Bob Dole in 1982: “We’re just trying to avoid going over the cliff”: Reagan, Kemp, and “tax the rich.”
(Page 3 of 3)
In fact, Reagan’s signature was literally not even dry on the new 1981 law when the cry went up from liberals for its repeal. Using the same “tax the rich” class warfare rhetoric employed by Obama today, it a liberal demand that grew louder as 1982 rolled in and before the new law had even taken effect. Reagan believed the lower tax rates were essential to a robust economy — and he stuck to his guns. Indeed, when Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee sought to roll back the third year of Reagan’s tax rate cuts, not a single Republican on the Republican-held committee went along with them and the proposal died. What passed instead was a compromise: Dole’s increase on excise taxes — telephones, air travel and the like as Kemp noted on the House floor.
Second, the role of the media needs to be understood in this. Just as the House Republicans of today are being pilloried both in the media and by some fellow Republicans for refusing to agree on principle to an increase in tax rates, so too back in 1982 was Bob Dole and any other pro-tax increase Republican being lionized in the media. With Establishment Republicans snarling at Kemp and, in a lower voice, Reagan himself.
It’s the oldest game in town — then and now.
Biographer Hayward notes in detail the sudden media slobberings over the once hated-by-the-media Dole. Because he had insisted on raising taxes Dole was suddenly winning accolades from liberal outlets such as the Boston Globe, Time magazine, the New Republic, and the Baltimore Sun.
Here in the 1982 pages of The American Spectator, Tom Bethell was once again writing about the eternal liberal media game of suddenly praising a Republican politician who carried the liberal water. Bethell had repeatedly pointed out that when a GOP politician does this, stories mysteriously blossom in the liberal media about how X has “grown in office.” Almost like clockwork in 1982, George McGovern — defeated two years earlier for his South Dakota Senate seat in the Reagan landslide — was quoted in the press as saying exactly that: “Bob Dole has grown.”
How does all this translate to the realities of the fiscal cliff battle of 2012 — yet another fiscal cliff caused by massive government overspending?
Other than taking what Reagan himself called the “bitter medicine” on those excise tax hikes — officially the Tax Equity and Fiscal Reform Act or TEFRA — Reagan was like a rock in holding on to principle. He walked out of the Reykjavik summit with Gorbachev rather than give up the Strategic Defense Initiative. He fired the air traffic controllers over the objections of a tremendous liberal media chorus. He insisted on challenging the Soviets in Grenada, Nicaragua, and Central America generally. He never wavered in his opposition to abortion. And he came back for another round of tax cuts — which he got — after his 1984 landslide re-election.
Was it tough?
But if there’s one thing today’s House Republican dissidents can take both heed and heart from, it’s that both Reagan and their former House colleague Kemp stayed the course with their beliefs. The one time Reagan wavered… he regretted it.
The current drama playing out in Washington over the fiscal cliff is identical in many respects to the drama of the 1980s.
This time, instead of Bob Dole being accused of being “the tax collector for the welfare state” the name attached is John Boehner.
It is a political tag that should send shivers through those Republicans willing to abandon tax rate cuts — thinking they can somehow appease the unappeasable Obama media machine. A machine set to blame Republicans no matter what they do. Just as they blamed both Reagan and George H.W. Bush after the two had signed on to the liberal demands of the day for tax increases.
It will be interesting over the next few days and months to see how many House and Senate Republicans are prepared to give a Republican primary challenger the ammunition of saying:
My opponent in this Republican primary is serving as the tax collector for Barack Obama’s welfare state.
We will see.
And a Happy New Year to you.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?