In the last Conventional Wisdom feature before the election, Newsweek magazine assigned a sideways arrow for the Democratic vice presidential contender while giving the thumbs down to Gov. Sarah Palin for "sink[ing]" the campaign with a "lack of gravitas."
In doing so, the CW feature dismissed the damaging impact of Sen. Joe Biden's "rhetorical flourishes." Yet among Biden's recent foot-in-mouth moments was one that inadvertently broadcast the Democratic ticket's tax-hiking designs by significantly lowering the $250,000-a-year tax bar the Democratic campaign previously had set.
As the Wall Street Journal noted on October 29, the "'tax cut' threshold keeps falling":
Well, will families making less than $250,000 get a tax cut under President Obama, or not? Senator Obama has been saying this for months, but on Monday Joe Biden put the tax-cut income threshold at $150,000 in an interview with a TV station in his beloved Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Biden campaign later clarified -- or at least tried to clarify -- the matter by saying that anyone making between $150,000 and $250,000 wouldn't get a tax cut but also wouldn't pay higher taxes.
We suspect what's going on here is more than Mr. Biden's normal gift of gaffe. As with his admission that a President Obama would quickly be tested by our enemies, the Delaware rambler was stumbling into the truth. An Obama Administration couldn't possibly pay for a tax cut for 95% of Americans by raising taxes on a mere 5%. Those 5% don't make enough money, or at least they won't after they find ways to shelter more of their income when their tax rates rise.
The Nov. 10 print edition CW carried a hint of triumphalism for team Obama, assigning the Illinois Democrat an up arrow for his "red-state blitz" while finding the U.S.S. McCain "[s]pringing leaks everywhere"and reveling that "Joe the Plumber can't fix them." Even so, CW couldn't help but float the discredited Bradley Effect meme to prepare magazine readers for a narrow Obama victory (or defeat).