Showing up at a children's Halloween party in a bear costume and filming yourself stealing kids' candy is probably never a good way to win a political argument, but try telling that to conservative blogger and Fox News contributor Steven Crowder.
In a video published to YouTube on Tuesday, Crowder -- whose strange attempts at conservative-styled satire have made the pages of The Raw Story before -- does exactly that in an effort to make a point about progressive tax policies couched in something President Barack Obama said 14 years ago about how he favors "redistribution" of government resources "to make sure that everybody's got a shot." Video of the comment was widely circulated by Republicans in September, although most of the focus was on the word "redistribution" (a stand-in for "taxes"), and not the portion where Obama praised "competition" and market-driven "innovation."
Despite numerous law enforcement outfits warning that children and parents should be wary of strangers wearing bear costumes in public, Crowder somehow managed to get flocks of kids to come up to his camera-rigged car. "You just stole my candy!" one of the kids in the video yells. Another one threatens to call the police.
"Is that your costume? You didn't make that shirt, you didn't build that," Crowder told a group of visibly angry children, referencing the misleading Obama quote that Republicans built their nominating convention around. He went on to inform his unsuspecting victims that he's going to "redistribute" their candy so that everyone's the same, which was somehow supposed to teach the children a lesson about why they should vote for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Voting age in the U.S., however, is 18.
The video had nearly 400,000 views by Thursday after being aired on Fox News. It was also shared by numerous conservative blogs, many of which simply relayed key quotes and featured the video prominently. Unfortunately, while it seems Crowder's simplistic explanation of government and taxes delighted some conservatives, it is woefully misleading.
The president's proposals include lowering the corporate tax rate by 7 percent while allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, which would rase the tax rate on America's wealthiest individuals by 4 percent. He's also proposed numerous reforms aimed at preventing job outsourcing and blocking the use of offshore tax havens, and The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in September that Obama's plan reduces deficits by $3.8 trillion over the next decade.
Romney's tax proposals include a 20 percent across the board cut for everyone, although he seemed to renege on that amid the presidential debates, during which he repeatedly insisted that he never proposed a tax cut that would benefit the wealthy. The proposal, however, is still on the candidate's website.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center said that Romney's plan would result in the government losing $4.8 trillion in revenues over the next 10 years, which would trigger inevitable cuts in other programs. Romney also said he wants to increase defense spending by $2 trillion over the same time frame, escalating it to historic highs.
As Americans anxiously wait for the dust of democracy to settle, it's good to remember that law enforcement advises children and parents to stay away from strange men wearing bear costumes in public.
This video was published to YouTube on October 30, 2012.