Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Fred at the Convention

The conservative reaction to the Fred Thompson convention speech is overwhelmingly positive. Color me conflicted.

It was primarily a testimony to McCain's character, but substantively there was very little. We were treated to the John McCain biography, eloquently delivered in the Fred Thompson trademark baritone. (Fred, couldn't you have left out the part about the exotic dancer?)

On substance, the red meat was confined to a few sentences:
We need a President who understands that you don't make citizens prosperous by making Washington richer, and you don't lift an economic downturn by imposing one of the largest tax increases in American history.

Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases.

They tell you they are not going to tax your family.

No, they're just going to tax "businesses"! So unless you buy something from a "business", like groceries or clothes or gasoline ... or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small "business", don't worry ... it's not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the "other" side of the bucket! That's their idea of tax reform.

That was pretty much it. A few stray lines about the Courts, regulation, and abortion, but the above quote as the strongest of it.

Politically, I think Fred's speech was passable. Given the limited American attention span and the widespread ignorance on the complex reasons behind our economic problems, it probably wouldn't have been wise to dwell on tax policy. A speech emphasising McCain's character is probably the most sellable message he has for a prime time audience with undecided voters, but to call it a great speech is a bit of a stretch.


Anonymous said...

Question - after the Alberto Gonzalez fiasco, do you think the Republican party (or McCain) was unwise to select Palin? I would think that even a hint of unwarranted government employee dismissal - accurate or no - would lend prudence to looking elsewhere. Alternately, is the Gonzalez issue associated too strongly with the Bush administration to impact McCain's candidacy?


Sockless Joe said...

I thought that Palin's "Troopergate" would have scratched her off the list. Active investigations of any sort are usually a deal breaker.

Two differences from the DoJ dismissals:
1- There is a real policy difference that is Palin's official story. (Gonzales's first official story of poor performance was demonstrably false.)

2- The underlying issue of the ex-brother-in-law, if it is the real story behind the dismissal, is a story that I think most people would view sympathetically to Palin. The purely political Gonzales dismissals were not viewed favorably.

I don't think the average undecided voter even knows who Alberto Gonzalez is.

Anonymous said...

What's the tax hike - is that rescinding the tax cut?

Sockless Joe said...

That's part of it, but Obama has also talked about raising the corporate tax rate. iirc The US corporate tax rate is the second highest in the world.

Then there's also the "windfall" oil taxes above and beyond the corporate rate.