Friday, October 3, 2008

Facts, Speculation, and Candidate's Promises: Bozell Should Be Careful What He Wishes For

Brent Bozell has an interesting article where he defends some of the false claims made by the McCain campaign about Barack Obama's positions. Bozell promotes the idea that it is OK to speculate about a candidate's prospective behavior as an elected official, in a way that runs completely counter to that candidate's stated position, as long as there is historical precedent for said behavior from that candidate's party:

"'Correction' squads are insisting that John McCain can't say Barack Obama will raise taxes, no matter how much that announcing Democrats will raise taxes is like announcing the sun will rise.

In 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle suggested Bill Clinton would raise taxes on the middle class. Quayle said in the vice-presidential debate that everyone making over $36,000 could face a tax hike. Media 'experts' accused the GOP of mangling 'facts.' President Clinton was elected -- and passed the largest tax increase in American history, right down to the middle class."

Thus, according to Bozell, it is OK for McCain to say Obama will raise taxes on the middle class, even though Obama says he won't, because Democrats have a history of doing exactly that.

"This is the sticky thing about campaign proposals. They are simply proposals. When a president is elected, the entire campaign manual can be thrown out the window. Predictions about what a politician will do are predictions, not facts. Obviously, some predictions can be wilder, like the suggestion that Ronald Reagan would start a massive war. (Liberals never tire of that one.) Predicting a massive tax hike under Democrats does not qualify as a wild prediction."

Interesting, and a position not without merit. However, I doubt Bozell would care for where this goes when it is turned around and aimed at his beloved Republicans. For since we have historical precedent \, we could, by Bozell's own reasoning, ignore John McCain's claim that he will cut spending, and instead say that he will, in fact, let spending continue to grow as it has, and run up huge budget deficits as a result. After all, that is what the last three Republican presidents did. Or to put it another way, announcing that Republicans will run up massive deficits is like announcing the sun will rise.

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