Warner Admits Kerry Was Right on Tax Cuts

Warner now acknowledges that he was wrong in an interview with Hotline in his previous statements on George Bush’s tax cuts:

Ex-VA Gov. Mark Warner (D) wants you to know: he thinks the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans, enacted during an expensive war and with rising federal budget deficits, were “morally wrong and economically wrong” and that he would indeed support their repeal.

What about his criticism of John Kerry? He takes it back:

Warner, in an interview with The Hotline this a.m., clarified his comments Monday in Iowa, which were reported by the Des Moines Register. Warner said he did not mean to suggest that Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was wrong to urge the repeal of those tax cuts benefiting the richest two percent of taxpayers.

He later said, “The Kerry position was right but [the] concern is, how do you make the case to the American people?” To be fair to Warner, he does have one valid point when discusses how the case is made to the American people. “Sometimes, said Warner, Democrats “appear as anti ‘people-being-successful.” It is a valid concern that Democrats need to do a better job of dispelling the Republican claims that Democrats are opposed to the interests of the successful and wealthy. There are many ways to do this other than pretending that we can continue the Voodoo Economics of the Bush Administration.
What is needed is to sell the taxes to those paying more based upon the value received both individually and to society. What most people in my position don’t think about is that we wouldn’t be in a position to be making enough to be taxed more in the first place if we didn’t have this infrastructure. Taxes are needed to maintain this, and maintain our ability to make money.

Tax money is needed if we want to solve problems like the health care crisis. Even for myself, receiving a large part of my medical expenses through professional courtesy, health care expenses are a pain. Obviously it is a far worse problem for others, but even those of us who would be hit by Kerry’s proposal for eliminating the Bush tax cuts on incomes over $200,000 would benefit from his plan.

Another argument which would resonate with the affluent is the manner in which value of retirement plans are eroded by inflation due to the size of the deficit.

There are many ways to attract the affluent, but you can’t avoid the truth out of fear of alienating them either. We already have Republicans for those who believe in Voodoo Economics and think we can spend whatever they want, while cutting taxes, without ultimately paying a price.

DeVos and Granholm Differ on Intelligent Design

The culture wars are heating up in the race for Governor of Michigan. Dick DeVos started campaigning based upon the economy, undoubtable hoping that Governor Granholm would take the blame and Michigan voters, accustomed to moderate Republicans in the past, would vote for a change. DeVoss initially avoided discussion of his far right views, including a history of support for organizations which support an incresed role for religion in government and for school vouchers. In an interview on education with AP, DeVos supported the teaching of creationism/intelligent design in science classes:

He says teaching intelligent design along with evolution would help students discern the facts among different theories. He’d like to see local school districts be able to teach intelligent design if they choose to, although he wouldn’t require that it be taught in science classes.

“I would like to see the ideas of intelligent design that many scientists are now suggesting is a very viable alternative theory,” DeVos told The Associated Press this week during an interview on education. “That theory and others that would be considered credible would expose our students to more ideas, not less.”

In contrast, Granholm would keep religion out of the science classes:

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said that Michigan schools need to teach the established theory of evolution in science classes and not include intelligent design. She says school districts can explore intelligent design in current events or comparative religions classes.

Intelligent design has recently been an issue in Michigan. Two teachers in Gulf Lake Community schools wanted to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution and were prevented from doing so by the school board. The school district would allow the teaching of intelligent design in an elective course on controversial issues, but not in science classes. The Thomas Moore Law Center, which represented the Dover school district which had its policy supporting teaching of intelligent design struck down, and which Dick DeVos has contributed to, is threatening to sue Gulf Lake over their policy prohibiting teaching of intelligent design in science classes.

For those of you reading this outside of Michigan, keep in mind that DeVos’s long range goal appears to be to buy the Michigan Governor’s office as a stepping stone to the White House. He even purchased the DeVosforPresident.com web address back in November 2004.

Andrew Sullivan on Mr. Conservative

I’ve posted a couple of times (here and here) on CC Goldwater’s documentary, Mr. Conservative, but will have to postpone actually watching. My high definition recorder (required for pay cable) only handles two shows at a time and the documentary was on at the same time as both Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip and Weeds, and therefore I only watched part of the documentary and am recording it during a later showing this week. The part I did watch reminded me of an aspect of Goldwater I previously knew but totally forgot about while thinking of the political issues. Goldwater was an avid shortwave radio hobbyist. (For those of you too young to know what this means, think of instant messaging over radio with spoken words or Morse code rather than a keyboard.) Goldwater would sit on the shortwave radio talking to people all over the world. If he was around today, there’s no doubt he’d be active in the blogosphere.

Unitl I can view the entire documentary, I found Andrew Sullivan’s comments interesting:

Goldwater was an adamant defender of states’ rights, a principle he stuck with even though it meant being smeared as a bigot and a racist. Bush’s GOP has no principled interest in federalism, from its education policies to its attacks on states that violate religious doctrines on such issues as marriage, end-of-life matters and even medical marijuana. From the 1970s, Goldwater recognized Falwell and the religious right for what they are: charlatans who have as much concern for traditional conservatism as big government liberals do. What Goldwater would have said about the Schiavo case would not be broadcastable on network television. He also adhered to the old conservative notion of live-and-let-live. He never had a problem with gays, and although he clearly found abortion an awful thing, he wasn’t about to remove a female citizen’s right in the early stages of pregnancy to control her own body. He was, in other words, a conservative. Or as his great book put it: a conservative with a conscience. And if he was a conservative, then the current Republican party and the current president simply aren’t.

Goldwater’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act is often mistaken for racism, but more likely it was an expression of his opposition to the federal government intervening in activities of the states. In his later, more liberal years, Goldwater did admit he was wrong on this. Sullivan finds another significance in Goldwater’s vote:

The irony of Goldwater’s career is that this decision, made on a principled stance of federalism and limited government, became something else on the ground. It shifted the Republican Party base away from California and the sun-belt into the Deep South. Goldwater was a Western conservative, not a Southern one. And whichever party the South controls will have a hard time reflecting the kind of skeptical, libertarian, tolerant principles Goldwater believed in. So he both created American conservatism and laid the grounds for its eventual implosion.

While far too many Republicans defend George Bush regardless of his acts, Sullivan doesn’t hesitate to differentiate between Bush and the Goldwater-style conservatives:

All these years later, the end-result is a Texan president who hasn’t seen a civil liberty he wouldn’t junk at a second’s notice, who bases campaigns on subtle appeals to prejudice and fear of minorities, who has doubled the debt of the next generation, expanded government at a pace not seen since FDR, engaged in two reckless wars without the preparation or manpower to succeed, presided over a government riddled with incompetence and cronyism, and who has nominated candidates to the Supreme Court using their religious faith as a criterion. Whatever else Bush is, he is not merely not Goldwater. He is, in many ways, his nemesis. Which is why conservatism as we have known it has been strangled – by the Republicans.

Even Republicans Becoming Liberals

There’s another sign that the era of conservativism is ending and the pendulum is moving back towards liberal values in much of the country. The New York Times reports that many Republican candidates for governor are stressing their liberal beliefs. This is “particularly pervasive this year, as Republicans seek to distance themselves from an unpopular president and to respond to what is widely recognized as polarization fatigue among many voters.” The article provides several examples:

Mr. Schwarzenegger, who six months ago fashioned himself a Republican reformer bent on hobbling entrenched Democratic institutions, is not just tolerating positions generally associated with liberal candidates. Rather, he is using them as the centerpiece of his re-election campaign, marking the first time in a generation that a Republican governor here has clung to the left during a re-election fight.

The strategy is not unique to Mr. Schwarzenegger’s campaign. Across the nation’s 36 races for governor, Republican candidates in states heavy with moderate or Democratic voters are playing up their liberal positions on issues including stem cell research, abortion and the environment, while remaining true to their party’s platform on taxes and streamlining government.

In Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey, who is seeking to fill the seat that will be vacated by Gov. Mitt Romney, has openly split with Mr. Romney on abortion rights and stem cell research; her views are shared by the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois, Judy Baar Topinka, who also supports civil unions for same-sex couples.

In Maryland, the Republican incumbent, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., is pushing for increasing state aid for programs for the disabled and imposing tighter restrictions on coal-fired plants; the Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, opposes the death penalty. In Connecticut, Gov. M. Jodi Rell also parts ways with the Republican Party on civil unions and financing for stem cell research.

Kerry Speaking on His Religious Views

John Kerry spoke about his religious beliefs in California. The Washington Post reports “Kerry is the third high-profile Democrat to give a reflective, deeply personal speech on religion and politics in recent weeks, following Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Robert P. Casey Jr., the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.” It is a shame Kerry had to pick this topic.

Let me be clear that it is not John Kerry I’m criticizing over this but the American public. I understand why Democrats feel they must give such speeches, and cannot blame politicians for doing what must be done (within reason) to be elected. The religious views of John Kerry, or any other public official, should not matter.

Kerry’s religious views are extremely different from mine, but that never mattered to me. All I care about is that Kerry has no intention of imposing his religious views upon others. I don’t care if he is for or against abortion personally as long as he continues to oppose restrictions on abortion rights. As far as I’m concerned, Kerry’s religious views are irrelevant as to how I vote.

We are in an era where the religious right is attempting to restrict teaching of science in the schools, attempting to repeal a woman’s right to control her own body, targeting homosexuals for discrimination to bring in a few more votes, and denying the very principle of separation of church and state which this country was founded on. I could be certain that John Kerry, as opposed to George Bush, would never say God told him to go to war or that God chose him to be President.

In a perfect world nobody would care about the politician’s religious beliefs because they could feel confident they would not use the power of government to impose their views upon others. Rather than having to give a speech like this, Kerry and others could talk about what they planned to do about issues which are the proper focus of government policy rather than religion. Unfortunately we live in a highly imperfect society, and most likely many more Democrats will feel they most give similar speeches on their religious beliefs.