In the new issue of Newsweek, which hits newsstands tomorrow, Howard Fineman interviewed Ralph Nader and asked him a wide range of questions about Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic candidates, and the role of reform minded politicians. Nader was asked if personal behavior should be a test of how we measure public officials and candidates.
Today both the House and Senate voted to let many of the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. The House Democrats budget plan would increase spending on domestic programs, and pay for it by letting all of the Bush tax cuts die. The Senate was much choosier. It extended $340 billion worth of tax cuts for middle and upper income people, businesses, and those inheriting large estates.
In 2004, President George W. Bush was able to win reelection in part based on his campaign's ability to characterize his opponent John Kerry as a flip-flopper, a.k.a. a politician who changes his views as easily as the wind blows. Bush famously characterized Kerry as being for the Iraq war before he was against it.
After their victories in Ohio and Texas last week, the Clinton campaign started publicly stating that they are open to the idea of selecting Barack Obama as her running mate. When asked about running with Obama Clinton said, "Well that may be where this is headed but we have to decide who is top of the ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me."
Is it a coincidence that Hillary Clinton frequently uses the word experience while campaigning, or that Barack Obama's campaign is identified with the need for change? How about the identification of John McCain as a candidate who will stand strong on national security? 2008 has become the year when campaigning has gone beyond identification of candidates with issues and personalities, and in to the area of branding.