Archive for January, 2012

Newt’s not done playing the wealth card vs. Romney

rupertUPDATE: As the tweet to the right suggests, Newt’s not the only one who believes that Romney’s tax records make good fodder.


I think some Republicans were hoping that Newt Gingrich might stop targeting Mitt Romney’s wealth after widespread criticism that the tactic played into Democratic hands.

Yet here’s Newt today, dismissing the Romney argument that illegal immigrants would solve the problem by “self-deporting” themselves:

“You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatically $20 million income for no work to have some fantasy this far from reality.”

So I guess that hope was in vain.

Two more quick points:

– Newt is doing it because he knows it’s working, even in a GOP primary. Again, that bodes poorly for Romney in a general election.

– The pleas from fellow Republicans are rather interesting. Are they asking Gingrich to put the best interests of the group ahead of his own selfish interests? What are they, Marxist …

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Newt whining about ‘vicious’ politics is hilarious stuff

Note: Below is my AJC column for today:


Newt Gingrich has never felt fully appreciated, and in some ways I think he has grounds to feel that way. For example, few people give him the credit that he deserves for being a very funny man, even if much of his humor is unintentional.

Just last week, the former speaker led off a debate in South Carolina by complaining about the “destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media,” charging that it “makes it harder to govern this country and harder to attract to decent people to run for public office.”

I thought that was funny.

As history can document, the person most responsible for the nasty, vicious tone of current American politics is Gingrich himself. Those who have dared to advocate policies counter to his own have been dismissed as traitors, pathetic, corrupt and a disgrace. There has been no attack so low that he will not stoop to it; no label so vile that he will not use it. And rather than feel ashamed, he …

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Our ‘Marxist in chief’ and the state of our union

Let’s be honest: There is no discernible difference between those who insist that Barack Obama is disqualified by birth from serving as president and those who claim that he is a Marxist or socialist. Both are equally absurd.

Neither group has any factual ground on which to base its inane charges; in their rhetoric, both groups tell us far more about their own internal psychology than they do about the president.

Consider, for example, this portion of last night’s State of the Union address from our “Marxist in Chief”:

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.

Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards …

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Buffett’s secretary at Obama’s State of the Union

Based on this report from Politico, I think we have a pretty good idea where President Obama intends to go in his State of the Union speech this evening:

Billionaire Warren Buffett’s longtime secretary will be joining first lady Michelle Obama in her box at tonight’s State of the Union, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer announced on Twitter. Debbie Bosanek, who has worked for Buffett for nearly two decades, has become a symbol in the White House’s fight over the tax code and economic fairness.

A nice touch, I think.

You also have to question the wisdom of the Romney campaign in deciding to release his tax returns today, setting the scene very nicely for what Obama apparently wants to talk about tonight.

– Jay Bookman

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Romney tax returns illuminating for policy reasons, not personal reasons

Mitt Romney has released the broad outlines of his tax returns for 2010 and 2011 — $45 million in income over those two years, with $6.2 million in taxes paid. The complete returns for 2010 and more detailed estimates of what he will pay in 2011 will be released later today.

Overall, Romney paid taxes at a 13.9 percent rate. For comparison’s sake, two other wealthy men who are prominent in American politics paid a considerably higher percentage of their income in taxes in 2010: Newt Gingrich paid at a rate of 31.7 percent; Barack Obama paid at a rate of 26.3 percent.

So why that immense difference? Why did Obama and Gingrich pay taxes at almost twice the rate of the considerably wealthier Romney?

Because while Gingrich and Obama made most of their money through work, most of Romney’s income was generated by doing nothing and allowing money to make money. Under the American tax system, that kind of self-perpetuating wealth is taxed at less than half the rate of income generated …

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Why the Gingrich win bodes poorly for the GOP

mittconcedes“Over the past few weeks we’ve seen a frontal assault on free enterprise. We expected this from President Obama. We didn’t anticipate some Republicans would join him. That’s a mistake for our party, and for our nation…. Those who pick up the weapons of the left today will find them turned against us tomorrow.”

– Mitt Romney
in his concession speech
in South Carolina Saturday


Newt Gingrich’s impressive 12-point victory margin in South Carolina has touched off enormous doubt among national Republicans, much of it centered on Mitt Romney’s perceived weaknesses as a candidate.

To cite just one example of many, here’s Mark Steyn at

“Even if you don’t mind Romneycare, or the abortion flip-flop, or any of the rest, there’s a more basic problem: He’s not a natural campaigner, and on the stump he instinctively recoils from any personal connection with the voters…. For a guy running as a chief exec applying proven private-sector solutions, his campaign …

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What China has that the U.S. cannot match

Every American concerned about this country’s economic future should take the time to read a lengthy piece in Sunday’s New York Times explaining why Apple refuses to build or assemble its products here in the United States.

Taxes have nothing to do with it. Regulations have nothing to do with it. Both pale in significance to things like this:

An eight-hour drive from that glass factory is a complex, known informally as Foxconn City, where the iPhone is assembled. To Apple executives, Foxconn City was further evidence that China could deliver workers — and diligence — that outpaced their American counterparts.

That’s because nothing like Foxconn City exists in the United States.

The facility has 230,000 employees, many working six days a week, often spending up to 12 hours a day at the plant. Over a quarter of Foxconn’s work force lives in company barracks and many workers earn less than $17 a day. When one Apple executive arrived during a shift change, his car was …

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A big Gingrich win would be GOP nightmare

UPDATE: That was an impressive win. A 14-point margin for Newt Gingrich is probably more than the former speaker could dream of a week ago, and certainly was unimagined by the Romney camp. A lot of Republican Party officials will not sleep well tonight.

The voting booths close at 7 p.m. in South Carolina, and given movement in the most recent polls, it wouldn’t be surprising if the networks name Newt Gingrich the winner shortly thereafter.

If that happens — and particularly if Gingrich can push his margin into double digits, which seems plausible — the Republicans have themselves a serious problem. Newt will come out of South Carolina with the smell of napalm in his nostrils, and we all know what napalm smells like: victory.


The greater the Gingrich margin, the more it will validate his strategy of attacking Mitt Romney on the issue of his Bain-gotten wealth. As his high-school yearbook photo tells you, this is a man with a grandiose sense of destiny, and the closer he gets …

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Solution for Israel: ‘Take out’ Obama?

“Damn” is about all you can say about something like this.

“Damn fool” would be the longer version.

Andrew Adler, owner/publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, wrote a column earlier this month musing about the options available to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As Adler saw it, Netanyahu has three choices:

One, launch a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah.

Two, launch an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Three, I’ll let you read for yourself:


Adler now says he didn’t really mean it, and is sorry.

Damn fool.

– Jay Bookman

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Here’s to Etta, crossing over the River Jordan


Continue reading Here’s to Etta, crossing over the River Jordan »