Not that you would so much as dream of doing so.
WASHINGTON: A top adviser to President-elect Barack Obama on Sunday defended plans for a conservative, anti-gay rights preacher to deliver the inaugural invocation while promising that Obama’s campaign pledges for middle-income taxes cuts will be kept.
David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, also said that President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy would be revoked or allowed to expire.
With 23 days remaining until Obama takes office in the midst of the deepest economic downturn in decades as the country is still fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Axelrod said the incoming president’s invitation to the Reverend Rick Warren was important because it underlined the inclusiveness Obama wants to institute in his administration.
“The important point here is you have a conservative evangelical pastor coming to take part in the inauguration of a progressive president,” Axelrod said of Warren, a prominent preacher who opposes homosexuality and who backed a ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in his home state of California.
Warren has likened gay marriage to legitimizing incest, child abuse and polygamy. His stance has sparked outrage among gays and many of Obama’s supporters.
More important for most Americans, Axelrod said, is the economic situation in the United States and globally.
Obama won the election, in part, because voters believed he was better equipped than John McCain, the Republican candidate, to deal with the economic meltdown. Part of Obama’s campaign pledge was to cut taxes for middle- and low-income earners while increasing them for wealthier Americans.
Axelrod said the tax cut was at the top of Obama’s agenda, and declared that higher taxes for more wealthy Americans also were in the cards, though less immediately. Axelrod said the quick move to cut taxes was “vital.”
“People need money in their pockets,” he said on NBC. “That’ll get our economy going again.”
He reiterated that higher taxes for the wealthy would come about through the revocation of a measure on tax cuts passed during the Bush administration or by allowing it to expire in 2010.
“Whether it expires or we repeal it a little bit early we’ll determine later,” Axelrod said, “but it’s going to go. It has to go.”
Obama says a revocation would not represent a tax increase but would return the assessment on the wealthy to the level it was during President Bill Clinton’s administration in the 1990s.
“We feel it’s important that middle class people get some relief now,” Axelrod said.
Those cuts will be part of the new administration’s stimulus plan, Axelrod said. “This package will include a portion of that tax cut that will become part of the permanent tax cut that he’ll have in his upcoming budget.”
The incoming administration is considering tax cuts of $1,000 for couples and $500 for individuals that will be delivered by reducing the tax withheld from paychecks. That plan, which would cost about $140 billion over 2009-2010, would put more money in paychecks.
The important point here is that nowhere does Axelrod mention the LBGT community.
We are not the “people” he refers to who “need money in their pockets.” We’re not people at all — just an expendable demographic abstraction.