BOSTON (CBS) – President Trump takes a lot of heat for the near-constant stream of misinformation and falsehoods he puts out, but he is hardly the first politician to play fast and loose with the truth.

From the Bush-era propaganda about Iraqi stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction to President Obama’s bogus Obamacare vow that if you like your health plan you can keep it, we’ve become accustomed to pols prioritizing spin and self-promotion over candor and facts.

That doesn’t mean we like it. Case in point – the lingering unpopularity of the huge tax cut Republicans passed last December.

It turned out there wasn’t much short term tax relief for most of the middle class in that deficit-ballooning legislation, and most people weren’t fooled. The tax cut has never come close to majority public approval, all those heavily-publicized one-time bonuses notwithstanding.

And Republicans realize the tax cut they hoped to benefit from politically this fall has turned out to be a political dud. The biggest GOP PAC is mentioning the tax law in only 17 percent of its ads.

“We are going to be putting in and are studying very deeply right now, around the clock, a major tax cut for middle income people. Not for business at all. For middle income people,” Trump told reporters recently.

Notice the tacit admission that the first tax cut wasn’t quite as populist as they claimed. Moral of the story – it’s not nice to try to fool working people who can read their pay stub.

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  1. Theodore Oule says:

    I agree with you on this, Jon, as a “political” move, this hasn’t moved the needle very much.

    However, as an economic move, it did move the needle, and as the economic move did move the political needle, one can say that the tax cut does have some impact.

    Clearly, the economy is an an upswing, and the confidence in the economy returned after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency. Will it continue? Is the economy overheating? Those are still open questions. But the economy, in spite of the dire predictions of Paul Krugman, is churning along a fairly good pace.

    You have been in the political business long enough to understand that elections are won and lost on gut issues, the economy is one of those issues.

    Will that change the votes of the People Republic of Maassachusetts? Maybe a few, but not enough to make any noticeable difference.

    Will that change the votes of people elsewhere? More likely than here in the PRM. And more likely it will be the people who are in doubt that will vote the economy.

    There is also this issue of the “caravan:..”army”…”invasion force”…that is on its way to breech our borders…legally or illegally. This is a gift to the Trump administration and the Republicans because it reprises one of the key issues of the 2016 election, and an issue that the Republicans can pin on the Democrats for Congress’ failure to get anything done. It’s one of those gut issues, a really gut issue for many irrespective of party label.

    The election outcome will be the sum of the movements of the issue needles and feelings of the gut. Like all elections, as election day draws near, the polls show the races getting closer and closer at all levels, indicating that the gut issues are beginning to come into ply

    Will the Democrats take control of Congress? Will the Republican lose either the House or Senate? Will the Republicans increase their leads in one or both of the houses of our legislature?

    Who knows. That’s what elections are about.

    One thing I am sure of, though. If the Democratic blue wave fails to appear and the Democrats find themselves no closer to being relevant in the halls of government than they are now, the cries that “we are losing our democracy” and that “our government is not legitimate: will increase both in frequency and amplitude.

    And that will do more to diminish or democracy and our republic than anything for which the Republicans have been accused.

    Are you as a political analyst going to take notice of the cries of the sore losers, of what ever political stripe they might be?