YGLESIAS (4/3/07): In case Rudy Giuliani's penchant for cross-dressing had you doubting his conservative bona fides, doubt no more. "I regard myself as a supply-sider for sure," he told Larry Kudlow on March 27. And just in case you weren't clear that by "supply-sider" Giuliani meant "know-nothing fool and liar," he clarified: "[I] watched Ronald Reagan do it and learned it, saw it work. Taxes get reduced, more revenue comes in."Matt goes on to state the obvious; as a general matter, the claim that lower tax rates produce higher revenue is untrue, and known to be untrue. In fact, the claim doesnt rise to the level of being untrue; it doesnt even make simple sense, on its surface. After all, if lowering tax rates produced higher revenue, why wouldnt Bush lower marginal rates even further—to 20 percent, lets say? (No—to 19!) But this is just one of the many ludicrous claims invented by the kooky-con right. It has been fed to the rubes for the past twenty years. Result? The rubes—and now, the Rudys—just keep on reciting it.
That in mind, well challenge one thing Yglesias said; he referred to Steve Forbes, who has endorsed Giuliani, as someone who favored the flat tax in 1996. But thats a bit of a kooky-con mythology too, if a flat tax is a system of taxation where everyone is required to pay the same percentage of their income in taxes. Forbes has never propose such a plan; the claim that he supports a flat tax is really just a cleverly-crafted deception, much like the pleasing claim that lower tax rates produce higher revenues. But then, our discourse teems with these silly deceptions. Theyve been ignored by the press so long that we all start to think that theyre true.
Did Steve Forbes ever propose a flat tax? See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/11/04; scroll down to FLAT EARTH, CURVED TAX.
BUSH UNCHAINED: Was Matt Dowd sincere when he boo-hoo-hooed about his deep disappointment in Bush? We dont have the slightest idea—but mainstream journalists and fiery liberals rushed off to vouch for Dowds good faith after he told his sad, sad tale in Sundays New York Times (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/4/07). They even did so after Digby recalled what Dowd said in 2005—back when Bush was still riding high, before there was any imaginable reason to jump off his sinking ship. Yep—even after Digbys piece, fiery liberals swore by Dowd. As one of our analysts sadly said: What rubes we mortals be!
What did Dowd say in 2005? Before we go there, lets make sure we know why hes so disappointed today. Struggling hard to speak through his tears, Dowd expressed his disappointment in Bush to the endlessly credulous Jim Rutenberg:
RUTENBERG (4/1/07): In a wide-ranging interview here, Mr. Dowd called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bushs leadership.Poor guy! Indeed, he said his disappointment in Mr. Bush's presidency is so great that he feels a sense of duty to go public given his role in helping Mr. Bush gain and keep power. And its all about Bushs troubling fail[ure] to reach across the political divide to build consensus. Noble man! Rutenberg quoted Dowd further: ''I think we should design campaigns that appeal not to 51 percent of the people, but bring the country together as a whole.''
He criticized the president as failing to call the nation to a shared sense of sacrifice at a time of war, failing to reach across the political divide to build consensus and ignoring the will of the people on Iraq. He said he believed the president had not moved aggressively enough to hold anyone accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and that Mr. Bush still approached governing with a my way or the highway mentality reinforced by a shrinking circle of trusted aides.
FRONTLINE: A former Democratic consultant, Matthew Dowd was the chief campaign strategist for Bush-Cheney 2004 and director of polling and media planning for Bush-Cheney 2000. Here, he describes how, even as the Florida recount was progressing, he and Karl Rove were already thinking about a re-election campaign in the event that Bush won. Dowd tells Frontline that while most of the resources in the 2000 campaign were devoted to trying to win over independents, his post-election analysis showed that only 6 to 7 percent of the electorate was truly "persuadable." "You obviously had to do fairly well among the 6 or 7 [percent]," he says, "but you could lose the 6 or 7 percent and win the election, which was fairly revolutionary, because everybody up until that time had said 'Swing voters, swing voters, swing voters '" This analysis, which was tested in the 2002 midterm election, formed the basis for the 2004 campaign's decision, known as the "base strategy," to focus on delivering votes from reliable Republicans.Dowds work had helped engineer the base strategy. No, theres nothing illegal about that approach; it isnt even necessarily wrong. But as Digby noted, Dowd is boo-hoo-hooing today about an approach he helped create, just a couple of years ago. In his recent interview with the Times, Dowd presents a different picture of his very delicate feelings during Campaign 04:
RUTENBERG: [Dowd] said he clung to the hope that Mr. Bush would get back to his Texas style of governing if he won. But he saw no change after the 2004 victory.Bush wouldnt meet with Cindy Sheehan! No wonder Dowd was so upset! Yes, that first paragraph offers paraphrase, not quotation. But boo ho hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! According to Rutenberg, Dowd was clinging to the hope that Bush would again become the non-partisan type if he prevailed in Campaign 04. Does that feeling come through in the Frontline interview, conducted two months post-election?
He describes as further cause for doubt two events in the summer of 2005: the administration's handling of Hurricane Katrina and the president's refusal, around the same time that he was entertaining the bicyclist Lance Armstrong at his Crawford ranch, to meet with the war protester Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq.
BUSH UNCHAINED/PRESS STATEMENT: For six years, Matt Dowd fed you bullsh*t on my behalf. Now, hes feeding you bullsh*t on his own behalf. I wish Matthew well in his corporate career, where hell trick you credulous rubes into buying a ton of bad products.