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Robin Carnahan has maybe realized that she really stepped in it when she voiced her support for the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans last week. After all, it isn’t as if retaining the tax cuts is even a popular position, but quite the opposite. According to Jo Mannies at the St. Louis Beacon, Carnahan:

… clarified her position on the Bush tax cuts by saying that she eventually may support a phaseout of tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans once the economy was back on track.

Can we take that as an effort to wade out without losing face?

She’s still seriously wrong. The tax cuts for the wealthy –  which, as Paul Krugman points out, means cutting “checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country” – will cost us big at a time when government revenues are seriously depleted, and give us little to nothing in return. However, given that she’s facing off against Roy Blunt, arguably one of the most corrupt wheeler-dealer blasts from the BushCo past, we may have to accept it for what it is.

Aside from this pander – which, by the way, in light of the cost of the tax cuts, directly contradicts the point of her earlier deficit pandering – Carnahan is preferable to Blunt on so many levels it almost hurts to think about it.  The same Beacon article, for instance, quotes her remarks at a meeting of the National Educational Association (NEA) where her views on No Child Left Behind legislation not only seem sane and sensible, but also underline the role Roy Blunt played in its failure:

Carnahan said that Blunt deserved part of the blame because he had voted for No Child Left Behind but also voted against the additional money that backers say was needed.


As little as it may be, this type of distinction is important. Think for a minute about Social Security. Do you have any doubt that Blunt would gut it, privatize it, whatever, in a heartbeat?  Carnahan’s recent performance might make some worry about how easily she would cave in a hard fight, but at least there’s a good chance she would do the right thing. Nor is the question academic since I guarantee this particular fight will be coming to a theater near you soon.

So the sad moral of this story is (enthusiasm deficit, anyone?): Boo Blunt! Go Carnahan! But maybe, jut maybe, Robin, try to stand up for Democratic principles in the future – then maybe you won’t have to back down with your dinner all over your chin. I promise that there are some of us who won’t extend the benefit of the doubt a second time.