Obama and the Two Santa Clauses

(10:00PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

The Two Santa Claus Theory is a political theory and strategy developed by Jude Wanniski in 1976, which he promoted within the U.S. Republican Party. –snip

The theory states that, in democratic elections, if one party appeals to voters by proposing more spending, then a competing party cannot gain broader appeal by proposing less spending. The “Santa Claus” of the theory title refers to the political party that promises spending. Instead, “Two Santa Claus Theory” recommends that the competing party must assume the role of a second Santa Claus by offering other appealing options.

This theory is a response to the belief of monetarists, and especially Milton Friedman, that the government must be starved of revenue in order to control the growth of spending (since, in the view of the monetarists, spending cannot be reduced by elected bodies as the political pressure to spend is too great). Monetarism is a set of views concerning the determination of national income and monetary economics. … Milton Friedman (born July 31, 1912) is a U.S. economist, known primarily for his work on macroeconomics and for his advocacy of laissez-faire capitalism. …

“Two Santa Claus Theory” does not argue against this belief, but holds that such arguments cannot be espoused in an effort to win democratic elections. In Wanniski’s view, the Laffer curve and supply-side economics provide an attractive alternative rationale for revenue reduction: that the economy will grow, not merely that the government will be starved of revenue. Wanniski argued that Republicans must become the tax-cutting Santa Claus to the Democrats spending Santa Claus.

And the beat goes on….  

Despite the two Santa Clause strategy being as old as the hills, we apparently still have to play the game; and it isn’t just us DFHs that have concern for Obama’s DLC corporate cabinet and their willingness to “do business” with Republicans.  Several Democratic Senators are expressing concern over the business tax cuts in the Obama stimulus plan.

TPM:  Democratic senators are still emerging from their closed-door briefing with Obama economic adviser Larry Summers … but a senior Democratic senator, Iowa progressive Tom Harkin, just gave me a dire buzzword: trickle-down.

“There’s only one thing we’ve got to do in this stimulus, and that’s create jobs,” Harkin told me. “I’m a little concerned by the way Mr. Summers and others are going on this … it still looks a little more to me like trickle-down.”

When I asked if he [Senator Harkin] felt his concerns were heard during the meeting, he looked to the floor and slowly shook his head. It was almost forlorn.

la, de, da, da, da….. and the beat goes on..

Chris Bowers: but there is another pattern emerging today that I find just as worrying: progressive concerns being intentionally ignored and/or snubbed by the transition team.

Now, here is an AP source on the absence of Howard Dean at new DNC chair Tim Kaine’s press event today.

“My understanding is that he’s traveling, so he couldn’t attend,” said Tommy Vietor, an Obama spokesman.

Obama’s transition officials, however, did not immediately respond when asked whether the former Vermont governor was invited to appear alongside the president-elect and Dean’s successor at the news conference.

But Democrats with knowledge of the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Obama team, say Dean won’t attend the event at the request of Obama advisers.

Howard Dean, an important figure for the progressive grassroots, appears to have been intentionally snubbed at Tim Kaine’s press event. Tom Harkin doesn’t feel as though widespread Democrats concerns over business tax cuts in the stimulus package are even being addressed in meetings with the Obama economic team. This worrying suggests that progressives aren’t even invited to the conservation over the stimulus and how to operate the DNC.

And here is the kicker: it is highly likely that while progressives are being snubbed, the business tax cuts were added to the stimulus in order to attract unnecessary, and entirely symbolic, support from a significant number Republicans. Symbolic bipartisanship for the sake of symbolic bipartisanship is valued more than even listening to progressives.  –snip

If Harkin, Conrad and Kerry are the people expressing progressive concerns over the business cuts in the stimulus package, then it is probably time that we get their backs. What say you?

Last but not least, let us add our Social Security into the mixture of chum the Obama team is feeding the supply siders, and we get de ju vue all over again or change we can believe in.  



    • dkmich on January 9, 2009 at 13:38

     Oh yeah, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

    • dkmich on January 10, 2009 at 15:12

    My personal opinion is that we need to keep pushing Obama to the left.  He may or may not already intend to go there, but we can’t take any chances.   Hope is not my style, but I can yell pretty loud.  

Comments have been disabled.