The Corner

Connie Mack Aims for George LeMieux, Hits Marco Rubio

George LeMieux, who’s running for the Republican nomination to face Senator Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), recently got the endorsement of Herman Cain. LeMieux in turn praised Cain’s “9-9-9 plan” as “one kind of reform that would be a definite improvement over our current existing tax system.” Rep. Connie Mack IV (R., Fla.), a primary rival of LeMieux, says that LeMieux has thereby “endorsed raising Florida’s sales tax to a nation-leading 16 percent. . . . There are many reasons why George LeMieux is wrong for Florida, but today’s support for a 16 percent sales tax must stun even the Lockstep Liberals, Senator Bill Nelson and President Barack Obama.”

I don’t have time to list all the ways Mack’s attack is ridiculous, so let me just mention one. If we had a national sales tax of 9 percent, sales taxes would rise by 9 percent nationally. Florida wouldn’t suddenly have a “nation-leading” rate. Anyway, guess who else has spoken positively about a national sales tax? Marco Rubio, the state’s Republican senator. In fact, Rubio has spoken positively about a national sales tax higher than 9 percent. Rubio endorsed Mike Huckabee for president in 2007 in part because Huckabee supports the “Fair Tax,” a national sales tax set at 30 percent. (Some people say it would be 23 percent, since the tax would be 23 percent of the price including the tax.) Last year Rubio reiterated his support for the goals of the Fair Tax.

I’m not a fan of 9-9-9 or the Fair Tax. But I’d enjoy seeing Mack try to attack Rubio as a filthy liberal.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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