a sharp rollback in government regulation.

In the process, the right hopes to redefine middle-of-the-road policies as “left wing,” thereby altering the balance in the American political debate.

What should alarm both liberals and moderates is that this is the rare election in which such a strategy has a chance of succeeding. Conservatives have their opening not because the country has moved far to the right but courtesy of economic discontent, partisan polarization and the right’s success in defining Obama as standing well to the left of where he actually does.

The Obama campaign is trying to disrupt this narrative on multiple fronts. Why did Obama respond so quickly and forcefully to Romney’s effort to use the president’s “you didn’t build that” quotation as a way of casting him as an enemy of small business? It’s not that the attack was true. In fact, it was blatantly false, given that in the same speech Obama praised “hard work,” “responsibility” and “individual initiative.”

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The comments were good too. Especially this one:

Larry Weisenthal subscriber 07/30/2012 – 5:00pm

I’m frustrated that Obama did such a poor job with the point he was trying to make in the speech in question.  Progressive taxation (supported by notables from Adam Smith to Theodore Roosevelt) is warranted because, the higher one goes on the economic food chain, the greater the debt to government for financial success.

Businesses depend not only on roads and bridges, but an educated workforce, enforcement of contracts and protection of intelletual property, communications and shipping infrastructure, and an educated and successful base of clients and customers which has the cash to purchase goods and services from the businesses, among many other things.  These apply to even seemingly self-made, independent business people, from artists to contractors to professionals.

Everyone pays taxes.  The biggest part of government spending is entitlements.   Who pays social security/medicare taxes?  Everyone.  Even a great many “illegals.”  And it’s a monstrously regressive tax.  This regressive tax was raised, under Reagan, at the same time that the taxes for the wealthy were drastically cut.  So poor people subsidized rich people’s tax cuts, as social security was running a huge surplus at the time.

Obama wants to go back to the 1990s, to reduce the federal deficit, with regard to tax rates of the top 2%.  EXACTLY the position he took in his 2008 Presidential campaign. And those tax rates were the ones voted into place in the 1990s by the GOP congress.   Obama is not promoting “class warfare.”  He’s defending progressive taxation.  Just as Adam Smith did.  Just as Theodore Roosevelt did.  And he’s promoting the same top tax rates that the GOP voted for in the 1990s.

Can’t people in the Obama administration and Obama campaign figure out a way to communicate the above in a way which could be readily understood by the average voter?

“You didn’t build that” was an unforced error.  We are shocked, SHOCKED that Obama’s political opponents play gotcha games with it?

– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach CA

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About smkelly8

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