Spain Is the Big Story

I know everyone’s focused on Greece, but today’s big story really is Spain.  For the first time, the interest rate on its ten-year bonds went over the magic number, 7%.  That’s the point at which Greece, Ireland, and Portugal had to get bailouts.  Spain’s economy is bigger than those three combined, so bailing out Spain would be a huge deal.

Italy’s interest rate went over 6% today.  Bailing out Italy, whose economy is bigger than Spain’s, would probably be impossible.  Italy is the third largest economy in Europe, after Germany and France.

George Zimmerman Wants Your Money

George Zimmerman has set up a web site with a Paypal button, asking for donations for his living expenses and legal defense.  That’s one Paypal button I’m never going to click.

He writes, “I have been forced to leave my home, my school, my employer, my family and ultimately, my entire life.”

Well, boo hoo.  He should have thought about that before he went driving around with a gun looking for trouble.  Because I believe that if you go looking for trouble, you will definitely find it.  Especially if you take a gun along with you.

As for being forced to leave his life,  I think that accurately describes Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman’s legal team say they are no longing working for him.

Only Twelve States Matter

The Obama and Romney campaigns will focus on 12 states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.   The rest of us are just red or blue chopped liver.

In fact, Mittens’ campaign thinks that at the end there might be a “Final Four” — Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia.*

In both Ohio and Virginia, the GOP governors and legislatures have over-reached since their victories in 2010, and 2012 should bring a pro-Dem backlash.  Ohio’s John “Union Stripping” Kasich and Virginia’s Bob “Vaginal Probe” McDonnell are two of the country’s most unpopular hated governors.

So Mittens has a hill to climb in two states that are crucial to him, and Obama owes a big thank you to the Tea Party.

* “With Eye on General Election, Super PAC Aims Blitz at Obama,”  Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, NYT

Happy Update to NYT Heating Oil Story

The NYT updates* its front-page story from Saturday about people freezing in Maine after Congress cut federal emergency energy assistance:

“More than $100,000 in donations has poured into a tiny home heating firm in Maine after The New York Times wrote about the company’s difficulties in providing oil to customers who are unable to pay.

“Ike Libby, co-owner of Hometown Energy, based in Dixfield, Me., said Monday that people from as far away as California had mailed envelopes full of cash or checks….

“After one caller was disappointed to learn that another donor had already paid the outstanding heating bill of a couple [Robert and Wilma Hartford] featured in the article, Mr. Libby said he told him about an 88-year-old woman who was unable to pay her $1,400 balance.

“The caller, who Mr. Libby said chose to remain anonymous, gave $2,000.

“’You know how good that made us feel — to call her and say, ‘Listen honey, your bill is taken care of?’  he said. ‘I go from giggles to crying.’

“Hometown Energy…has created a Web page to accept donations. Mr. Libby said everything it receives would be placed in a trust fund for people who need assistance paying heating bills.”

* “Article Prompts Donations to Maine Oil Company,” by Timothy Williams

Newt Is Phonier Than Mitt

From Frank Bruni in the NYT*:

“With Gingrich, the distance between reality and rhetoric isn’t shrinking but growing, and the incongruities mount.  He has lately fallen in love with his rants against ‘the elites,’ and casts himself as their most determined foe, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a definition of elite that doesn’t include him.

Are the elites those hyper-educated intellectuals who use big words?  Gingrich has a Ph.D. in history from a prestigious private university, Tulane, and when it suits him, he plays Cerebellum in Chief with nonpareil diction and derision.

Are the elites rich people with fancy ZIP codes?  He and his third wife, Callista, made more than $3.1 million in 2010 and have an estimated net worth in excess of $6.5 million.  Since 2000 they have lived in the posh enclave of McLean, Va., not Appalachia, and have personally stimulated the economy with expenditures at Tiffany, not Zales.

He lashes out against secularists and trumpets his and Callista’s Roman Catholicism, though the two of them lived for six years in explicit defiance of its tenets.”  Emphasis added.

*”The Gusts of Gingrich”

GOP Making Anti-Newt Ads for Obama

Here’s Congressman Peter King, R-NY, sounding apocalyptic about a Newt nomination and presidency:

“[I]f by some chance Newt was ever the nominee, there’s no doubt in my mind that between now and November, there would be a series of just classic political mistakes being made by Newt and the whole party would be affected by it.  If by some chance he was elected president, then for the country’s sake, we would be constantly trying to get ourselves out of crisis that Newt created in addition to the real crisis we have with China and Al Qaeda and going through the whole, the whole panoply of threats including you know, the economic crisis our country faces. So, we cannot afford Newt Gingrich this time.”  Emphasis added.

There’s a ready-made Obama ad all wrapped up with a shiny bow if Newt were the nominee.  And King hasn’t even endorsed Mitt yet!

Newt v. Newt

Newt Gingrich is now driven purely by hatred of Mitt Romney for hitting back hard and successfully against him with negative ads in Iowa.  Mitt reversed Newt’s sudden and swift rise.

On December 1, Newt bragged that he would be the nominee, and he certainly had the wind at his back.  He was the most potent threat Mitt had faced.

Intellectually, Newt knows that the best hope, the only hope, for stopping Mitt is to narrow the field.  He and the two Ricks drain votes from Mitt without any of them being able to pass Mitt head-to-head.

But emotionally, Newt can’t and won’t get out of the race.  That enormous Newtie ego won’t let him.  Newt’s ego is Mitt’s friend.

Newt is helping Mitt both with his Bain attacks (which have the GOP establishment and the anti-establishment rushing to Mitt’s defense) and simply by stubbornly staying in despite poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire.

I don’t know that Newt and Perry can stop Mitt by throwing their support to Santorum.  It’s late, Santorum lacks money and organization, and has his own baggage.  I do know that Newt and Perry can’t stop Mitt by remaining in the race.  They are in effect donating their time to the Romney campaign.