Remember, I'm just a political analyst and pollster. Perhaps President Obama and the Democratic leadership in Congress know more than the rest of us. But with a new poll out showing the president with his lowest approval rating since taking office, the last thing I would advise him, were he to ask, would be to even hint at his potential receptivity to a "value-added tax." Especially with elections just around the corner.
I can't help but wonder whether both the White House and the Democratic congressional leadership are so intent on changing the entire basic social and economic structure of America in just two years that they're willing to risk fumbling the political gains they've made in the last few years.
Not only is the president talking a VAT, but Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is saying that now is the perfect time to seriously consider cap-and-trade legislation. Apparently, it matters greatly to the Democratic leadership to attempt to curb global warming now, following the coldest winter anyone can remember. Polls show that the American public ranks the issue of warming, and of the supposed solution of cap-and-trade, near the bottom of the list of what most concerns them.
There have been many times that I've asked Republicans the rhetorical question, "Are you people crazy?" Just one example was that idiotic Medicare prescription drug bill for seniors that the GOP-dominated Congress passed. But now the Democrats are driving the train, and it's time to ask them, "What are you smoking?" Not even Cheech and Chong, that cinematic comedy duo of pot fiends, would ever talk as stupidly as the Democrats are with the fall elections -- and potentially unmitigated disaster for them -- creeping closer.
Plus, the Democrats are busy bashing the Republican-backed concept known as the fair tax. The Democrats falsely claim that it would be an additional tax on working Americans. And not surprisingly, many Republicans shy away from openly proposing the fair tax because they know the facts about it can so easily be distorted in a 30-second TV ad.
The fair tax is a single, broad national consumption tax on retails sales. While a value-added tax would be levied on Americans above and beyond the ones they already pay, a fair tax would be accompanied by the elimination of personal income tax, not to mention the Internal Revenue Service.
The Democrats' public relations strategy is perplexing many political analysts. With partisan debate coming soon over Obama's choice for a Supreme Court justice, one can hardly imagine why the president would so much as mention the words value-added tax right now. He's got discontent enough to deal with among Americans. The VAT has put a seemingly permanent weight around the necks of many European economies. Many disgruntled Europeans feel they have little to show for their life's work.
The Democratic policy oddities continue. I would never have guessed this would be the time for the Obama administration to declare that nations without nuclear weapons need never fear a defensive American nuclear strike against them, no matter what dastardly deeds they might commit against us.
Ironically, America having a nuclear weapons arsenal since the end of World War II, and never using it has gone far to prevent the outbreak of another catastrophic war. Recall that during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cubans denied that they had nukes. Would Obama's wait-and-see posture have defused that situation?
And now comes word that someone tried to smuggle enriched uranium into the nation of Georgia, apparently for sale on the black market. Whatever the details that emerge over the incident, this threatens to make the president's complex nuclear strategy look quaint. When nukes are outlawed, will only outlaws have nukes?
Despite all these apparent missteps by the Democrats, I've warned Republicans not to get too heady as the campaign season draws closer. There's still plenty of time for joblessness to drop, the market to keep soaring and the general mood of America to lift.
Even so, if I were a Democratic strategist, I'd be asking myself if my party is trying to get re-elected, or if the goal is rather to so fundamentally alter the American governmental landscape that two years' worth of policy changes will endure for decades.