(Dan here…lifted from Robert’s Stochastic Thoughts)
by Robert Waldmann
Nomoremisterniceblog almost states the bitter truth, but he’s too nice to tell us what fools we are.
I don’t want to relitigate the McGovern and Mondale campaigns, but Dukakis? “Free everything and impossible promises” weren’t what defeated him.
I want to relitigate events of 1984, which Delaney has sent down the memory hole. Mondale was not hammered because he made promises he couldn’t keep. He said he was going to talk to us like grownups. He said he was going to increase taxes (but not increase taxes on families with income under $ 30,000 which would be about $60,000 now with inflation).
So the people of the USA had to choose between a serious guy who told us the truth and the guy who promised that lower taxes meant higher revenues. It is obvious that most voted for Reagan who made absurd promises which he obviously couldn’t keep.
Now there have been Democratic candidates who promised to reduce the deficit and reduce taxes on most families — Clinton and Obama ‘– exactly the two non incumbent Democrats who won when the Income tax was constitutional and the top rate was under 55%. Obama also actually delivered (not that many people noticed) while Clinton was suddenly (not permanently) unpopular when Rubin convinced him we couldn’t afford a middle class tax cut.
Unlike her husband, Hillary Clinton was honest about budgetary and political limits. Unlike his wife, Bill Clinton was elected President.
The lesson is simple. Don’t treat the US public like adults. Do make promises, including some you can’t keep. The data are clear. Anyone who lives in the real world knows this. Only dreamers like Delaney, Dukakis, Mondale, Gore think you can win as the speaker of inconvenient truths.