Posts Tagged ‘Newt Gingrich’

No. 1: Joe Paterno

Why didn’t he quit, or why wasn’t he shown the door, several years ago? As it is, he remained the face of Penn State during the worst big-time-college-football, sex-abuse scandal in history, as far as I can tell.

If he had quit several years ago, the backlash from the scandal (including his failure to alert authorities to an assistant coach sexually assaulting a young boy in the showers) would not have caught him full blast. He might well have slipped to second-rung culprit and undoubtedly would have been remembered in more glowing terms by the general public.

So, why did he stay on? You know why — EGO! Now he’s dead and gone and not many people outside of State College, PA, care.

No. 2: Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte.

In his 2012-2013 budget proposal last week, Schulte recommended reducing the Fire Department by 105 positions. The justification? Fire calls have dropped dramatically in the past decade. How would the estimated $7.6 million in savings be used? To give other city employees raises.

Only Schulte, who doesn’t have to stand for election, would dare propose something that dramatic. And, trust me, even he doesn’t believe it will happen. He might be hoping that the council — most of whose members won with backing from the fire fighters’ union — will approve a cut of somewhere between 10 and 20 firefighters. That’s about the best he can hope for, at least until there’s a real budget crisis, which probably is coming within five years. At that point, we’ll probably see a “hatchet council,” which will have no choice but to fire a lot of employees or see the city go broke.

No. 3: David Brooks

One of my favorite op-ed columnists veered off track last week, when he wrote about Mitt Romney having made a fortune because he was “a worker and a grinder.” Brooks proceeded to trace the family background of Romney, a Mormon.

A central figure in the family history is Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles Romney. Brooks recounts the journeys and travails of Miles Romney and “his three wives and their many children” like he’s talking about an everyday, conventional, American family. Mitt might come be a hard worker who comes from sturdy stock, but when someone starts talking casually about a candidate’s great-grandfather’s “three wives and many children,” my attention naturally shifts from the up-from-the-bootstraps story to, “Did you say three wives?”

No. 4: Newt Gingrich

It’s unnerving that a fat guy with a phony, adultery-abetting wife can catapult to victory in a state — even a mostly irrelevant, backasswards state like South Carolina — by attacking the “elite news media”; the “elites in New York and Washington”; and “the most effective food-stamp president in history.”

It’s promoting class warfare, with the goal of rallying hourly wage-earners and unemployed people to take up arms against the so-called “elites?” But who would really benefit under Newt’s scenario? The true “elites,” the one percenters.

No. 5: Thomas L. Friedman

I want to end on a hopeful note…

Perhaps the most incisive op-ed person in the opinion business, wrote in Sunday’s New York Times about what kind of candidate he would like to vote for.

It would be a candidate who:

“…advocates an immediate investment in infrastructure that will create jobs and upgrade American for the 21st century…and combines that with a long-term plan to fix our fiscal imbalances at the real scale of the problem, a plan that could be phased in as the economy recovers.”

A candidate who…

“…is committed to reforming taxes, and cutting spending, in a fair way. The rich must pay more, but everyone has to pay something. We are all in this together.”

A candidate who…

“…has an inspirational vision, not just a plan to balance the budget.”

And, finally, a candidate who…

“…supports a minimum floor of public financing of presidential, Senate and House campaigns. Money is politics is out of control today. Our Congress has become a forum for legalized bribery.”

Friedman concluded: “I hope it is Obama, because I agree with him on so many other issues. But if it’s Romney, he’d deserve to win. And, if by some miracle, both run that campaign, and the 2012 contest is about two such competing visions, then put every dollar you own in the U.S. stock market. It will go up a gazillion points.”

Happy days could be here again, if only Abe Lincoln was reincarnated.

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If Mitt Romney wasn’t finished as a viable presidential contender before Tuesday, he most certainly was, in my opinion, after his comments on taxes and income that day in Greenville, S.C.

Asked directly what his effective tax rate was, Romney said:

“It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything. For the past 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income or earned annual income. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away.”

That was bad enough because he pays a federal tax rate much lower than most salaried workers. (For example, a married couple filing jointly pays at a rate of 25 percent tax rate for taxable income above $69,000 in wages. Obama reported paying an effective tax rate of 26 percent on his 2010 income, the majority of which came from sale of his books.)

But Romney went on to really put his foot in it.

Finishing off the comment, he said, “I get speakers’ fees from time to time, but not very much.”

Not very much?

Well, according to his personal financial disclosure, from February 2010 to February 2011, Romney earned $374,327 in speaking fees.

(Unfortunately, if you only read the print version of The Kansas City Star, you wouldn’t know about the uproar over Romney’s speaking fees because it wasn’t included in The Star’s three paragraph “campaign roundup” on Page 2 Wednesday.)

In its front-page report on the story, The New York Times said that $374,000 “would, by itself, very nearly catapult most American families into the top 1 percent of the country’s earners.”

In December, The Times reported that Romney, with an estimated family fortune of $190 million to $250 million, “is among the wealthiest candidates ever to run for president.”

In that story, The Times also said that after Romney left Bain Capital, the hugely successful private equity firm he helped start, “he negotiated a retirement agreement with his former partners that has paid him a share of Bain’s profits ever since, bringing the Romney family millions of dollars in income each year and bolstering the fortune that has helped finance Mr. Romney’s political aspirations.”

The ever-prescient Times went on to say that since Mr. Romney’s payouts from Bain “have come partly from the firm’s share of profits on its customers’ investments, that income probably qualifies for the 15 percent tax rate reserved for capital gains, rather than the 35 percent that wealthy taxpayers pay on ordinary income.”

So there’s a thumbnail sketch of the man who’s going to try to beat Obama by contending that average Americans will do better under a Romney presidency than they have under Obama.

Talk about a disconnect. Voters are going to listen to that pitch, consider the source and flee into Obama’s arms.

I can’t imagine how Romney is going to be able to convince ordinary, working Americans that he should be their guy.

I’m going to predict that he’s ultimately going to lose the votes of the majority of the millions of people who don’t read newspapers, proclaim they don’t care about current events and just want to bitch about how bad Obama is. They can cover their ears and hum, but osmosis will do the job.

Immediately after Romney is nominated — if he survives the Gingrich mauling — he might match or go slightly ahead of Obama in the polls. But after that, I see him slipping steadily downhill.

I can’t remember a presidential campaign where one major candidate had so much working against him before the general-election campaign got underway.

Understandably, the Democrats are drooling.

The Times’ story on Wednesday quoted Bill Burton, a spokesman for Priorities USA Action, a “super Pac” supporting Obama as saying, “We won’t be waiting until he (Romney) reveals his returns in April to remind voters that Romney’s tax policy would keep taxes low for millionaires like himself, putting a burden on the middle class.”

If Romney is the Republican nominee, you’ll see me smiling next summer and fall…I’ll be much more worried, however, if  Obama has to run against Newt and Callista.

There’s a gal that will probably appeal to the rednecks, whose votes the Republicans can’t win without.

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