Newsflash — Mitt to Release “Tax Rate Summary”

Mitt is about to release a 20-year summary of his tax rates from 1990 to 2009.

His blind trust administrator claims that the average annual effective tax rate over those 20 years was 20.20%.  He claims that the lowest rate over those years was 13.66%.

Mitt has already released his returns for 2010, along with an estimate for 2011.  He is also going to release the actual returns for 2011, which will show a 14.4% effective tax rate.

Will this quell the call for release of more actual returns besides 2010 and 2011 or just intensify it?  I’m guessing it’s the later.

A desperate modified, limited hangout that just begs for comparison to Richard Nixon.

Mitt “Stonewall” Romney

Mitt has chosen to take the stonewall route on his taxes.  And I mean this in the Nixonian, not the Jacksonian sense.

If he’s stonewalling now, when he’s supposedly trying to get us to like him and vote for him, what will his Administration be like?  Obviously, his single term of darkness and despair throughout the land will not be characterized by transparency and openness.  It will be about withholding as much as possible from “you people,” his twisted version of “we the people.”

If someone doesn’t treat you well when you’re dating, what will it be like after you’re married?

He’s giving us fair warning, people.  We need to pay attention.

Prez to Issa: Drop Dead

You know things aren’t going well when Drudge features a picture of Richard Nixon with President Obama’s eyes photoshopped in.  No one wants to be compared to Tricky Dick, ever.

Today, Obama claimed executive privilege for the first time in his presidency over documents Congress has subpoenaed in the “Fast and Furious” gun running operation.  Bush 43 claimed the privilege six times, and Clinton 14 times, so this day was inevitable.  At some point, presidents and Congress clash.

This is no longer about Fast and Furious itself.  We know what happened.  In a sting operation to sell guns to Mexican drug cartels, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives didn’t make arrests as quickly as it could because it sought to build a bigger case.  This is known as “gun walking,” and it led to the Bureau’s losing track of about 2,000 guns, two of which were found when a Border Patrol agent was shot in December of 2010.

The Justice Department has already given Congress almost 8,000 documents related to the operation.  What’s in dispute are internal emails after February 4, 2011, about Congress’ investigation into the bungled operation.

Justice officials in D. C. gave Congress incorrect information based on false assurances they received from Arizona-based officials that gun walking had not occurred.  They may have been a little too quick and willing to accept those assurances and pass them along to Congress.

Congress is now looking to embarrass the Justice Department (and President Obama) as Justice scrambled to cover its tush after giving Congress false information about gun walking.

Basically, what did Eric Holder know, and when did he know it?

Obama is sticking his neck way out for Holder, rather than letting him twist in the wind or take the fall.  The GOP will do everything it can to make Holder — and Obama — look bad.

Today, Obama looks tough and loyal.  Not sure how he’ll look in a few weeks or months.  I hope Holder has been straight with him.

This isn’t about losing guns in Mexico, this is about losing the election in the U. S.

Obama’s Luck May Be Running Out

The latest Real Clear Politics average shows President Obama ahead of Mitt by 1.4%, so the race is essentially tied.

What troubles me is that I think the people who have already decided to vote for Mitt are unlikely to change their minds.  I’m not expecting some big shocking revelations about him between now and November.   You either care about Bain, his Massachusetts record, Romneycare, the flip flops and phoniness, his inability to identify with and connect to average working people, or you don’t.

As the challenger, events that unfold in the next few months, like the disaster that is Europe, won’t take votes away from Mitt. But as the incumbent, Obama has to take responsibility for whatever happens on his watch, even when it isn’t really his fault and is beyond his control.  He may not have championed the euro 20 years ago as a brilliant idea, but its demise will hurt him.  To paraphrase Harry Truman, “The euro stops here.”

I believe Mitt is likely to pick up votes from current Obama voters as well as most undecideds.  We know the economy isn’t about to take off any time soon, things are likely to get worse before they get better.  I can see a scenario where the stock market tanks as the price of filling our tanks  soars, where events seem to be spinning out of control and no one knows where the bottom is, so that voters flee Obama and rush into the waiting wooden arms of Mitt, not out of love, but out of fear, that other extremely powerful human emotion.

Europe isn’t going to crash and burn in time for the effects to fade before the election, but Europe won’t wait till mid-November either.

I would say the calendar favors Mitt.  He’s not likable?  We elected Richard Nixon — twice.

Why 2012 Is Not 1980

Some in the GOP are comparing President Obama to Jimmy Carter in 1980 and predicting that Mitt will win just as Reagan did.

But I believe there’s a fatal flaw in that thinking.

Carter won in 1976 because it was the first presidential election since Nixon had resigned in disgrace, and voters wanted to tell the GOP what they thought of Watergate.  They also viewed Gerald Ford as somewhat illegitimate because he had been appointed vice president, not elected.   To add insult to that injury, Ford, this guy nobody had voted for, took it upon himself to pardon Nixon.

When the economy blew up under Carter, with the prime rate at 20% and gas lines stretching to the horizon, voters recognized that Ronald Reagan had nothing to do with Watergate or Nixon or Ford.  By voting for him, they weren’t in any way condoning or returning to the way things had been under the last Republican Administration.

That’s why voting for Mitt now is different from voting for Reagan in 1980.  While the economy is not exactly going gangbusters under Obama, Mitt would take us back to the Bush policies, to the complete lack of interest in regulating Wall Street, that led to the Great Recession. He would support the kind of drastic austerity that would pull us right back into recession.

We may not like where we are, but we hate where we’ve been, and we’ll be damned if we’re going back there.  Forward!



Must Read from Frank Rich on the GOP and Women

Frank Rich has an excellent article, “Stag Party,” in New York Magazine, available at  He writes about not only the GOP’s current war on women, but also the history going back to the Nixon Administration, after years of Republicans supporting women’s rights.   Some excerpts:

“At the very top of the Washington GOP Establishment, however, there was a dawning recognition that a grave danger had arisen — not to women, but to their own brand.  A month of noisy Republican intrusion into women’s health and sex organs, amplified by the megaphone of Limbaugh’s aria, was a potentially apocalyptic combination for an election year.  No one expressed this fear more nakedly than Peggy Noonan …on ABC’s This Week.  After duly calling out Rush for being ‘crude, rude, even piggish,’ she added:  ‘But what he said was also destructive.  It confused the issue.  It played into this trope that the Republicans have a war on women.  No, they don’t, but he made it look that way.’

“Note that she found Limbaugh ‘destructive’ not because he was harming women but because he was harming her party.  But the problem wasn’t that Limbaugh confused the issue.  His real transgression was that he had given away the GOP game….  That’s why his behavior resonated with and angered so many Americans who otherwise might have tuned out his rant as just another sloppy helping of his aging shtick.  It’s precisely because there is a Republican war on women that he hit a nerve.  And surely no one knows that better than Noonan, a foot soldier in some of the war’s early battles well before Rush became a phenomenon.

“GOP apologists like Noonan are hoping now that Limbaugh and Limbaugh alone will remain the issue — a useful big fat idiot whom Republicans can scapegoat for all the right’s misogynistic sins and use as a club to smack down piggish liberal media stars.  The hope is that he will change the subject of the conversation altogether, from a Republican war on  women to, as Noonan now frames it, the bipartisan ‘coarsening of discourse in public life.’  That’s a side issue, if not a red herring.  Coarse and destructive as sexist invective is — whether deployed by Limbaugh or liberals — it is nonetheless policies and laws that inflict the most insidious and serious casualties in the war on women.  It’s Republicans in power, not radio talk-show hosts or comedians or cable-news anchors, who try and too often succeed at enacting punitive measured aimed at more than half the population.  The war on women is rightly named because those who are waging it do real harm to real women with their actions, not words.”