Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner was in Iowa yesterday pandering to the wealthy and defending the Bush tax cuts. Warner said at an event in Iowa with the Greater Des Moines Partnership in Des Moines, that Democrats have “taken the wrong approach in arguing against tax cuts enacted under President Bush,” and he singled out former “Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s campaign as a reason the message did not resonate in 2004.” EXCUSE ME?
Warner told members of the Greater Des Moines Partnership that “in order to appeal to more voters, the party ought to avoid alienating wealthier Americans.”
“I think the Kerry campaign missed something,” Warner, who is weighing a 2008 presidential campaign, told about 50 local business leaders.
“Even though the Bush tax cuts only applied to the top 2 percent of Americans, what I think the Kerry campaign missed was that the other 98 percent of Americans still aspired to get to the point in their life where they could qualify for the tax cuts.”
Where is the logic in this? By and large Democrats across the board opposed the Bush tax cuts and here comes Mark Warner telling us all that we’re wrong. Warner misses the point that a large percentage of the other 98 percent of Americans are aspiring just to make damn ends meet and the last thing they are thinking about is qualifying for that 2 percent pie in the sky bracket that the majority of the American public will NEVER qualify for.
What this sounds like to me is Mark Warner worrying about protecting self-serving interest, his tax cut as a millionaire. Did Warner pay attention during the ’04 campaign when Kerry talked about the fact that he personally would rather see working americans get much needed health care coverage, than receive another tax cut. And Kerry isn’t the only Democrat who speaks to the Democratic party from the gut and understands that the needs of the masses are for more important than the avaricious goals of the few — I’m talking Bill Clinton, John Edwards and ted kennedy to name a few, all who say they don’t need another tax cut at the cost of Americans going with out health care.
While most Democrats are fighting to end poverty, raise the minimum wage, secure healthcare for all, Mark Warner is pimping to the rich.
Warner said yesterday that “wealthier Americans may be willing to support what would essentially be an income-tax increase, but only if it is portrayed as part of a fiscal strategy that includes trimming government waste and curbing spending.
During the ’04 campaign, John Kerry called for repealing the rate cuts on the top two income brackets. Yesterday, Kerry spokesman David Wade characterized the same idea as a generational responsibility to Americans — something John Kerry spoke about in his speech yesterday at Pepperdine University.
“Senator Kerry believes that most Americans understand that leaving the tab for the next generation is unconscionable and investing in opportunity is good for all of us,” David Wade said.
Mark Warner showed himself yesterday as incredibly out of touch with the values of the Democratic Party. Rather than diss John Kerry, Warner could take a few lessons from him. The contrast between Mark Warner pandering to the wealthy yesterday and John Kerry speaking from the heart about the poor, is astounding. While Warner was saying in a sense “save the tax cuts,” Kerry told the audience at Pepperdine that the “first and perhaps most obvious common challenge,” for all of us, “is to take practical steps to address global issues of poverty, disease, and despair.”
The cares of the poor and the troubled should be the focus of all our work. Today extreme poverty shackles one sixth of the globe’s population, one-fifth lack access to safe drinking water. Here in America twenty one percent of our children live in poverty. Eleven million under 21 don’t have health insurance. Thirty thousand children worldwide perish each day because of hunger and disease attributable to poverty.
Those points are obviously points that Mark Warner does not get.
Ezra Klein says “Color me unconvinced.”
Not only is Warner philosophically wrong here — I don’t know what sort of Democrat believes it’s supportable public policy to raid the federal treasury to enrich the wealthy — he’s not even backed up by the polling data. Support for Bush’s tax cuts has, and always has, been low. they’ve never been as popular as one might expect. Moreover, they’ve become less popular as time passed. In 2000, exit polls shows that voters naming “taxes” as their top issue went for Bush 80%-17% — it was by far his biggest advantage on any issue. In 2004, a number of those hardcore partisans were surely naming terrorism, but nevertheless, those obsessing over “taxes” were now voting a rather different ballot, favoring Bush by a mere 57%-43%, a 49% swing in Kerry’s favor.