Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Dean Watch The New Republic Online is reporting that Howard Dean will soon unveil a middle class-friendly "tax reform" proposal to supplement his plan to wipe out the Bush tax cuts--a plan whose details will insulate him from the charge that his fiscal strategy involves raising taxes on the middle class.

Over at TNR Online, Adam B. Kushner welcomes this development (as do I) but categorizes it as a transparent flip-flop. And we're likely to hear the "flip-flop" charge from others as well.

But what's going on here isn't as simple as that.

Dean has always maintained that he wants to cancel the Bush tax cuts. But he never stipulated that this would be his last word on fiscal policy.

Think about it: Did Dean really mean to commit himself--almost two full years before the election--to a narrowly-tailored, unamendable fiscal program?

Unless someone can show me where Dean promised that repealing the Bush tax cuts would be his one and only proposal dealing with taxes, it's silly to accuse him of having reversed himself.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.