Obama should let the Bush tax cuts become as forgotten as whatever passes for a 2002-vintage dance craze or fashion fad. The president should seize the election-year initiative by laying out those tax cuts he favors and putting his brand on them.
From now until November, Obama shouldn't let a day go by in which he tells Americans, "Democrats have a plan to cut your taxes."
Let the GOP scream and sputter. Every time they do, and each time the Republicans complain that the rich aren't getting their extra cut, Obama and his Democratic friends simply can call the Republicans' deficit bluff and explain — rightly — that those tax cuts for the richest Americans are just a luxury we can't afford right now.
Data indicates that this is an area ripe for Democrats to define public opinion and win voters.
Polls indicate that twice as many voters still blame Bush for the poor economy as blame Obama. A majority also happen to agree with the president that the tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more a year should be allowed to expire.
A recent Ipsos/Reuters poll found Americans would rather reduce the deficit instead of lower taxes by a margin of 54 percent to 43 percent. By promoting his own "Obama tax cuts," the president could appear to satisfy both by lowering taxes in a fiscally responsible way.
Most importantly, though, a Democratic tax-cut plan gets Obama and the Democrats off defense, puts them on offense — and simply steals Republican thunder when Democrats need to steal it the most.