| Gergen: Reagan administration enacted 'redistribution' of wealth
Senator John McCain has been attempting to appeal to voters lately by attacking Barack Obama over his plans to reduce taxes for the middle class while increasing them on the wealthiest Americans.
Political analyst David Gergen believes the Democrats ought to fight back harder than they have against these claims that Obama is a "socialist" and suggests they start by pointing out that the most esteemed Republican presidents, such as Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, were also supporters of what McCain decries as "income redistribution."
In a speech set for Monday, McCain asserts, "Senator Obama is running to be Redistributionist in Chief. I'm running to be Commander in Chief. Senator Obama is running to spread the wealth. I'm running to create more wealth. Senator Obama is running to punish the successful. I'm running to make everyone successful."
When asked by CNN's Anderson Cooper whether McCain's attacks are working, Gergen replied, "They may be making some modest progress with it. We do see some evidence of McCain coming up a point or two here and there. I don't think it's anywhere near close enough to win an election."
However, Gergen added that "more importantly, I don't think the Democrats have really answered it appropriately."
Gergen suggested that the Democrats should invoke the example of Teddy Roosevelt, who was both a Republican and one of the greatest advocates of progressive taxation in the years immediately preceding the enactment of the current income tax.
Gergen also noted that the Reagan administration was responsible for enacting the Earned Income Tax Credit, an extremely successful redistribution program which returns money to the working poor.
"Sometimes they get so carried away that they don't realize the realities of what we've been going through," Gergen added. Apparently referring to McCain's promises to "create more wealth," he explained that "the wealth over the last 30 years has been redistributed -- it's been redistributed upwards. As we grow, the top one percent's getting a disproportionate share."
"Everything McCain does seems scattershot," concluded correspondent John King. "You needed to start a long time ago and build your case, not just throw these things out."
CNN has a complete transcript here.
This video is from CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, broadcast October 27, 2008.
Download video via RawReplay.com
Originally published on Tuesday October 28, 2008.