In the Arena

“I Stand Corrected”

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Excuse me. I should have noted this earlier, but Kevin Drum does a good job of it now. The lede of Michael Scherer’s tax policy piece is devastating…and how often can you say that about a tax policy piece:

“The choice in this election is stark and simple,” John McCain said at recent Denver event, repeating a phrase that is a staple of his stump speech. “Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won’t.”

Seems clear enough, right? It’s an old argument you already know — Republicans cut taxes, Democrats raise them. Except it’s not true, at least not in the way that it seems. But don’t take my word for it. Here is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s chief economic policy adviser. “I used to say that Barack Obama raises taxes and John McCain cuts them, and I was convinced,” he told me in a phone interview this week. “I stand corrected.”

I suspect that when the inevitable “Obama Wants to Raise Your Taxes!!!!” ad comes along, this Holtz-Eakin quote will be the grist of the Obama response. “Dems Want to Raise Your Taxes” has been one of the most effective Republican arguments in the far-too-many presidential campaigns I’ve covered. That the McCain campaign would surrender that argument now is huge news and pretty incredible. (ADD: I imagine Grover Norquist is tearing his beard out.)