Gardner acknowledges (and demonstrates) GOP PR problem on fiscal cliff

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Sometimes KNUS’ Steve Kelley seems embarrassed by his own morning rants and rages against Obama and the nasty Democrats. The other day he asked, “Do you really want to hear a rant from middle-aged white guy?”

Kelley’s current behavior looks different from what you heard during of his 19-year career at KOA, where he at least acted like he didn’t have the answers.

But Kelley’s more level-headed roots return when he conducts interviews, which usually feature straight-forward questions you’d want, but don’t expect, from someone seated behind a microphone.

This morning, for example, during his Kelley and Company show, he asked Rep. Cory Gardner this really good question:

Kelley: Why do you guys [Republicans] seem to be losing the PR battle [on the fiscal cliff]? I mean, it’s so easy to blame a Republican, but it seems to stick to you?

Gardner: Well, you know, it’s tough. We’ve got to do a better job of messaging and explaining to people who are in the middle class, people who are lower income earners, that people who will be affected by this tax increase are people like you, people who are working hard to make ends meet, people who are struggling to pay the mortgage, because their business are going to be hard hit. That’s going to result in lower take home pay because the businesses they work with are suffering and struggling to bear the burden of the tax increases. That’s the bottom line and so the President controls the bully pulpit, regardless of who it is in the White House, whether it is a Democrat or a Republican. They have a tremendous opportunity to shape the outlines of the message.

Listen to audio of Rep. Gardner talking fiscal cliff on Denver radio station KNUS 710 AM on 12-11-12

Kelley was on the right track, but to get to the heart of the GOP’s fiscal-cliff PR/substance problem, Kelley should have contrasted Gardner’s head-spinning response with Obama’s crisp lines on the topic, which he delivered at a rally Monday:

Obama: “We can solve this problem. All Congress needs to do is pass a law that would prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income,” he said. “When you put it all together, what you need is a package that keeps taxes where they are for middle class families, we make some tough spending cuts on things that we don’t need, and then we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate.”

In another question, which Kelley didn’t acknowledge actually related to his previous question about the GOP’s PR problem, Kelley asked Gardner whether he’d compromise on a tax increase:

Gardner: “We cannot agree to a tax increase. That is not the solution. That is not going to solve our $16 trillion debt. That’s what I am urging our leaders, Speaker Boehner and others, to make sure they are adhering to…I think he knows that the [Republican] conference does not support a tax increase, that there is no will to increase taxes amongst the Republican Party and the House majority.”

That’s obviously part of the Republican PR problem on the fiscal cliff, but Kelley didn’t get into the fundamentals.

5 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. … but I’ll say it again.

    Republicans support the tax increase on all Americans.  How do I know this? Because they voted for it already. The tax increase coming in January was passed by the Republican House in 2010, and before that by a Republican House in 2001.

  2. BlueCat says:

    will be less money in the pockets of consumers, be they middle income people paying more in taxes, seniors with less money to spend to due to cuts in social security and medicare or public sector workers laid off due to budget cuts.

    No amount of tax cuts, including no taxes at all, will keep anyone’s business afloat or preserve or add a single job if ordinary people continue to lose disposable income and benefits and stop walking through the doors with money to spend.  On the other hand if more customers than a business knows what to do with start pouring in, that business will do well and hire the help they absolutely need regardless of a few points worth of tax on a percentage of the owner’s income.

    This is the same nonsense that has led to right to work laws that were supposed to save and create more jobs. All they have done is lower workers’ wages and benefits.  Workers in right to work states get paid less and the unemployment rates in those states are higher, not lower, than in states without such laws.  

    The saddest part is that low income white workers in red right to work states, many of whom are in the 47% who zero out on federal income tax but pay a higher percentage than the wealthy because of payroll and other taxes, vote Republican which means voting to carry the burden for elite who screw them and for the right to work for them for less.    

  3. Pam Bennett says:

    There is no tax cut and no tax increase.  There was a temporary tax reduction that was supposed to automatically return to the previous level.  The Dems literally blew it and gave the R’s the talking point. Now even good Dems are using “cut” and “increase” when it does not exist.

  4. Citizens say “tax increase”.

    Technically, we agree. But Democrats aren’t going to message their way out of this one.

    As far as anyone on the receiving end cares, there’s potentially a tax increase happening on Jan 1, 2013. And as far as they’re concerned, the fix is to extend the tax cuts for the non-wealthy.

    Anything else we want to say about it is word games and won’t come off well at this stage of the game, IMHO. :(

  5. BlueCat says:

    The salient point is that 98% who need stuff  will have less money to spend on stuff whether you call it a tax increase or the  sun-setting of a tax cut. Thank goodness Dems are getting away from such smug, smarter than thou hair splitting arguments and learning a little Messaging 101.  

    Message: Rs happy to throw 98% of us over the cliff for spite if they don’t get everything they want for the top 2%.

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