Whistling in the dark

You may have been wondering, why isn't washerdreyer blogging and what will it take to get new posts up on this blog? If you have been thinking that, I worry about you, but that's a separate issue. It turns out the answer to what it'll take, at least for today, is my once again finding my sense of outrage* at the stupid things people in politics write and do. Also, the following paragraph is partially designed to make you wish I'd stop blogging again, which I won't be doing.

I've been trying to come up with a properly ridiculous proper comparison to illustrate just how absurd Calvin Woodward's article, claiming that Obama violated his campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making under $250,000 because he raised (or agreed with the Congressional decision to raise) the federal excise tax on cigarettes is, but I've totally failed. The best I've got is: Lowering the gift tax exclusion from $10,000 1997 dollars, inflation adjusted and rounded to the nearest thousand (which appears to be $13,000, the current gift tax threshold) to $8,000 inflation adjusted rounded 1997 dollars would be much closer to violating the promise, and yet isn't even close to violating it. That's because the promise was talking about the kind of broad taxes which target families and individuals regardless of their particular purchasing decisions (as Woodward notes, the examples given by Obama were income taxes, payroll taxes, and capital gains taxes), not taxes targeting particular transactions (I was trying to think of an example of a federal registration fee, since Woodward's article makes as much sense as it currently does if written about one of those being raised).

In the broad scheme of things, this is a pretty trivial thing to be outraged about, but I just find it hard to believe that Woodward actually thinks that raising an excise tax is in the category of taxes Obama meant, and if he doesn't believe that he's maliciously misleading his readers from a very powerful venue. Oh, I also think promises are important, breaking them is bad, and false accusations of breaking them are bad, but this applies in a much more minimal form to politicians campaign promises, which is something that someone should be reminded me of if I ever try to get outraged every time a Republican breaks a campaign promise.

*Complicating matters even further, as a general principle I'm against “outrage of the day” blogging, especially when it was all the rage during the primary elections and Presidential campaign and people were doing their best to freak out over every fillip