I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about the next presidential election but…
1. It will be tough for a guy who supports a tax increase on middle-class parents to go distance with the Republican nominating electorate. I don’t think that is what the median Republican voter wants, and I suspect that even some voters who might favor a combination of middle-class tax increases and high-earner tax cuts in principle would end up seeing such an agenda as political suicide – unless the circumstances are such that it looks like just about any Republican can beat just about any Democrat. Maybe Rand Paul would take Ramesh Ponnuru’s advice and change his tax plan.
2. Ted Cruz’s public persona doesn’t work for me, but the people of Texas and the Republican activists of Iowa see it differently. I don’t trust my aesthetic judgments in this area. His support for a flat tax is disquieting. As always, the distributional and revenue impacts of any proposal will be very important. He will have to offer details and other candidates will critique any plan’s impact. What sounds good while complaining about the IRS won’t seem so good if is a middle-class tax increase. And by 2015-2015 Cruz might have a different tax plan.
3. For all of his flaws, Santorum seems to have internalized the idea that swing-voters see the Republicans as more a party of high-earner self-interest than limited government principle.