Richardson’s Odd Campaign Strategy

It is widely known and understood that Governor Richardson is running for the presidency on his experience as an executive. After all, his leading opponents, Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are Senators with limited experience even in that role. Good strategy for Bill.
Something that makes quite a bit less sense is his emphasis on the various tax credits he has pushed as an economic development tool in his recent television advertisements. Richardson has received ample praise from conservatives and free market advocates, but not because of his economically-dubious narrowly-targeted tax credits. Indeed, Richardson has made waves by cutting New Mexico’s top income tax rate from 8.2 percent to 4.9 percent and dropping the state’s capital gains tax from 8.2 percent to 2.45 percent. Despite having raised other taxes in ways that have offset the net effect of these tax cuts, it is this record that Richardson should be running on.
So, what does this mean? Why is Richardson talking about meaningless, targeted tax policies when the key to New Mexico’s recent economic success — aside from oil and gas prices — has been pro-growth tax cuts? One strong possibility is that running in a primary and attempting to please the Democratic Party base, he doesn’t want to talk about being a tax-cutter. This may be indirectly a result of Bush’s lack of popularity. I’d be interested in others’ thoughts on why Richardson’s campaign is missing the forest for the trees….is it economic ignorance or sheer strategy to attract a left-wing Democratic Party base?

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