Never mind that he’s not on the ballot, Democrats are planning on running against George W. Bush during this midterm election season. And it’s no wonder why:
…The main reason that Third Way, a centrist Democratic group, organized this breakfast discussion [was] to unveil a poll done by the Benenson Group (Joel Benenson is Obama’s pollster). Its central finding is the potency of Bush as a negative for the Republicans if the Democrats can find a way to reinject him into the campaign. That’s the good news. The bad news, says Matt Bennett with Third Way, “Republicans have done a spectacular job of removing the albatross of Bush.” When asked if the GOP would return to Bush policies if they gain control of the Congress, even Democrats said no, surely Republicans wouldn’t be that stupid.
But when Bush’s name is tied to the economic ideas that conservatives are promoting, and they are identical, there is a 49-point swing in favor of Obama, the biggest swing Bennett said he’s ever seen in a poll. For Democrats searching for a light to lead them through the darkness, it might help to remind voters that while Bush is gone, his ideas live on in his ideological clones, and voting out the new crowd will only bring back the old crowd.
One issue that might refocus the debate on Bush is the tax code. Obama has pledged to extend the tax cuts initiated under the Bush administration for individuals making under $200,000 and families making less than $250,000, but to repeal the large cuts made for individuals and families making more than that amount.
Republicans like Sarah Palin are busy calling his plan “the largest tax increase in U.S. history” and claiming erroneously it will amount to $3.8 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. In reality, the number is closer to $700 billion. Whether Dems can successfully position the issue as a debate about the returning to the policies of the Bush administration seems crucial to their prospects in the midterms.
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