Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Obama: "Let's Talk Better Mileage...."

It's hard to win opposing lower gas taxes

Obama: "Let's Talk Better Mileage...."

                           Campaign '80
Which message will resonate with voters?

Carter Reagan
"Let's talk better mileage"
- Jimmy Carter
"Kill the Bastards"
- Ronald Reagan

Responding to a question about America's reliance on fuel from OPEC nations, President Carter said "We have an opportunity to use American technology and know-how to develop our own alternate, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, freeing us from reliance on foreign oil. This is sound policy, not just for America, but for Planet Earth".

Republican challenger Ronald Reagan said "Mr Carter is missing one very important point. That is, if American is to continue to prosper in the 1980s and beyond, we must join together and kill the bastards. Kill them! Kill them!"

From The Onion's "Our Dumb Century," as republished here.

All the pundits -- right, left, center -- agree that Barack Obama needs to re-energize his campaign, so of course that way that he's doing that is by strolling out to say "Let's Talk Better Mileage," while Hillary Clinton and John McCain, each in their own unique ways, are saying "Kill the Bastards!" -- sometimes literally.

Here's where sound policy is bad politics:

GRAHAM, N.C. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday criticized Barack Obama for opposing the concept of suspending the gas tax during the peak summer driving months, a plan both she and Republican John McCain have endorsed.

The idea to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day was first proposed by McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, as a way to ease the economic burden for consumers during the summer.

Obama does not support the "gas tax holiday" and has said the average motorist would not benefit significantly from such a suspension; by some estimates, the federal government would lose about $10 billion in revenue.

"My opponent, Senator Obama, opposes giving consumers a break," Clinton said, campaigning in North Carolina. "I understand the American people need some relief."

Is that message going to strike a chord with voters furious at paying close to $4 a gallon now? You bet! By sticjing to his message of a new kind of politics, Obama is about to get slaughtered here by the old kind. But is the gas tax holiday a good idea? No.

The typical motorist might save $25 in gas tax during a summer, but have worse roads to drive on as a consequence. Dropping the tax would encourage more use of foreign oil and create more greenhouse gas emissions. Only in an election year could anyone suggest it's a good idea.

Of course, McCain is pushing this scheme on the road to his nomination in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where they know a little something about the cost of neglecting roads and bridges. But by then, he'll probably be prepping for his debates with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, where they can argue which one will kill more of the bastards.

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Will Bunch
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