The Kool Aid tastes better and better. I have come around to thinking that Dean's position on the Bush tax cut (repeal all of it) is actually defensible, and I don't want him to back down. Let me explain my thinking.
The basic argument that Dean makes is that there was no middle-class tax cut. The best analogy I've heard is that Bush put $200 in your front pocket and took $500 out your back pocket. The entire point of the BushTax.com site is to document how the fiscal policies of the Administration have exacerbated the budget crises of the states, leading to more expenses - which the supposed Bush refund was intended to distact from.
Note also that the main champions of leaving the Bush tax plan in place for the middle class (Kerry and Lieberman) are falling into a rhetorical trap of ceding the debate (which Clark is guilty of doing on foreign policy). But Dean inverts the "it's your money" argument - staying true to the liberal notion that givernment services can act as a great engine of opportunity for the lower classes. Note that it is Republican fiscal ideology that supports the demise of upward mobility. The ideological assault upon the New Deal has begun - starting with symbolic measures, but the real agenda is to "starve the beast." Note that while social programs get starved out of existence, largesse is showered upon the corporate interests - further underlining their deliberate fiscal agenda of corporate welfare. Horatio Alger is not just dying, he is being systematically murdered.
When Democrats become Bush Lite, they are abdicating their responsibility to defend the policies and ideologies that define liberalism itself - the idea that success should accrue from hard work and equal opportunity, to any American regardless of lineage or caste. Is it any wonder that Al Gore signed onto the Dean campaign? This really is about the People vs the Powerful.
Is Dean going to step up to the plate? Arguing that there was no tax cut is only the first step. He has to follow through on the swing - and the recent hints about a payroll tax cut are exactly what the Doctor should order.
The Clark tax plan is good, but it isn't a visionary one. Dean has been talking about repealing the entire tax cut for months now, and we have not been very happy about it, but if you take Dean's position on the Bush tax cuts along with a proposed payroll tax cut, and sell them together in the context of defending against the corporate-welfare-driven ideology of the Administration, suddenly you have a much more potent argument. Clark's approach doesn't defend our values in the same manner as would such a combination. Let's see what the Doctor proposes...