For months there had been speculation about what strategy President Barack Obama would use in his re-election campaign. He had two options, political analysts suggested: Obama could copy former President Bill Clinton's successful "triangulation" maneuver in an attempt to include moderates in his base, or he could move leftward to placate ultra-liberals who helped put him in the White House.
It seems the president has made up his mind: He will follow his natural inclination to liberal policies. That appears to be the logical conclusion from what Obama has done during the past few weeks.
First, he proposed a $447 billion "jobs program" loaded with "stimulus" spending of the type that failed before. It will be paid for almost exclusively with new taxes, Obama said.
Then the president revealed a 10-year plan to reduce the government spending deficit. It relies primarily on $1.5 trillion in new taxes.
During a period of just a few days, then, Obama proposed a massive tax increase, of nearly $2 trillion. Clearly, he believes a new call to class warfare will bring liberal voters back into the fold for him.
More than a little hypocrisy oozes from Obama's proposal. He and fellow liberals accuse conservatives of attempting to wreck entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid - but the White House deficit-reduction proposal calls for $580 billion in spending cuts from such programs. That is on top of Medicare cutbacks included in his national health care takeover.
And in order to pad his claim of actually reducing the deficit, Obama includes $1 trillion in "savings" from ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But troop withdrawals from those countries already have been scheduled, meaning Obama's claim on ending the wars adds absolutely nothing to deficit reduction.
We trust Congress will reject both tax increases Obama is seeking.
But, again, we don't think Obama really cares what lawmakers do. His initiatives appear calculated more as a message to liberal voters than as actual policy strategies. They also should serve as a message to voters who had been hoping the president would moderate his liberalism.