Thursday, October 09, 2008

What neither side can say

Both campaigns are implicitly lying to the public. I'm going to cut both of them some slack, however. They have to - the first person to tell the truth before election day loses.

They're lying, of course, about the economy. I think it's safe to say we're not going to be seeing any huge tax cuts in the near term. More, I think any cutting of government spending is going to be cosmetic and in the noise level. If anything, in times like these, the government is going to have to spend MORE money, yes, even money we don't have.

If McCain admits this, he loses the 'burn the house down' deficit hawks. If Obama admits this, he gets called a 'tax and spend liberal mortgaging your children's future'.

Interesting article at HuffPo lays out the options. Being a 'liberal rag', of course, they come from the assumption that Obama is the next President (which I think is a pretty fair bet, love him or hate him), but the discussion holds for either candidate.

I found this interesting:

The opposite argument is that the political costs of voicing pessimism are prohibitive, that there is plenty of opportunity to prepare voters for drastic action after election day, and that a candidate risks worsening conditions by sounding strong warnings. The classic example to support this case is the 1932 Depression-era campaign of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said little or nothing while campaigning in 1932 to indicate the contours of his New Deal program.

"Obama can downplay the economic crisis now in order not to scare voters too much. But if he wins he should immediately do what Franklin Roosevelt did 70 years ago, which is provide himself a warrant for dramatic, status quo-altering changes by creating a narrative that demands a new, disruptive type of politics and a realigning set of policies to go with it," argues University of Maryland political scientist Tom Schaller.


Political analyst Charlie Cook, publisher of the Cook Political Report, tells the Huffington Post he expects "that if Obama wins, he immediately takes out the garbage -- they push out all the problems, that the country, the financial situation is far worse than anyone ever suspected, forcing big policy changes far greater than anyone anticipated. Get the problems out there quick, while President Bush still owns them, then position yourself as having to clean up the mess."

Stay tuned for New Deal II.

Sigh. Sequels.


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