Politicians can be masters at using hot-button events to create a dialogue that suits the needs of the moment. Plans for a Ground Zero mosque became a discussion of religious freedom instead of a condemnation of unpardonably bad judgment. The Tucson, Arizona shootings led to partisan pleas to tone down political rhetoric as power in Washington shifted and the GOP took control of the House.
During the now-forgotten controversy over extending the Bush tax rates, harsh invective ruled the day. The escalating war of words linked the wealthy to financial firms blamed for precipitating the recession, as if anyone making over $250,000 annually was by necessity employed on Wall Street.
House Democrats gave us an unpleasantly revealing view of their backsides when they bailed on the president’s tax rate compromise, proving once again that loyalty in Washington does not exist apart from self-interest.
The drive to fleece the wealthy to pay for unbridled spending has not ended, though most of us can see that it is over.