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  • Taxes: Bold for Bush?

       August 30, 2004

    First, does anyone get the title reference? Think Jimi Hendrix's "Axis: Bold as Love".

    The McCain for Cheney trade rumors are heating up again. Ace cites a quote from Karl Rove that is feeding the rumormill:

    One more bit of evidence: Karl Rove is promising that Bush will be "bold" at the convention. Why is he heightening expectations? Especially because, let's face it, there seems to be very definite limits to how bold he can possibly be, policy-wise. His foreign policy is bold, but we already know that; he certainly can't announce he'll be even bolder (i.e., the airstrikes on NK and Iran begin in five minutes). And it's not "bold" to promise "more of the same."

    Domestic-policy-wise, Republicans have a limited ability to be "bold," since the very foundation of the Republican party is (generally) against additional spending or government programs. Sure, Bush could be "bold" by cancelling or cutting back programs, but that's not the sort of thing you do to reach out to mushy moderates. There's just no money available in the budget, so what on earth could he be "bold" about? John Forbes Kerry is "boldly" promising to bankrupt the country by pouring $1 billion of money we don't have into insuring the uninsured; surely Bush won't (can't) match him dollar-for-dollar in terms of such boldness.

    I can think of one very bold proposal. A couple of weeks ago, James speculated here that Bush may be close to announcing a plan for a flatter tax and elimination of the IRS. That would certainly satisfy the bold requirement. And honestly, dumping Cheney for McCain would most likely guarantee a victory right now, but:

    1. Changing VPs is a last resort kind of move. Bush is inching ahead in the polls every day. He doesn't need McCain to win anymore.

    2. Bush strikes me as a man with a sense of personal loyalty. Cheney has been a steadfast warrior since 9/11. While Dems don't like him, Republicans do, and many wouldn't look kindly on a man who'd dump his running mate like that.

    3. Cheney has had a much higher profile in recent months. His speech at Reagan's state funeral was magnificent and widely quoted. It was the first time he's really been in the spotlight since 9/11.

    4. If Bush makes McCain his VP, that sets up McCain as the slam dunk winner of the 2008 primaries. Is that really what the Republican establishment wants? Wouldn't some want to keep the door open for a more socially conservative candidate?

    There is, of course, a flip side to #4. The Dems already have their 2008 nominee, Hillary Clinton. The Republicans know this and some may want to counter that by also having their own candidate basically pre-selected. Of course, McCain doesn't need to be Vice President for that. He and Hillary can be in the Senate and start running a very long 2008 race in December 2004.

    Posted by at August 30, 2004 05:38 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: SWLiP at August 30, 2004 09:04 PM

    I see only two flaws in your thinking:

    1. If Cheney graciously declines to accept the nomination for another term as V.P., citing unspecified "health reasons," Bush wouldn't be "dumping" him (though I think you're right about the Bush penchant for loyalty).

    2. I seriously doubt that McCain would feel like fighting the uphill fight to become the nominee in 2008, unless he was already the presumptive nominee.

    Having said that, I consider a V.P. switch at this juncture to be somewhat less than 30% likely. And I don't see why, if a switch is to happen, McCain would be the guy. I could just as well see Bush going with Giuliani or even Condi Rice (which would really give the Dems something to think about in 2008).




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