Donald Lambro

Democratic backpedaling on tax-and-spend issues re also in full swing in some state capitals, most notably in New York where a new governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, is calling for tax cuts to breathe new life into the Empire State's lackluster economy.

"We need radical reform, we need a new approach, we need a new perspective," Cuomo said last week in his first State of the State address. "And we need it now."

The governor "mentioned the word 'tax' or 'taxes' 21 times, mostly to denounce them and promise to lower them," a shocked New York Times reported.

Cuomo, who faces a $10 billion budget deficit, wants the state's agencies, authorities and departments slashed by 20 percent, state worker salaries frozen, the growth of government restricted to the rate of inflation, Medicaid cut, and limits placed on property taxes.

"What made New York the Empire State," he said, "was not a large government complex. It was a vibrant private sector that was creating great jobs."

"New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation," he lectured his state legislature. "Our young people will not stay, businesses will not come; this has to change. Put it simply, the people of this state simply cannot afford to pay more taxes, period."

Cuomo has closely studied the results of the last election and has concluded that the voters have had enough of big government and ever-higher taxes. Is Obama listening?

Back here in Washington, some of those liberal Democrats are having second thoughts about what they voted for over the past two years during the Pelosi and Reid spending binge.

One of them is Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri who once was a blank check for Obama's agenda, but says she is now thinking about scrapping the provision in Obamacare that forces uninsured Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

"There's other ways we can get people into the (insured) pool -- I hope -- other than the mandate, and we need to look at that," she said in an interview on MSNBC.

McCaskill, along with at least a half dozen other Democrats in the Senate, is facing a tough reelection race in 2012, and polls show Obamacare is unpopular in her state, with 75 percent of the voters opposed to the individual mandate. When one of Obama's closest liberal allies is questioning the new health care law because she fears defeat in the next election -- along with several of her colleagues -- it could mean Obamacare is in deep trouble.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.