The Corner

Mailbag

#1:

You are of course correct to suggest that conservatives have pinned too much hope on the Ayers “issue.” What you don’t get or can’t admit is that it’s the logical culmination of a generation of running against the Sixties. The only thing that has changed is that the country has finally moved on and isn’t interested in attacks on the hippies. . . .

I have heard this line a fair amount: that conservatives won elections over the last several decades by running against Abbie Hoffman. Is that really an intelligent description of the campaigns of 1980, 1984, 1994, 2000, or 2004? I don’t think so. And by the way to use Ayers as a stand-in for “hippies” is an injustice to the latter.

# 2:

In your Douthat post you write:

[McCain’s] tax cuts are tilted more heavily toward the affluent and corporations than any Republican presidential candidate in history.

With 1% of the nation paying 40% of the taxes, and the top 5% paying…well you know the numbers…aren’t we at the point where it is just about impossible to offer tax cuts to anyone who isn’t affluent?  I’ve been impressed (disgusted but impressed) with Obama’s trick of calling his new welfare program a tax cut.  How are conservatives supposed to respond?  Hey, that’s not a tax cut you got in the mail, it’s your welfare payment!   Now vote for me and it won’t happen again.  And I’m sure the left would LOVE to have conservatives start calling tax cuts “welfare.”

Pretty soon only 1% will pay any taxes at all, and the rest of us won’t have a stake in anything but our welfare payment (sorry tax cut).  Personally I wish all taxes were a lot lower AND that the middle class and the lower class paid a much larger share.  Then the whole country would have a stake in limited government.

Short answer: Our response can be to offer relief from payroll taxes as well as income taxes. Longer answer: I’m going to write an article on this topic pretty soon.

# 3:

I cannot believe you wrote so flippantly that next year will be like the first season of Lost. Some of us think that there are important issues at stake in this election: infanticide, Iran, our slide toward socialism–and you’re cracking jokes.

With that kind of attitude, you’re not going to last long on the island.

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

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