Frank Rich seems a bit bitter:
Privileged though they are, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama do want to shape policy to help the less well-heeled. Mr. McCain, who had a far more elite upbringing than either of them and whose wife’s estimated fortune exceeds the Clintons’, is not just condescending to working Americans but trying to hoodwink them. Next week, in a replay of the 2000 Bush campaign’s “compassionate conservative” photo ops among black schoolchildren, he will show he’s a “different kind of Republican” by visiting what he calls the “forgotten” America of Alabama’s “black belt” and the old steel town of Youngstown, Ohio. What he wants voters to forget is the inequity of his new economic plan.
That plan’s incoherent smorgasbord of items includes a cut from 35 percent to 25 percent in the corporate tax rate. For noncorporate taxpayers, Mr. McCain offers such thin gruel as a battle against federal pork (the notorious Alaskan “bridge to nowhere,” earmarked for $223 million in federal highway money, costs less than a day of the war in Iraq) and a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax (a saving of some $2.75 per 15-gallon tank). Now there’s a reason for voters to be bitter assuming bloviators start publicizing and parsing Mr. McCain’s words as relentlessly as they do the Democrats’.
Ultimately, one suspects that it would be really, really, really hard for anyone involved in politics professionally for as long as a John McCain or a Hillary Clinton or even a Barack Obama to be really and truly “in touch” with peoples’ lives. Which is what brings us back to policy priorities. McCains are reducing the level of government services in order to pay for an indefinite prolongation of the war in Iraq, the extension of Bush’s tax cuts for the highest-income Americans, a large hike in non-war defense spending, and a series of new tax breaks. Clinton and Obama are both, in somewhat different ways, offering more services paid for by returning to something more like the levels of taxation that so devastated the national economy in the 1990s.