Tuesday, the state of Oregon voted to raise taxes on the rich--something it hasn't done in over 70 years. Liberals are eager to see the vote as
a counterstrike against those envisioning a conservative comeback
in the Massachusetts upset. But is that just wishful thinking?
- Populist, Not Conservative, Resurgence, decides The New Rpublic's Jonathan Chait, who says that this point is often "overlooked ... the current angry
populist mood may be hurting the Democrats, who hold power, but the
mood is not an ideologically conservative one." Taxing the rich is still popular, even if the public has "grown more
conservative on other issues." Jonathan Singer agrees: the Oregon vote is entirely in keeping with the results in Massachusetts. "Voters are in a populist mood right now--not an anti-government one, necessarily, but a populist one nevertheless." Domenico Montanaro certainly predicts Democrats will spin this as proof that liberal populism "can be just as
potent as an anti-big government message." They will also "see this as validation that 'tax the rich' may be palatable
to voters in 2010."
- Could Tea Party Swing Left? "This vote," explains Capital Gains and Games blogger Bruce Bartlett,
"is considered a bellwether because the state has previously been
supportive of tax limitation measures. Also, it appears that populist
anger, which has previously been channeled toward the anti-tax tea
party movement, may have the potential to swing in the other direction
when people are faced with cuts in programs with wide support." The
leftward populist move seems plausible to him: "I can easily see many
tea party goers becoming rabid tax-the-rich folks if the alternative is
higher taxes on them."
- Just as Important as Massachusetts "I really don't see any reason," writes the Free Exchange
blog at The Econo mist, "to downplay this outcome relative to the
Massachusetts election. If anything, this vote is more telling as
candidate personalities weren't on the ballot."
- Though Don't Expect It to Play That Way "I'm not holding my breath for Cokie Roberts and
George Will and Chris Matthews to drone on about how this is a
game-changer," says progressive blogger Marcy Wheeler. That said, as the "book-end to the MA Senate vote," this result shows "progressive messaging and policies do work."
- Progressive Messaging Works If It's Well Done, writes Robert Cruickshank at Calitics, noting the "smart progressive organizing ... which reached out to younger voters and had a strong
ground game." Such a campaign can indeed beat "well-funded, well-organized corporate/teabagger
- Or If It's Simply Got a Ton of Money "Big Labor," summarizes conservative Michelle Malkin, "poured millions of rank-and-file members' dues into a tax hike campaign in Oregon. It worked."
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
hhorn at theatlantic dot com.
You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.