American Crossroads, the big money GOP group founded by Karl Rove, is warning Republicans that President Obama’s new campaign to raise taxes on millionaires is a political winner.
Under the header “Obama’s New Class Warfare May Resonate,” the group’s director, Steven Law, cited their own polling data in a strategy memo to argue that the White House was gaining ground with its proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“It may be the result of larger environmental conditions, or he may be moving the needle himself, but Obama’s ‘tax the rich’ mantra is getting traction,” Law wrote. “Our poll found that 64% favor raising taxes on people with incomes above $200,000.”
He added that Obama was winning over Americans on the issue even as their poll showed 47% of respondents concerned that increasing taxes would hurt the economy.
“People are sensitive to the economic consequences of class warfare taxation - but right now, they split evenly between their concern about jobs and Obama’s class warfare agitation,” according to the memo.
Law recommended Republicans try to rebut Obama by citing quotes from prominent Democrats, like President Clinton, that taxes should never be raised in a recession. He expressed more confidence that the GOP could win the overall argument on the American Jobs Act’s other provisions, mostly by relentlessly branding it as a second “stimulus.” Nonetheless, Law was clear that Republicans can’t take victory for granted even there.
“[B]ecause President Obama continues to possess substantial personal popularity - not to mention the massive communications apparatus of the White House - our messaging on the President’s latest stimulus must be sharp, focused and sustained,” he wrote. “The public is open to being convinced by either side on the best way to revitalize our economy; therefore, proponents of real private sector growth and fiscal responsibility need to challenge Obama’s plan in detail - or risk losing what is likely to be a prolonged debate on this issue”
The full memo is definitely worth a read: take a look here.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.