Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 11, 2008
POLITICS: Sister Souljah For President!

Oklahoma Democratic Congressman Dan Boren's announcement that he won't be endorsing Barack Obama is a moment of clarity. For much of the campaign, people have been waiting to see how Barack Obama would pivot away from pandering to the Democratic primary electorate to a general election stance. Waiting for him to "triangulate" some distance from his base, waiting for a "Sister Souljah moment," like in 1992 when Bill Clinton denounced that otherwise undistinguished rapper for her comment that black people should take a week off from killing each other and kill white people instead. Obama has had to flee under pressure from his own chuch, he's had to disown or distance himself from a variety of his associates, but those were forced, grudging acts; in no case has he gone out of his way to demonstrate his independence from left-wing dogma, and on some issues (like school choice) he has instead come crawling back timidly after seeming to question the Left's orthodoxy.

By now, it is clear: unlike Clinton or John McCain, when Obama is involved in triangulation, it will be his own party comrades triangulating away from him. Remember, Clinton made such a splash in 1992 precisely because these things had not been done in the past - Dukakis, Mondale and McGovern never did anything to divorce themselves from the Hard Left of the party. By now, it is clear: there will be no Sister Souljah moment by Obama because he is Sister Souljah, the very sort of peace-at-any-price, you-can-never-have-enough-tax-hikes, abortion-in-and-out-of-the-womb zealot that other Democrats need to run away from. Boren's not the first, and he won't be the last one.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:24 AM | Politics 2008 | Comments (19) | TrackBack (0)

I can't get the initial link to work.

Posted by: Alex at June 11, 2008 9:48 AM

Fixed. Thanks.

Posted by: The Crank at June 11, 2008 9:54 AM

I agree...

It is going to be fascinating (in a disturbing, sickening kind of way) watching the mainstream press pretend for the the next five months that this is not the case...

Posted by: Lyford at June 11, 2008 10:11 AM

It won't please conservatives, but Obama's unrelenting liberalism will make it easier for McCain to come to the center and win over independents and the thus the election.

Posted by: John Salmon at June 11, 2008 10:56 AM

Well, McCain isn't going to win the election by getting people excited about McCain, so he'll have to try to win it by convincing them they can't live with Obama. Obama seems willing to give him plenty to work with.

Posted by: Jerry at June 11, 2008 11:19 AM

"Obama is Sister Souljah . . . you-can-never-have-enough-tax-hikes . . ."

According to this article, the jury is still out in the case of income taxes:

Here's what the Tax Policy Center had to say about Obama and McCain's income tax plans:

"McCain: The average taxpayer in every income group would see a lower tax bill, but high-income taxpayers would benefit more than everyone else.

Obama: High-income taxpayers would pay more in taxes, while everyone else's tax bill would be reduced. Those who benefit the most - in terms of reducing their taxes as a percentage of after-tax income - are in the lowest income groups.

Under both plans, all American taxpayers could pay a price for their tax cuts: a bigger deficit. The Tax Policy Center estimates that over 10 years, McCain's tax proposals could increase the national debt by as much as $4.5 trillion with interest, while Obama's could add as much as $3.3 trillion.

The reason: neither plan would raise the amount of revenue expected under current tax policy - which assumes all the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire by 2011. And neither plan would raise enough to cover expected government costs during those 10 years."

This article is disturbing for a number of reasons, the most important one being that under EITHER tax plan, our national debt increases. Second, it underscores the not-too-surprising finding that the rich get richer under McCain's plan. So much for the middle and lower classes.

And notice that McCain is campaigning as a fiscal conservative, but his income tax plan adds MORE to the federal debt than Obama's.

This is exactly why I don't like the Republican Party's economic policies from Reagan onward. They are consistently the "party of debt." Sure, they'll promise to keep taxes low, but your children wind up paying the bills.

A caveat: they have yet to analzye the costs of the candidates' health care plans, and I'm certain I'll have some criticisms of Obama for that one.

Posted by: MVH at June 11, 2008 3:50 PM

MVH: The Repubs are the "borrow and spend" party, which is worse than "tax and spend" because you wind up paying interest to countries like China rather than just raising a dollar for every dollar spent. And the Obama as Carter analogy is an absolute "fairy tale" to borrow from Bill Clinton. It could be right on the money but the problem is McCain is no Reagan.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at June 11, 2008 3:58 PM

Obama has voted to raise taxes on people making as little as $32K per year. It's also unclear if that analysis includes his payroll tax hike plan. And the 'middle class tax cuts'...we remember how long those lasted under Clinton.

When I looked at the numbers last year, Obama's own lowball estimate was $65 billion for his health care plan.

Posted by: The Crank at June 11, 2008 4:15 PM

The standard Republican answer is that "the debt only went up because the Democrats wouldn't pass our budget cuts." Regardless of whether that's true, fiscal conservatism demands that you pursue your budget cuts FIRST, and then see how much you have left to spend or give back in taxes without raising the debt.

And just as Obama is going to have to explain how he intends to finance health care, McCain is going to have to explain how he intends to finance the war. My choice? Dramatically reduce spending in Iraq, divert some of that money to fighting terrorism where it counts (Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.) and use the rest of the savings to reduce our debt.

Posted by: MVH at June 11, 2008 4:16 PM

It has been argued on this board that owing tons of money to China and Saudi Arabia is a good thing.

Posted by: jim at June 11, 2008 4:30 PM


It's a fair point to bring up his voting record. I'm sure it's true that that particular bill did raise that 25% bracket. I'd have to know more details about that tax bill to see if that was a worthwhile decision given the entire scope of the tax bill. No bill that is passed is ever perfect, and I won't jump on Obama or McCain for every compromise they make. Also, I doesn't appear that he -sponsored- that bill, he only voted for it.

Let me put it to you this way: which candidate is more likely to have a more progressive income tax? Do you really think it would be McCain?

For the moment, I'm looking at what the two candidates are promising to do with taxes, and right now I don't like either of them, but McCain's makes me much angrier.

Posted by: MVH at June 11, 2008 4:47 PM

MVH the best simplification of their tax plans is that McCain plans to give the biggest breaks to people in his wife's bracket; Obama to everyone else.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at June 11, 2008 5:35 PM

I don't doubt that Obama will raise taxes much more on higher incomes. I just don't for a minute believe he will actually lower the taxes of anyone, or at least any significant number of people, who presently pay taxes; most everyone is likely to end up with a bigger tax bill.

I continue to believe that the relevant question is not the raw or relative size of the deficit but the overall chunk of the economy consumed by govt spending, regardless of how financed. And I have no problem with the federal govt, which borrows at a lower rate than anyone, covering a chunk of the financing with debt rather than taxes.

Posted by: The Crank at June 11, 2008 5:41 PM

I believe that the relevant question isn't the "fairness" of the tax system, but having tax rates that strike the optimal balance between economic growth, low unemployment, and government spending.

As long as Democrats continue to couch their tax policies in terms of fairness, I'll know they're on the wrong side of this argument.

Posted by: Joel B. at June 11, 2008 6:32 PM

Actually the Republicans are the 'cut taxes while rebuilding the military which went to rot while the Democrats were in charge' party.

Posted by: andrew at June 11, 2008 7:02 PM

My thinking is that this entire election is all about Obama. Either you are for him or against him. McCain just happens to be the guy collecting the 'against' votes.

Posted by: feeblemind at June 12, 2008 1:13 AM

For me, it's which one is the lesser of two evils, and I just don't know enough about Obama yet. I'm certainly not fainting when he's giving speeches. His opposition to the Iraq war is reason enough for liberal democrats to vote for him. But he hasn't convinced all the conservative democrats, as Boren's announcement demonstrates. I think the election is about -who- Obama is.

It's the natural course of election campaigns for presidential candidates to move to the center after the securing the primary. It will be interesting to see whether Obama can do that credibly.

Posted by: MVH at June 12, 2008 6:52 AM

The Hill today put out an article about 14 Republican members of Congress who refuse to endorse McCain and another dozen who decline to answer. The interesting thing is the variety of reasons mentioned in the article: Tancredo cant stand him b/c of his amnesty policies, others because of his Iraq policy, and I suspect some of the others have simply been on the ass end of one of McCain's tirades. The point of this thread was to imply that Obama will have trouble preventing Democratic defection, but if either of the two is going to have base problems, I submit, its McCain.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at June 12, 2008 1:06 PM

And add two more Dems abandoning Obama.

You will note that both McCain and Obama have problems to their right - McCain by conservatives, Obama by moderates. Obama's problem isn't "base problems," it's reaching beyond the base to people who are not dyed-in-the-wool liberal partisans.

Posted by: The Crank at June 12, 2008 2:00 PM
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