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Campaign Roundup: The Role of Taxes, Guns and Tears in Presidential Politics

PresbadgeAfter the victories for John McCain and Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, there's still no heir apparent for the presidential nomination in either party.  So here's a roundup of some the issues that may arise as the race continues.

Huckabee's Fair Tax Proposal
Professor Maule ponders whether Iowa caucus victor Mike Huckabee's Fair Tax proposal is as fair or simple as has been represented.  Under the Fair Tax concept, a federal retail sales tax would replace all existing federal personal and corporate taxes.  The plan would also allow exemptions for lower income individuals and families. The Fair Tax Proposal would eliminate the IRS and authorize states to administer the tax program.  Though simple and superficially desirable (after who all, who doesn't want to eliminate the IRS?), Maule argues that ultimate implementation of the policy by different states would prove nightmarish.  Moreover, he believes that the Fair Tax isn't really fair because it shifts the tax burden disproportionately to the middle class, who would pay the the largest percentage of income in taxes.  Of course, even if Huckabee wins the nomination, Maule gives the chances of a Fair Tax proposal passing as "nil to none."

Election Implications of the Second Amendment Case
Volokh takes up the election implications of the upcoming D.C. gun ban/Second Amendment case awaiting argument before the Supreme Court.  According to Volokh, many experts agree that a victory for the District of Columbia, i.e., a ruling that the District can constitutionally ban handguns, will hurt the eventual Democratic Presidential nominee by activating strong, Republican-leaning gun groups.  Volokh adds that a win for D.C. "would also be costly to the Democratic Presidential nominee because it would make the issue more salient for voters generally; polls suggest that the public supports the individual rights view by at least 2 to 1."

GCs Support Obama
Corporate Counsel reports that corporate GCs favor Obama, at least based on campaign contributions to date.  Obama received more money from in-house counsel than any other candidate.  Incidentally, most corporate GCs lean left when it comes to donations, with Democratic presidential contenders out-raising Republicans by an almost 2-1 margin.  Read the full article for details on the actual dollar amounts that corporate GCs have contributed to each candidate.

Are Tears What Sent Hillary Clinton on a Tear?
At the last hour, Hillary Clinton tore ahead of the pack in New Hampshire, snatching victory from Obama, the presumed winner. But did Clinton's tearful response to a reporter's question account for her win by exposing her vulnerability? That's a theory explored in articles like this one. (Guardian, 1/9/08).  While noting that Clinton's tears may have humanized her and gained some votes, the article also points out that women are sometimes more critical of those women who tear up in professional situations.   Feminist Law Professors' Ann Bartow argues that women vote for other reasons besides a show of sympathy.  And it's unlikely that Clinton's performance would have won over Law and More blogger Jane Genova, who says that she doesn't award points for tears, whether "spontaneous or strategic."  "Running a small business is tough," she adds.  "Help me, don't add to my burdens if you want to be given assignments." 

What's your view?  Was Hillary's tearful interview an asset or liability in the final days in New Hampshire?  And how do tears play in the legal workplace?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on January 9, 2008 at 02:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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