Friday, October 31, 2008

Spreading the Wealth


Just read this in Time:


John McCain thinks Obama's "spread the wealth" comment is a major gotcha. He has locked his chops around this remark like a terrier around Obama's ankle and keeps repeating it. He regards it as self-evidently self-damning. On Meet the Press, McCain ducked Tom Brokaw's invitation to agree or disagree with Sarah Palin that Obama is a "socialist." But a day later McCain brandished a radio interview from seven years ago in which Obama had used the term redistributive change.

Seven years ago, as Brokaw pointed out, McCain himself was
sounding redistributionist, complaining about President Bush's tax cuts. Campaigning against Bush in 2000, he said that "when you ... reach a certain level of comfort, there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat more." Obama has said no more than this, except to set the "level of comfort" at $250,000, which is pretty comfortable.
McCain is free to argue that Obama will raise taxes on people making less than $250,000. My bet is that whoever wins the election will be forced to. But his apparent belief that the very expression "spread the wealth" puts Obama beyond the pale is so out of touch that it's almost touching. It belongs on the golf courses of Arizona, not on the campaign trail.

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