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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

Does Ben Smith ever get this one right: "The underlying fact here is that it's very hard to imagine a primary from the left that has almost no support from the African-American voters who are the heart of the anti-war, pro-government left wing of the Democratic Party. And with his numbers at 90% among African-Americans -- and over 80% among liberal Democrats -- there's just no space for that challenge."

William Galston is nearly always right. If the Democrats ever start listening to him, the GOP will be in trouble. "Obama should seize the initiative by moving comprehensive tax reform to the center of his agenda. He could argue--correctly, in my view--that the current tax code is far too complex, treats millions of average families unfairly, and constitutes an impediment to economic growth. Building on an emerging bipartisan consensus, he could go on to advocate a plan that broadens the base of the system while reducing rates--a formula that applies to both individual and corporate taxes. And he could challenge both parties to join with him to make a reformed code the law of the land during the 112th Congress." That, and sign on to the Ryan-Rivlin entitlement reform plan. I know, it'll never happen.

James Capretta is virtually always right on budgetary matters. He hits the nail on the head again: "The Democratic party has more or less defined itself over the last decade by opposing the supposed irresponsibility of the Bush-era income-tax rates. Now, President Obama has turned his back on the liberal wing of his party and endorsed those very same rates for the duration of his current term in office. . . And not only that, he has endorsed a liberalization of the estate tax compared with the levels that were in effect during the Bush years, and agreed to abandon the signature tax break from the stimulus law in favor of a more sensible payroll-tax holiday."

Those who predicted Guantanamo wasn't going to close any time soon were right on the money. "This year's omnibus spending bill refuses to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and would block the transfer of any suspected terrorist detainees to the United States in what appears to be the final blow for President Obama's campaign pledge to shutter the facility. The massive spending bill Democrats released early Wednesday morning would prohibit the Obama administration from spending any money either to transfer detainees to the United States or to buy a replacement prison in the United States, as Mr. Obama had planned."

Never thought I'd write this, but David Axelrod is right. "Today on American Morning, President Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod responds to Democrats upset over the agreement, and how the decision affects Obama politically. Notably, Axelrod tells AM's John Roberts, 'I say the people who are going to get screwed [... ] are the American people if we don't act to prevent their taxes from going up January 1.'" Umm, you can understand why Republicans are deeply amused -- and generally pleased -- with the steal-the-Republican-policy version of Obama.

The White House is certainly right on this one, but it's hard to see how blaming House Democrats is going to get the tax deal passed. "The White House said Wednesday that Capitol Hill Democrats are partly to blame for the tax-cut deal they have criticized the president for negotiating.... '[Obama] and the White House, frankly, urged the House and Senate to hold votes on this before the election,' [communications director Dan] Pfeiffer said on the liberal Bill Press radio show. 'But they didn't do that, in part because there's not unanimity in the Democratic Caucus on this.'"

Noemie Emery sure is right about the Obama-Palin connection. "Obama and Palin needed the six years or so of semi-obscurity they were about to embark on before ambition -- and John McCain -- intervened. Instead, their growth was checked at a critical moment, and, as it seems now, won't be resumed quickly -- not in the presidency as Obama is learning, or in a media frenzy, as Palin has found. They are famous for life; they will always have money; what they can never have back are the years washed out by destructive celebrity. 'She's been microwaved, she needs now to marinate,' somebody once said of Palin."

By Jennifer Rubin  | December 9, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Will the tax deal hold together? (Updated)



Watch out! The Palin people will be coming after you on this one.

Posted by: 54465446 | December 9, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

There's not a snowball's chance in the really hot place that Obama will "advocate a plan that broadens the base of the system while reducing rates..." As perhaps the most economics ignorant POTUS ever, he is all about "fairness", rather than what would be economically logical for the nation. Remember this gem? "Well, Charlie [Gibson], what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness." Case closed.

Posted by: ScientificSocialist | December 9, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"Obama should seize the initiative by moving comprehensive tax reform to the center of his agenda.”\

As you say, Jen, “I know, it'll never happen.” You got that right because one of the main reasons that the tax system is junked up is that Democrats simply love to use taxes, credits, and deductions in elaborate combinations in many attempts to control the public citizens much like Pavlov’s dogs.

Posted by: nvjma | December 9, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

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