In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Flash back to last fall when lawmakers and the governor were trying to wade through a sea of red ink by latching onto a tax increase. Members of the Michigan House had three problems i.e. trying to decide if the tax hike was the right thing to do and if it was, they fretted about being recalled. Long term they also knew they'd be facing the issue again this November if they ran for reelection. Democrats, who voted for the tax hike, dodged the recall bullet. The recalls turned out to be all talk and no action. This November republicans are hell bent on making sure the bullet hits the target this time.
If a democrat voted for the tax hike, rest assured his or her GOP opponent will bring up the issue over and over again.
The framing of the issue will be forthright. Democrats will argue they had no choice. Facing a $1.8 billion hole in the budget, they demonstrated leadership by doing the unpopular thing. Baloney the GOP challengers will holler. With four bucks a gallon gas and voters pinching pennies wherever they go, the GOP will try to exploit a yes vote on taxes into a no vote on those who cast it. You can hear the GOP commercials now: Times are tough in Michigan. You're struggling to put gas in the tank, struggling to hang onto your job and the future is not very bright. In the middle of all that my democrat opponent voted to take even more money out of your paycheck by raising your income tax. That's not leadership. That's just plain wrong. Vote for me. That message appeals to the raw emotions of frustrated voters while the democratic ad will appeal to the voter's intelligence: Hi, I'm democrat so and so. I know times are tough not only for you but for state government as well. Last year, I had the courage to fund your schools, keep your cops on the street, and provide some hope for the future. Leadership is all about making tough decisions. I did that. Vote for me. When it's emotions vs. intelligence…well let's put it this way, the D's have a tougher sell job.