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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:56 AM ET, 07/27/2012

The Morning Plum: Can Dems turn taxes into winning electoral issue?

Next week, the House will vote on two tax plans. The Democratic plan would continue the Bush tax cuts for all income up to $250,000, even that earned by people who make more than that, the “job creators” included. Republicans oppose that plan, and are going to vote on their own, which would continue the low tax rates on all income, including that above $250,000.

Dems are hoping to seize on Republican opposition to the Dem plan to accuse Republicans of holding middle class tax relief hostage to protect the wealth of the rich.

Later this morning, the DCCC will announce that it is launching a grassroots Day of Action tomorrow in the districts of 19 vulnerable House Republicans, including phone banking and door-to-door outreach, to alert constituents to next week’s tax votes. “We’re literally taking the fight over the Bush tax cuts to the streets this weekend,” an aide says.

The larger question is whether the focus on individual votes taken by Republicans on things like taxes and entitlements is enough to break through in an electoral environment dominated by jobs and the economy. Earlier this week, DCCC chair Steve Israel circulated a memo instructing Dem candidates that they should embrace the opportunity to go on offense on taxes. Dems hope to tie the pending vote over the Bush tax cuts to House GOP support for the Paul Ryan Medicare plan to make a broader point about GOP priorities and about which party is really battling on behalf of middle class interests.

“Democrats are mobilizing voters nationwide to unmask House Republicans’ latest plan to protect millionaires over the middle class,” Israel said in an email. “This election is about whose priorities are better for the middle class and we’ll take that message neighbor-to-neighbor and house-to-house.”

The true nature of the sticking point here is worth emphasizing. This battle is over income over $250,000 that is earned by two out of every 100 taxpayers. Republicans will vote against the Democratic plan — which has already passed the Senate, and would be signed into law by Obama if House Republicans agreed to support it — in order to keep rates low on that remaining high-end income.

Despite these stark facts, Republicans seem convinced they can duck the charge that they are holding up middle class tax relief and continue to paint Dems as tax hikers. But Dems seem to be proceeding from the assumption that this is an argument they can win.

* Obama’s new ad during the Olympics: The Obama campaign is up with a new ad that featuring Obama proclaiming that he believes that “we’re a nation of workers and doers and dreamers” who “work hard for what we get,” and that he believes “the way you grow the economy is from the middle out.”

The ad seems like a soft rebuttal of the “don’t build that” attacks. It emphasizes his belief in more investment in the middle class and his belief that hard work and individual initiative drive success — which, despite the lies to the contrary, are not mutually exclusive.

* More bad economic news: Just in:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012, (that is, from the first quarter to the second quarter), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 2.0 percent.

Thought: How about more of a focus from news orgs on comparing the two candidates’ plans to pull the country out of the crisis?

* Dems hammer Romney’s Brit blunder: The DNC is out with a new video recapping the brutally awful coverage Romney’s trip to London received yesterday, including scalding criticism from the British themselves. Dems will continue to use this mess to cast doubt on whether Romney has the subtlety and tact to navigate delicate matters of international diplomacy, and to prevent Romney from getting the storyline he wants from his overseas trip — that he’s shown himself to be comfortable representing America to the world.

* What “didn’t build that” really tells us: A nice piece by Jonathan Alter: Government really has given critical help to the buildup of business since the early years of the republic, and on what it tells us about today’s Republican agenda that Romney and Republicans seem to have forgotten this.

* Getting the facts on Obama and Israel: With Dems preparing to bankroll a campaign pushing back on GOP efforts to peel Jewish voters away from Obama, Glenn Kessler digs into what’s true and what isn’t about the Republican attack on Obama’s record on Israel. As Kessler notes, Dems probably should take the possibility of Jewish defections seriously (and all indications are that they do).

* Congressional leaders dance around gun debate: It’s depressing to see Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders alike claiming that, yes, of course they’re open to more discussion of maybe doing something about the massacre of American citizens, but refusing to say whether they would support actual legislation in that direction.

* The myth that gun control is bad politics for Dems: Must read from Ron Brownstein:

Gun control is deeply unpopular with the portions of the white electorate most hostile to Obama anyway: blue-collar whites and college-educated white men. But among the voters who might actually vote for Obama (particularly minorities and college-educated white women), restrictions on gun ownership still attract solid majority support.

* And Scott Brown versus Elizabeth Warren on guns: The Colorado shooting has thrust gun control into the Massachusetts Senate race, and the key facts are that Warren supports a federal assault weapons ban, and Brown doesn’t; and that Brown won’t say whether he supports efforts to beef up procedures to screen would-be gun owners and make law enforcement crackdowns easier.

What else?

By  |  08:56 AM ET, 07/27/2012

 
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