During one of Wolf Blitzer's "strategy sessions" on The Situation Room on CNN, Wolf Blitzer brought on former Cheney adviser Mary Matalin and one of their regular contributors, Roland Martin to discuss President Obama and his recent push to get what amounts to an alternative minimum tax on millionaires, or the "Buffett rule" passed so that people like Warren Buffet aren't paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Naturally Matalin thought that is a terrible campaign strategy, and who does she think President Obama should be taking advice from? Mark Penn -- Hillary Clinton's former adviser that helped her lose the primary race to then Sen. Obama and who left her campaign with her still owing him hundreds of thousands of dollars for his lousy advice. I agree with Roland Martin here and Penn is the last person any Democrat should be taking advice from right now, or for that matter, ever.
I also agree with Martin that President Obama should be going out to every area of the country where poverty is terrible and hitting Republicans upside the head politically for wanting to protect their rich campaign donors so they don't have their taxes raised.
And on a last note, if I had a dime for every time one of these Republican talking heads used the term "class warfare" to mean heaven forbid don't raise taxes on the so-called "job creators", who aren't creating any jobs, I'd be able to retire early. I really hope most Americans are not silly enough to fall for their rhetoric after it's become very obvious after the Bush years that cutting taxes on the rich does nothing to create jobs unless you target those tax cuts specifically for hiring Americans, instead of rewarding them for shipping jobs overseas as we do now.
Sadly we're not yet hearing a conversation in our corporate media or from enough in the Democratic Party about doing something about our terrible trade laws and trade imbalances and fixing the tax code to quit rewarding companies for a race to the bottom with forcing American workers to compete with slave labor overseas.
Transcript via CNN below the fold.
BLITZER: Mary, forget about the substance, the economic substance, for a moment. Let's talk about the politics of it right now. Is it a winning strategy for the president to say, you know what, there should be a Buffett Rule that millionaires don't pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries?
MATALIN: Well, it's a class warfare message. And I believe the White House has not only signaled, they said they need to reactivate and reenergize their base.
Is it a winning strategy? They need to get their base to add on to, so it probably does energize their base. But as Mark Penn, who is a longtime Democratic strategist said, that class warfare reelection strategy has not worked, did not work for Kerry, or Gore before him, or Mondale way back when.
The only reelection strategy that's worked for Democrats in the 20th century since FDR is the one that President Clinton did for his reelection, which was to pull away from class warfare language. So if the Democratic strategists are to be believed, it might be good short- term base politics, but not a good long-term reelection strategy.
BLITZER: All right.
Roland, do you agree?
MARTIN: First of all, quoting Mark Penn, that's the last person anybody should quote when it comes to a winning strategy. Ask Senator Hillary Clinton how that went.
Look, the bottom line is here -- a new CNN poll is very clear when it comes to this. Should the deficit reduction bill increase taxes on businesses and higher income Americans? Sixty-three percent in this poll say yes.
The problem you have is you have Republicans who say forget anything else, we simply want everything that we desire and not you. And the president made the effort when it came to the debt ceiling debate and they still said no.
And so this is smart move by the president. And again, polling is there, but also, you have Americans out there who are saying, wait a minute, stop trying to say cut, cut, cut to the poor and the middle class when you want to sit here, the GOP. Defend fat cats. Absolutely, it's a smart political move.
BLITZER: The polls do show, Mary, that this issue of raising taxes for the rich, eliminating some of those corporate tax breaks for big corporations, on these issues, the overwhelming majority of American public is with the president and the Democrats, as opposed to the Republicans.
MATALIN: If you ask the same Republicans, particularly if you ask Independents, would you want to raise taxes on job creators, those numbers would absolutely flip. If you ask them, do you want to penalize self-made successes like Roland Martin, they would say absolutely not.
These are the same policies that this president opposed only nine months ago because he said they would hurt the recovery. We are in less of a recovery than we were when he previously opposed raising taxes.
You don't raise taxes in a recession. So it's a political message. I get it, but it's very bad economic policy and it's not going to go anywhere.
BLITZER: Roland, will this latest proposal that the president put forward today, his jobs creation plan last week, is this going to solidify his base, get all those nervous Democrats on his left back in the fold, if you will?
MARTIN: Well, first of all, Democrats, part of the problem is they are always nervous Nellies and they have no ideas when it comes to unification. And so there is no doubt it's going to help the base. But also, Wolf, this is the most important -- this is also going to resonate, I also believe, with Independents.
And I think the president and his administration should do something different. Don't just go to Ohio or go to North Carolina or go to Florida or Pennsylvania. Last week, the Census Bureau talked about the 10 poorest states in the union, and most of those are red states.
So I say to the president, take the message to Mississippi, to Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia. Take it to those states -- Alaska. Those are the bottom 10 poor states, and tell the GOP, to those people, defend the rich in the face of the very people who keep putting you in office. Be more aggressive with that kind of messaging, and I think he will gain some traction with Independents.
MATALIN: I say, you know what? Come on down. Roland, come on down, and you say to these hardworking people who know --
MARTIN: It's a poor state, Louisiana.
MATALIN: -- who is providing jobs if they want to tax those job creators out of existence -- because a lot of Obama's policies have done that in this state -- then they say no. If you think he's going to get support in these states, come on down. Come on down.
MARTIN: And I'm sure the poor in Louisiana are sitting here saying to the people who keep sitting here cutting their jobs, oh, yes, we're going to keep supporting you. I say be aggressive and challenge them on their own turf and say you have no plan when it comes to the poor, you have no plan when it comes to helping the middle class, but what you are using are simply poll-driven phrases like "class warfare," like "job-killing regulations," in order to appeal to the same very people.
BLITZER: A bold proposal by Roland Martin.
Roland, don't be surprised. I suspect the president and his Democratic strategists are not going to follow your advice, but we'll see.
MARTIN: They should. They should.
BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much. Mary, Rolland, good to have you both here in THE SITUATION ROOM.