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Looking for a Post-Election Republican Agenda?:

Here's something I think the vast majority of Republicans/conservatives/libertarians can agree on: holding Obama to this pledge, made to the American public during the third debate:

what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.... What I want to emphasize ... is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches.

UPDATE: Not that I expect this to happen, but it would be wonderful if Senate McCain and the Senate and House minority leaders each congratulated Obama, and added, "we look forward to helping President-elect Obama fulfill his promise of a net spending cut."

FURTHER UPDATE: More generally, and with Congressional Democrats eager to go on a spending binge that will make George W. Bush look like Calvin Coolidge, it's worth reminding whoever will listen that at least in the general election, Obama didn't run as a big-government liberal, but as a tax-cutting, spending cutting fiscal moderate-conservative. And no excuses, please, about the need to increase spending to deal with the financial crisis/looming recession, both of which were more than apparent by the third debate.

Loophole1998 (mail):
Net spending cut doesn't sound very Republican.
11.4.2008 10:33pm
A Conservative Teacher (mail) (www):
This is funny. You think this guy is going to honestly stick to any of his pledges once he is in office? On what basis do you give him that benefit of the doubt? He has gone back against every strong pledge he has made, to the right or left. Look, in Michigan, we have a leader just like him in Granholm- expect a lot of nothing while America goes downhill.
11.4.2008 10:33pm
Asher (mail):
Not me, I think now is the time for more deficit spending. Stimulus! But hey, if you want to hold Obama to that pledge and see to it that he raises taxes for every dollar he spends, go right on ahead.
11.4.2008 10:35pm
DangerMouse:
David,

How can you be so clueless? "Pay as you go" is just another way of proposing a tax increase. That way, they have all the money they need.

Also, I don't think it's a good assumption that the first item of the post-election agenda will be compromise. Frankly, I think a lot of Republicans are going to take a look at the "constant opposition at any price" method the Kossaks have employed for the past 8 years, and model their methods accordingly.

After all, dissent is patriotic!
11.4.2008 10:36pm
csm:
Neither one of these candidates would honor their campaign pledges. No candidate ever does. Besides, he would never be able to honor that particular pledge in the current economic climate.
11.4.2008 10:38pm
Hoosier:
Frankly, I think a lot of Republicans are going to take a look at the "constant opposition at any price" method the Kossaks have employed for the past 8 years, and model their methods accordingly.

I sure hope not. We are better than that.
11.4.2008 10:39pm
Ohio Scrivener (mail):
Now there is a promise made to be broken.

To paraphrase a commenter on CNBC this morning: Now would be a good time to invest in lumber companies so you can profit from all the money we are going to start printing.
11.4.2008 10:39pm
JeremyR (mail):
I think it depends on what he cuts. Reducing the defense budget by 50% would not make most Republican's happy.

Plus, if he starts nationalizing stuff (like the health industry), that might "save" money, but destroy it.
11.4.2008 10:40pm
Cornellian (mail):
Now would be a good time to invest in lumber companies so you can profit from all the money we are going to start printing.

Nah, the Dems will insist on using recycled paper.
11.4.2008 10:41pm
lorien1973 (mail) (www):
Didn't Obama say that a "cut" is really a tax increase. He sure did.

So, I do expect him to fulfill this promise.
11.4.2008 10:41pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
In the quote above, Obama defines pay as you go as "Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches." He doesn't say anything about tax increases. No, I don't expect that he wants to stick to that pledge. Which is precisely why it would be beneficial to both the Republicans and the nation at large that he be reminded of it at every opportunity.
11.4.2008 10:41pm
ChuckC (mail):
Ha! HaHa! HaHaHaHaHa!
11.4.2008 10:43pm
Hoosier:
Which is precisely why it would be beneficial to both the Republicans and the nation at large that he be reminded of it at every opportunity.

But we have no conduit, since the prestige media are in the tank for Obama.

Do we have to go door to door? Nationally?
11.4.2008 10:44pm
Thomasly (mail):
We should hold Obama accountable in the same way that Bush was held accountable. Let's figure out what the right metrics are, and then judge Obama every quarter. Unemployment, median wages, budget deficit, public debt--those are some metrics I like. I suppose that the amount of money we're spending on unwinnable wars would be another.

US OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!
11.4.2008 10:45pm
DangerMouse:
Which is precisely why it would be beneficial to both the Republicans and the nation at large that he be reminded of it at every opportunity.

You seem to be under the impression that he can be shamed.

Bill Clinton campaigned on a middle class tax cut. He raised taxes. Obama is even more shameless than Clinton.

NRO has a good post with some items that indicate a good direction for the GOP after the election:


5) Time to clean house. McCain should have been president in 2000, not in 2008. No more "it's my turn" for the last loser. We need to be looking for our candidates in the ranks of returning war vets — think Eisenhower in '52 as the model — and let the Dem's shifty lawyers run the country for a couple of years. Then hit them across the board with people who know how to lead. Gen. Petraeus might be a good place to start. Lots of junior officers, too.

10) Age matters. McCain ran an "honorable campaign" because he never really understood in his heart that the other guy had no intention of doing so; he didn't "get" Obama's generation, or Axelrod's.. Obama would lie about public financing, "oppose" gay marriage but also oppose Prop. 8 and never see it as morally contradictory. The world that McCain understood and operated in is vanishing, and tonight is visible evidence.

11) Unlike the Democrats, let's show some class in defeat. That doesn't mean lie down and roll over: it means fighting for what we believe in, doubly so now. But their sneering childishness is not for us; and now that they've won, they won't be able to control it even in victory. This is an unlovely party filled with unlovely people, as America's about to find out once the Obama pixie dust wears off.

12) Understand, once and for all, that the old media is part of the Democratic Party now. Ignore it. Never send Michele Bachmann onto Hardball again. Never send Sarah to play nice with Katie. We need to develop and create our own work-arounds — Fox, talk radio, NRO, etc. — and use them. Don't play by their rules: make our own.
11.4.2008 10:45pm
Malvolio:
Now would be a good time to invest in lumber companies so you can profit from all the money we are going to start printing.
No wood pulp in US currency.

And the Fed doesn't inflate the money supply by printing currency, but by issuing bonds.

"I for one welcome our new insane overlords..."
11.4.2008 10:47pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
If Obama keeps one promise I'd be shocked, other than the pull us out of Iraq and bankrupt the coal industry.

America wanted change, and they are going to get it. We'll see how much they like it come April 15, 2010.
11.4.2008 10:47pm
Hoosier:
We need to be looking for our candidates in the ranks of returning war vets — think Eisenhower in '52 as the model


PETRAEUS '12!
11.4.2008 10:49pm
fnook (mail):
David, way to focus lazer-like on meaningless trivia in the midst of presidential history in the making: "Don't forget pay-go," he cried, as the nation turned its lonely eyes to the least corrupt-seeming of the 2 choices on offer.
11.4.2008 10:49pm
Cornellian (mail):
Even a net spending freeze would be a vast improvement over the administration of GW Bush.
11.4.2008 10:52pm
DangerMouse:
If Obama keeps one promise I'd be shocked, other than the pull us out of Iraq and bankrupt the coal industry.


Don't underestimate the Infanticide President. He's promised to federalize abortion law as his first act, overturning numerous state laws relating to medical regulation of the abortion mills.
11.4.2008 10:54pm
fnook (mail):
But their sneering childishness is not for us; and now that they've won, they won't be able to control it even in victory. This is an unlovely party filled with unlovely people, as America's about to find out once the Obama pixie dust wears off.

DangerMouse, at your convenience, please feel free to kiss my unlovely ass.
11.4.2008 10:56pm
Oren:

Bill Clinton campaigned on a middle class tax cut. He raised taxes. Obama is even more shameless than Clinton.

Most of us that made less than $250k (and you too, probably) got treated OK by Clinton's tax policies. Raising the top tax bracket might technically fall under the "raising taxes" rubric, but it certainly didn't raise my taxes.
11.4.2008 10:58pm
darrenm:

David, way to focus lazer-like on meaningless trivia in the midst of presidential history in the making


This presumably refers to the first African-American president of the U.S. Why do people get so hung on on race?
11.4.2008 10:58pm
Asher (mail):
Commenter 1: Now would be a good time to invest in lumber companies so you can profit from all the money we are going to start printing.

Commenter 2: Nah, the Dems will insist on using recycled paper.

Me: Actually, cash is made out of cotton.
11.4.2008 11:00pm
Simon P:
DangerMouse, that isn't a "direction to go." That's a plan for future victory; it only demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of the conservative movement in this country. What do Republicans understand any more but power? Do they stand for limited government spending? No, not really. Do they stand for sane foreign policy? Nope. Do they stand for limited federal power? Not unless we're talking about abortion.

Maybe a couple of years of obstructionist politics by the Republican minorities in Congress can swing the body back towards conservative control. Maybe that's an effective political strategy. But what it isn't is a plan or a direction. It's power for power's sake, and if that's all that the Republicans really have to offer, then good riddance.
11.4.2008 11:00pm
fnook (mail):
Why do people get so hung on on race?

What does "hung on race" mean?
11.4.2008 11:01pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
Barack Obama also said he wanted to create a domestic national security force of equal size and power as our real military.

He said a dozen other wild things, and contradicted his own previous positions (it used to be called "flip-flopping") dozens of times. The man will say anything. He got a free pass on it from the media (and from John McCain).

He obviously has no intention of keeping this pay-go promise. Nobody is even going to pester him about it. He will just say that times are tough, and Congress wants to spend more, so that's what he's going to do. You're an utter fool if you think this is even some small chance he will keep this promise. It interferes too much with his real agenda, whatever that might be. We still don't know yet.
11.4.2008 11:01pm
SecurityGeek:
I love the fact that Republicans are in the midst of one of the most striking rejections of an entire party in American history, and all across the right-blogosphere and on Fox News they are dictating how Democrats should govern. Nice try. You guys had your chance,

Personally I would love to see the government shrink, and I think it's inevitable that Obama's big plans will be massively cut down due to the Trillion Dollar deficit he's inheriting.

I hope that one of the things that died tonight is the personal-destruction politico-advertising complex. Imagine a campaign where John McCain used the last 60 days to discuss his economic plans and the ways he would make America more competitive globally. Instead, we got AYERS!!!, ACORN!!! and other stupid distractions. McCain hit upon this theme a bit in the last week hitting on Obama's tax plans, but it would have been a lot more effective a couple of months ago.
11.4.2008 11:01pm
eyesay:
JeremyR wrote, "if [Obama] starts nationalizing stuff (like the health industry), that might "save" money, but destroy it." [Oddly structured; presumably, "it" refers not to "money" but "stuff (like the health industry)."]

That's an odd comment, both because (1) every industrialized nation except the United States has some form of national health care, which achieves greater satisfaction, better health, longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, and lower cost, than we achieve in the United States and (2) opinion polls show that most Americans also favor national health care in the United States.

National health care didn't destroy health care in the United Kingdom, it improved it. Ditto Japan, Taiwan, France, .... Remind me once again why it will destroy health care in the United States.
11.4.2008 11:05pm
R Nebblesworth:
Darrenm, lurk moar. In a high school history class please.
11.4.2008 11:11pm
DangerMouse:
DangerMouse, at your convenience, please feel free to kiss my unlovely ass.

I guess the truth hurts.
11.4.2008 11:12pm
lpc (mail):
every industrialized nation except the United States has some form of national health care, which achieves greater satisfaction, better health, longer life expectancy, lower infant mortality, and lower cost, than we achieve in the United States and
If you haven't noticed, medical care for the 65+ set is already nationalized; the cost ain't lower, and neither are the mortality rates.
11.4.2008 11:13pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.... What I want to emphasize ... is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches.


Did anyone check to see if he actually ever did propose a dollar-for-dollar cut in spending for every new dollar in spending?
11.4.2008 11:19pm
therut (mail):
Oren---- Bush cut everyones taxes. Including mine and I make under 100,000 a year. Obama will do nothing for me. I am too rich and single and childless. I really really do not want one penny from him (or the poor tax payer ) I want him to leave me alone. Really. But he will not. Sigh. Freedom has a funny meaning to liberals.
11.4.2008 11:30pm
DiversityHire:
Looking for a Post-Election Republican Agenda?

Nope! :)
11.4.2008 11:42pm
tsotha:
I hope that one of the things that died tonight is the personal-destruction politico-advertising complex.

Now that is funny coming from a Democrat. If not for the "personal-destruction politico-advertising complex" Obama wouldn't be president-elect. I expect the next campaign will be even dirtier, as Republicans realize they can't be the only classy actors in a street fight.
11.4.2008 11:46pm
Jimmy S.:
We need to be looking for our candidates in the ranks of returning war vets — think Eisenhower in '52 as the model

PETRAEUS '12!


Doubtful. Obama has four years to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq--and Petraeus will be the fall guy. Obama hates that Petraeus wouldn't give him a pull-out date earlier this year when Obama was in Iraq.

By 2012, Obama and the media will have made Petraeus the most hated American general since Westmoreland.
11.4.2008 11:47pm
DiversityHire:
I'm not looking for a Republican agenda, but I would like to see the country double or triple the number of states in the union through a combination of dividing existing large-population states and acquiring new ones in the south and north-west. Plus we should radically expand the size of congress by tripling the number of Senators and quadrupling the number of representatives...
11.4.2008 11:49pm
tsotha:
I doubt Obama will change anything in Iraq. He'll just try to take credit now that things are going well.
11.4.2008 11:49pm
Ohio Scrivener (mail):
"Most of us that made less than $250k (and you too, probably) got treated OK by Clinton's tax policies."

Clinton did not just raise taxes on high income earners. Anyone buying gas, intending to collect social security, earning above the former cap on Medicare taxes, or worried about getting caught by the AMT, were soon affected by Clinton's tax policies.

Here is a reminder of the Clinton tax hikes from the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act:

It created 36 percent and 39.6 income tax rates for individuals. (which kicked in at 180K and 250K respectively)

It created a 35 percent income tax rate for corporations.

The cap on Medicare taxes was repealed.

Transportation fuels taxes were hiked by 4.3 cents per gallon.

The taxable portion of Social Security benefits was raised.

The phase-out of the personal exemption and limit on itemized deductions were permanently extended.

It did not, contrary to Clinton's campaign promise, include a middle class tax cut.

Oh, and one other neat little trick. When Clinton along with Congress subsequently raised the tax rate on the AMT, they didn't bother to index it to inflation.
11.5.2008 12:02am
Passing By:
They used to say "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." But the new Volokh way seems to be, "When life gives you sour grapes, make whine."

So, Prof. Bernstein, are you asserting that because Obama favored pay-go in the third debate, Republicans can ignore economic reality? Are you saying that it makes it fair game for them to harm the country in the name of holding him to his words? Are you saying that's your preference?

Yeah, that would be wonderful. I can hardly wait until your share your next vintage of whine.
11.5.2008 12:10am
DavidBernstein (mail):
So, Prof. Bernstein, are you asserting that because Obama favored pay-go in the third debate, Republicans can ignore economic reality? Are you saying that it makes it fair game for them to harm the country in the name of holding him to his words? Are you saying that's your preference?
Why in God's name would you think that I think that cutting federal spending would harm the country?
11.5.2008 12:17am
Oren:

Oren---- Bush cut everyones taxes.

My taxes did not go down a single cent.


It created 36 percent and 39.6 income tax rates for individuals. (which kicked in at 180K and 250K respectively)
Not even close to effecting me.

The phase-out of the personal exemption and limit on itemized deductions were permanently extended.

I don't itemize, therefore, I don't care.

It created a 35 percent income tax rate for corporations.
The cap on Medicare taxes was repealed.
The taxable portion of Social Security benefits was raised.
I'm neither old nor a corporation. Hence, I don't care.

Transportation fuels taxes were hiked by 4.3 cents per gallon.

I support a $.50/gal gas tax, so I am against this only because it doesn't go far enough.

There is exactly one thing in your post that I agree with -- the AMT should absolutely be indexed to inflation. In fact, at one point, I was in favor of a blanket rule forbidding the Congress from passing laws that mention nominal dollar values.
11.5.2008 12:19am
WhatHaveWeDone? (mail):
The Dems ahve already proposed a 255 cut in Defense....

What other conservative spending can he slash?
11.5.2008 12:24am
Mark in Colorado:
I love the fact that Republicans are in the midst of one of the most striking rejections of an entire party in American history....

The Republicans were considerably more "rejected" by the electorate in 1974 and 1976 yet look where they were by 1980 -- back in control of the Presidency and the Senate. If Obama and the Democrats choose to govern as I suspect they will (hard Left), look for for history to repeat itself.
11.5.2008 1:16am
Deuce Geary (mail) (www):
Any net spending cut is almost certain to come entirely at the expense of the military.
11.5.2008 4:36am
Javert:

what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.... What I want to emphasize ... is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches.
How can one believe anything that comes out of the mouth of a man who is infamous for voting "present," who proudly proclaims that he is nothing more than a rorschach test, and who swears that he didn't know the putrid ideology of his pastor of twenty years?
11.5.2008 7:14am
Pete Freans (mail):
Obama didn't run as a big-government liberal, but as a tax-cutting, spending cutting fiscal moderate-conservative.

That's right, he did not run as one, but he will most certainly run in the opposite direction at the behest of his party's flanks and a majority Congress.
11.5.2008 7:23am
Ohio Scrivener (mail):
"It created a 35 percent income tax rate for corporations.
The cap on Medicare taxes was repealed.
The taxable portion of Social Security benefits was raised.

I'm neither old nor a corporation. Hence, I don't care."


Lifting the cap on Medicare taxes deducted from your income does not depend on whether you are old or a corporation. That change is very similar to lifting the cap on Social Security taxes that has been discussed by Obama and the democrats. It results in all income being subject to the tax -- not just the first 90k or so.

Also, if you are a shareholder of a company or your retirement depends upon them, you may want to reconsider your claim that you do not "care" about the corporate tax rate because you are not a corporation.
11.5.2008 9:40am
Xanthippas (mail) (www):

Here's something I think the vast majority of Republicans/conservatives/libertarians can agree on: holding Obama to this pledge, made to the American public during the third debate:


So what they can agree on is to hold Obama to a pledge that Republicans repeatedly broke? Are you trying to say that this is a winning strategy, or merely all that the shattered GOP can agree on?
11.5.2008 1:19pm
Oren:

Lifting the cap on Medicare taxes deducted from your income does not depend on whether you are old or a corporation. That change is very similar to lifting the cap on Social Security taxes that has been discussed by Obama and the democrats. It results in all income being subject to the tax -- not just the first 90k or so.

What makes you think I have any income even close to $90k?

Also, if you are a shareholder of a company or your retirement depends upon them, you may want to reconsider your claim that you do not "care" about the corporate tax rate because you are not a corporation.

Don't own stocks, nor do I have a retirement plan.
11.5.2008 1:40pm
Ohio Scrivener (mail):
"What makes you think I have any income even close to $90k? "

I have no opinion of your income. But you initially claimed that the former cap for Medicare taxes lifted under Clinton was irrelevant because you were neither old nor a corporation. Both of those facts have nothing to do with whether you are affected by lifting the cap on Medicare taxes.

While your income level is relevant to the cap, the threshold for its relevance ("What makes you think I have any income even close to $90k?" ) is well shy of the 250k threshold you used to extol Clinton's tax policies in your original post.
11.5.2008 8:05pm
David Warner:
Hoosier,

Petraeus/Volokh in '12!

Gotta get that key Jewish genius bloc next time.
11.6.2008 1:18am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Don't own stocks, nor do I have a retirement plan.



Smart man! Obama will take money from people who DID bother to save up and give it to you. Great strategy, if a bit shameless in expecting daddy to rob other people to provide for you.
11.6.2008 9:01am