In 1988, George H.W. Bush ran a campaign in which he said he would support no tax increases. “Read my lips,” he famously said, “no new taxes.” He was elected and the pressure to raise taxes began immediately.
The Democrats controlled Congress and insisted that tax increases were needed. The MSM maintained a constant drumbeat of calls for bipartisanship and compromise. Both Democrats and the media insisted that a statesman would reach across the aisle and work with Democrats in Congress.
Eventually, Bush relented and signed a tax increase bill that was placed before him. He was congratulated for his leadership and bipartisan spirit. Until the campaign of 1992.
Once the campaign started, Clinton and the Democrats began a relentless campaign against Bush as a man who could not be trusted to honor a pledge. They framed him as a person who’s word meant nothing. They played the “read my lips” comment over and over and reminded Americans that, while he had promised no new taxes, he signed a bill raising taxes. He was no longer a statesman and leader willing to work with the loyal opposition. He was now man who lied about his intentions regarding taxes and raised them in violation of his pledge.
Expect the Republicans who agreed to the tax increase about $400,000 in income to receive the same treatment. It is, in fact, the only reason Obama refused revenue increases through the phasing out of deductions.
Obama got $600 billion in tax increases over the next ten years. Boehner had offered him $800 billion and Obama rejected it. Why? Because Boehner offered him revenue increases based on ending deductions, not raising rates. For the Democrats, it was critically important that they be able to say that Republicans violated their pledge to not raise taxes.
It is all Kumbaya right now but in 2014, we will hear how the Republicans in Congress are tax increasing spendaholics. It will be 1992 all over again. I guarantee it.