Goes to Catherine Rampell, who notes that there's been a real shift over time in public opinion on taxes -- in favor of raising them in order to reduce budget deficits. And that the increased support for taxes has been accompanied by a hardening of the GOP's position in the other direction, which after all didn't exist before about 1978 and didn't really become universal until about 1990. See also a nice graph courtesy of Ezra Klein, and Bruce Bartlett's contribution.
So why do politicians act as if taxes are kryptonite? I'm a big fan of "learning" theories about this kind of stuff. You have three big events: Mondale in 1984, Bush in 1992, and then the GOP landslide in 1994, all coinciding with tax increases.
Which is why the discussion of political science election models is so important. If politicians, campaign operatives, and the press all knew and really accepted how political scientists understand voters and elections, then they be better equipped to avoid this kind of mis-attribution. After all, the 1984 and 1992 elections don't need voter aversion to tax increases to explain the results. 1994, if I recall correctly, is a little trickier; I seem to recall that studies of that election did in fact find that support for some Clinton initiatives was costly, and without looking it up I'm assuming it was guns (in the crime bill) and taxes (in the budget bill). The main point, however, is that it's very easy to draw simple lessons like "saying he would raise taxes cost Walter Mondale the election" and then overlearn them and apply them in the future, even if they were never true in the first place. That's not to say that politicians and operatives should never learn from old campaigns -- of course they should. But all too often what they learn is that everything the winning candidate was or did was brilliant and everything the losing candidate was or did was terrible. The first and easiest step to avoiding that is recognizing how much is really entirely out of the hands of the campaign.
Oh, and getting back to the original point: great catch!