The Corner

Debate Thoughts

1) One, no doubt McCain will mention his opposition to earmarks; no doubt Obama will reply that such savings are relatively small given the monstrous size of the budget. But McCain’s point is that they are the lubricants for the whole corrupt system of voting billions of dollars for questionable programs for which we don’t have the money. Legislators are bribed into voting for enormous outlays by relatively petty bribes –earmarks. Local police who take a bribe undermine the entire system of trust, even though a $100 bill here and there is nothing in a multimillion-dollar police budget.

2) Two, the problem with Obama’s tax plan is twofold: if we end up with 50% of the income earners paying no federal income tax, what incentive would they have  to worry about how other people’s money is spent, or why would they work additional hours and thereby risk losing their tax credit or at least their tax exemption? Second, why would businesspersons making over $250,000 in a high-tax state take on additional risks of hiring more employees, building a new addition, or opening up a new line of products, when they would know that with state (10%), federal (39%) and FICA (15%) obligations, roughly two-thirds of their additional profits would go to the government? The ratio of risk and effort to gain is not worth it.

As in the case of the counterpart who pays no taxes, there would be likewise no incentive for additional productivity. We would be choking the system off at both ends.

3) Freddie/ Fannie: the problem here is that both undermined the spirit of the law by waving traditional requisites for home ownership, a tenet of the American landscape. Once their CEOs cooked the books on both ends — the top for their own bonuses, the bottom for politically-correct agendas — they eroded public confidence. The same is true of voter registration and the ACORN matter. No republic can long exist when citizens are not assured their voting is sacrosanct and their public financial system follows the law. (The same pattern of undermining public confidence in the rule of law extends to illegal immigration, but I doubt that will come up).

The real story of the election…

The real post-election story might be that the voters could well have elected someone who was almost unknown four years ago; who has operated in a protective media cocoon since; who has a meager legislative record, or radical changes in his original positions, or little public history, from which to assess his qualifications; and who has an interesting record of associations (Ayers, Khalidi, Odigna, Pfleger, Wright, etc.) that cannot be discussed without preemptive charges that range from racism to McCarthyism.

I don’t think anyone knows what Obama’s true agenda is on things like FISA, NAFTA, Iraq, Iran, public financing, guns, abortion, capital punishment, coal, nuclear power, or drilling — or how to assess his claims of a new bipartisanship against the most liberal and partisan, albeit brief, record in the Senate.

The ACORN involvement in voter fraud, the swarming of radio stations, threatened law suits over ads, coupled with the vero possumus, messianic backdrops should give cause for legitimate worry about tolerance for dissent. The default narrative is that Obama had to be a hard identity-politics leftist to start out in Chicago; had to gain street crediblity by suffering through Wright’s racist diatribes; then had to be a liberal team-player as a rookie Senator from progressive Illinois, had to run to the left of Hillary in the primaries, and had to zig again in the general, but when elected will revert to his natural ease with bipartisanship and centrist leadership. All that is a bit of a stretch.

And that disingenousness is of more concern than Sarah Palin’s failure to define the Bush Doctrine in ten seconds.

Victor Davis Hanson — NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won.

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