Republicans flip script on Obama with populist attacks

“It is kind of almost humorous how it sounds like Republicans are using liberal talking points of the emotional-driven message that businesses get off the hook, but you don’t,” freshman Rep. Trey Radel (R-Fla.) said. “But it’s reality. It is what it is.”

The big difference is in the policies. Obama and congressional Democrats have long used populist arguments to push for higher taxes on the wealthy and capital gains, and in calling for the elimination of tax breaks for oil and gas companies.

Republican leaders have opposed the policies, although they are considering scrapping some breaks in a revenue-neutral overhaul of the tax code.

“They’re so identified with special interests. They’ve been the party of small interests,” said Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.), the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. “And for them now to say they’re worried about the little person, the regular person, the small business people, it’s not credible. So they can keep on saying it, but no one’s going to believe it.”

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