Back to the Future, Tax-Wise

Obama’s top economic advisers have an op-ed in the WSJ laying out their guy’s tax plan. Interesting point of emphasis is to peg many of its provisions to the Clinton era’s tax structure. That’s a good move, strategically, as it sets up the question, “Are you better off now than you were eight years ago?” A lot of the voters Obama’s targeting will say no, particularly if inflation continues to spike. The Bush tax cut and the deficits it caused were the first triggers for inflation, followed in no particular order by loose interest rates, rising global demand for energy and materials, and uncertainty in energy markets. And the idea that a return to Clinton tax policy would spike the economy refutes itself when one remembers that the late 1990s featured the best economy anyone of Obama’s age has ever worked in.

They Didn’t Get It

The Clinton people never appreciated the power or value of Obama’s ground game, and were without the vision or means to assemble one of their own:

Not long after New Hampshire, in a senior-staff meeting that both Clintons attended at the campaign’s Arlington headquarters, Ickes announced to his stunned colleagues, “The cupboard is empty.” The campaign had burned through its money just getting past Iowa. And the news got worse: despite spending $100 million, it had somehow failed to establish ground operations in all but a handful of upcoming states. Now, urgently needing them, it lacked the money.

The Atlantic’s Clinton Campaign Expose

It’s up, finally. Here’s the nut:

Above all, this irony emerges: Clinton ran on the basis of managerial competence—on her capacity, as she liked to put it, to “do the job from Day One.” In fact, she never behaved like a chief executive, and her own staff proved to be her Achilles’ heel. What is clear from the internal documents is that Clinton’s loss derived not from any specific decision she made but rather from the preponderance of the many she did not make. Her hesitancy and habit of avoiding hard choices exacted a price that eventually sank her chances at the presidency.

Clintonian Delusions

Hillary Clinton ex-spokesman Howard Wolfson’s idea that Clinton would have won the Iowa caucuses had John Edwards gotten forced out of the race before that point because of his infidelity is what I call dumb-shit stuff. You have to be an idiot to say it, or an idiot to believe it.

Over at FiveThirtyEight (the definitive campaign horse-race/poll blog), Nate Silver does an excellent job of explaining why: If Clinton wasn’t a caucus-goer’s first choice, she quite likely wasn’t a second choice, either. That only stands to reason. Going into Iowa, she’d been the front-runner for the better part of two years. Democrats had a long time to think about whether they’d support her. For those who answered that question with a “no,” for whatever reason, Obama and Edwards were the natural destinations. It was a much more difficult leap for an Edwards supporter to turn back to Hillary once he was out of the race than it was to get behind Obama. 

Unless, that is, the Edwards supporters in question really disliked Obama’s stance in Iraq. Policy-wise, that was the only real difference between the two.

That Dysfunctional Clinton Campaign

An upcoming article in the Atlantic will paint a very unflattering picture of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, if the early leaks are reflective of what’s in store. They suggest strongly that Hillary has little executive ability, and that Bill was pulling the strings behind the scenes even more strongly than we all suspected. The urgings to paint Obama as the “other” and exploit Jeremiah Wright also show a tin ear for Democratic politics that by necessity relies on a multi-racial coalition. Rants similar to Wright’s can be heard Sundays in many a black church. On what planet, exactly, does the act of condemning those churches help a Democrat?