Fritz Obama

In yesterday’s “Buffett Rule” speech, President Obama quoted Ronald Reagan. However, while he quotes Reagan, his campaign seems to be inspired by Walter Mondale, Ronald Reagan’s opponent in 1984.  Wasn’t it Mondale who ran on a pledge to increase taxes?  But, giving Mondale his due, he wasn’t wild-eyed about it, and at least it was part of an economic program. 

In Obama’s case, his urgent cry for tax increases sounds like it is meant to be punitive, and it makes me wonder for the first time if Obama is a little rattled.  Gas prices, unemployment, low growth, foreclosures, his General Services Administration is a punch line – is desperation creeping in?  His charmed political life seems to have lost some of its magic.  He’s gotten a bit shrill. 

Suggesting, as he did yesterday, that he wants to name his tax increase after Reagan borders on bizarre. Yesterday, the president actually said "there is something deeply wrong and irresponsible" that some Americans are not paying more taxes to him. First, if he feels it is "deeply wrong," why does he personally need a new law to do the right thing? No kidding, where is his check? In the years since he won his race for the U.S. Senate, Obama has become a multi-millionaire one-percenter. He can lead by example and pay what he thinks is his "fair share" anytime. Write your check to the U.S. Treasury, Mr. President.

Also, is there any room in the debate for those who sincerely believe the size of government and the debt we are leaving our kids are "deeply wrong and irresponsible"? Or that confiscating more than one-third of a person's wealth is just plain wrong? Obama doesn't think so. He portrays his push for tax increases as a moral issue, not an economic one.

I'm surprised that this is how Obama wants to start his campaign. Does he really want to argue that our problem is that we are undertaxed, while Mitt Romney says our problem is that we spend too much? An election about that should suit the GOP just fine.

Rather than quote Reagan, he should study Mondale. If he keeps up the crusade to raise taxes it could get him the same result as Mondale '84. Quick, Mr. President, call Mondale's 1984 campaign manager, my friend Bob Beckel, and ask him if you should rethink this approach.

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.
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