Saturday, October 23, 2010


By Kelly Sloan
In 11 days the American political environment will complete its natural metamorphosis from one of strategy, prediction and forecasting, to one of analysis, explanation, and, in about half the cases, damage control. In the spirit of the current predictive stage of affairs, permit me a prediction – there will be plenty of damage to control on the Democrat side come November third.

In fact, it has probably already started in several Democratic Party circles. The left is exhibiting signs of full panic at this point. A few weeks back, I wrote of how the initial symptom of pending despair is the way Democratic candidates try mightily to pretend they are Republicans, evidenced here in Colorado by both Michael Bennet and John Salazar attempting almost comically to posit themselves as fiscally responsible and cognizant of their fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayer. Or more recently, the current John Hickenlooper TV ad where he makes an earnest effort to come across as a true supply-side convert, speaking without missing a beat about how government needs to control spending.

All of the Democrat candidates run into some fundamental difficulties when attempting this however: A) they do not mean it, because, B) their ideology cannot stomach such heresy, as evidenced by C) their writings, records, actions and votes, all of which contradict their campaign season rhetoric. For instance, Bennet and Salazar each voted for both the stimulus package and the Obama healthcare bill, two of the worst examples of fiscal irresponsibility in American history (not to mention the scores of smaller, but collectively just as pernicious, spending bills and millions in earmarks).

It is no more plausible to believe a politician who says he is for financial prudence, after wasting several Trillion dollars, than it is for a 16 year-old to convince his parents that he is ready to drive, after wrapping the family sedan around a light pole for the third time.

So this tack is not working. Where does that leave a beleaguered liberal candidate? Panicking worse than ever, for one thing. Which is why we are subjected to the current rash of commercials attempting to castigate Scott Tipton and Ken Buck for supporting a mythical 23% tax increase.

Neither Republican candidate supports any such thing, but a remarkably flexible imagination can trace the provenance of this fabrication; it is found in both Buck and Tipton’s tacit support for the “Fair Tax”, or some equivalent – that is, a consumption tax, which would REPLACE all other forms of federal taxation. Hence the 23% sales tax figure. What the ads fail to mention, of course, is that this comes only after a 35% (for the average middle class individual) raise in income, leaving a difference of (for all you John Kenneth Galbraith followers out there) 12% - representing a net GAIN in purchasing power. As virtually every economist agrees, this is the most efficient, and fair, form of taxation, as one is taxed only on what one buys – if a person has more money, he will buy more, and be taxed accordingly (or invest it and grow the economy).

It is tempting to think that the Democrats may be running these ads because they simply do not understand the concept of a consumption tax any more than they understand any other facet of economics. But the fact is that they know full well what is involved in a consumption-only tax plan, but to reveal details would serve to illuminate, and that is the last thing the left wants at this point.

So the commercial is an outright lie? Of course. But really, what choice do the Democrats have? They tried running as conservatives and it did not work. Run on their records? Political suicide. Highlight their opponent’s actual positions? Might as well just give them a campaign donation. So really, obfuscation is all that is left. If that means blatantly lying, so be it.

While I am under no illusion that in at least a few instances (Delaware, Nevada, and our own governor race) conservatives may have blown it in an ill-thought out anti “establishment” fervor, I am nevertheless confident of substantial Republicans gains in November. A well-informed electorate is the biggest hurdle the Democrats face this year, and deliberate attempts at perverting the truth might well backfire. If so, maybe we can prevent them from wrapping the nation’s economy around a light pole yet again.

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