Steve Kornacki: The Time Republicans Embraced the Buffett Rule






Steve Kornacki is Salon's news editor.

...[T]he GOP’s current Buffett rule posture [is] mainly ... a cynical ploy.

It comes from the 1996 Republican primary season, when the party was searching for an opponent for Bill Clinton. Bob Dole, then the Senate majority leader, was the clear front-runner, and in the early going Texas Senator Phil Gramm (“I was conservative before conservative was cool”) was seen as his chief rival. Pat Buchanan, with his populist “American first” message, and Lamar Alexander, who pitched himself as an electable Washington outsider, were also in the mix.

Then along came the publishing magnate. Steve Forbes....

...Forbes launched a lavish advertising campaign decrying the IRS and touting his own plan’s simplicity (you’d be able to do your taxes on a postcard!) while promising that it would unleash torrential economic growth....

...The attacks [his opponents] launched are notable in that they ran counter to just about everything the GOP now says about taxation and the wealthy and “class warfare.”...



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