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Right or Left?

Scott Rasmussen, rated the most accurate of the 2008 pollsters, delves into the numbers and finds that Barack Obama’s tax-cutting stance greatly contributed to his victory. Rasmussen concludes:

Mr. Obama won the White House promising tax cuts, but he will be governing with a Democratic Congress bursting with desire for a more activist government. As he faces this challenge, he might remember the fate of another man who made taxes the central part of his campaign: the first President Bush, whose most memorable campaign line — “Read my lips, no new taxes” — was as central to his victory as Mr. Obama’s promise to cut taxes for 95% of Americans. George H.W. Bush famously reneged on that promise. Voters rejected his bid for a second term. Mr Obama ran like Reagan. Will he be able to govern that way, too?

That suggests an odd paradox, one applying not just to taxes but to a host of other issues. Republicans will be rooting for and assisting the new President on the the center-right aspects of his agenda, which are likely to broaden his appeal. Should he back off his protectionist language, or renege on his promises to meet rogue state leaders, he’ll get no complaint from Republicans. If he actually does go “line by line” through the budget and chop and trim, Republicans will be delighted. If he puts off for another day card check legislation, Republicans won’t remind the country he’s letting down a key ally. All of these actions would no doubt make President Obama more acceptable to a wider group of voters.

But should the new President follow the lead of his base on the Left, he will buy himself a heap of trouble. Juan Williams cautions:

The left is already laying out, you know, this kind of agenda that begins with everything from gays in the military to closing Guantanamo Bay, stem cell research, undoing the gag rule on suggesting abortions to people overseas. All of this is right there.Well, if the president-elect once he’s in office begins with that agenda, he’s in big trouble.

A commentator (whose name escapes me) once remarked that, since politicians always sell out their supporters, you should vote for your opponents. Republicans can only hope that will be true in the next four years. But, to their chagrin, they may be the worse for it in the next election.


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