Monday, September 17, 2007

Off to the Wilderness We Go

Here is Jim Geraghty of the Campaign Spot:

"Hillary offers her health care plan, and Giuliani criticizes it, Romney criticizes it... I'd be surprised if we didn't have reaction quotes from McCain and Thompson shortly. This is a bit like last week with the MoveOn.org ad. The GOP candidates' comments are all fine, but notice that the forces on the left create the issue, and the Republican candidates respond. One is left wondering what it would take for a Republican candidate to throw down a gauntlet or put out an argument or idea that everyone else would have to respond to..."

Thus far, on the issues that matter (Mainly, Iraq and Health Care) the republican candidates have opted for truly banal statements as opposed to anything substantive. I don't really anticipate Thompson or McCain to come up with a health care proposal that goes beyond "let's extend the tax exemption to small businesses". This is small beer, indeed. And I don't really think that the candidates will be able to break out of this box as long as they confine themselves on some of the republican tax dogma. For instance, let's say Giuliani were to propose a revenue neutral carbon tax, well, Grover Norquist and company would jump down his throat for proposing a new tax. Never mind that such a proposal would be revenue neutral with an offset in either income or payroll taxes. The Anti-tax pledge that I believe all of the major candidates have signed onto is not even limited to tax rates but extends to deductions and credits. I doubt this will change until Republicans get whupped in '08 and possibly in '10.

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