Romney's taxes, self-deportation, and observations about Florida Debate IJanuary 24, 2012 2:03 PM
I don't care about Romney's taxes. If H&R Block didn't do them for him, he made too much money, and he likely paid less tax proportionately than any of us.
Indeed, to make $43 million over two years, paying $6.2 million in taxes, with $7 million to charities, puts Romney at an effective rate of 14%.
Right in there with the school teacher and firefighter.
They don't have a lot in common. And that's all you need to know about tax fairness.
When Obama takes on the issue of tax equality in his State of the Union address tonight, the contrast between the Democrats and the Republicans should be pretty stark.
It's the reason why Romney and Gingrich going after each other makes great entertainment, but exposes their candidacies as vanity matters and ego affairs.
It's about them. Not about us.
Now about last night's debate...
There's something to be said when the audience is taken out of the debate. In South Carolina, it was like the 12th man on a football field. And that's what fueled Gingrich last week. It was much different in Florida Debate I, where it was like a tennis audience, so quiet you could hear the grunting.
Gingrich seemed flat as he tried to generate some anger and dictate what he would and wouldn't talk about. Hey, he doesn't feel like "chasing Romney's misinformation." Without the crowd roar, it was just a dodge.
Romney was actually good in exposing Gingrich's ethical gaffes from his departure from Congress, to the million dollar contract with Freddie Mac and all his other lobbying activity.
Gingrich continues to insist he was an historian, non-lobbyist citizen advocate. Or something like that.
But Romney got him, especially on Gingrich's Medicare advocacy: "If you're getting paid by health companies, if your entities are getting paid by health companies that could benefit from a piece of legislation, and you then meet with Republican congressmen and encourage them to support that legislation, you can call it whatever you like. I call it influence-peddling. It is not right. You have a conflict."
Of course, Romney blew it on immigration. He tried to match Gingrich by saying he was for the Dream Act--if it focused on military service, not college. Though last week in South Carolina, there was no doubt, Romney was 100 percent against the Dream Act, without reservations.
Said Romney in the South Carolina January 17 debate: "And I have indicated I would veto the DREAM Act if provisions included in that act to say that people who are here illegally, if they go to school here long enough, get a degree here that they can become permanent residents. I think that's a mistake. I think we have to follow the law and insist those who come here illegally, ultimately return home, apply, and get in line with everyone else."
Romney can't seem to help himself. It's in his DNA. He wants it all.
And then there was the issue of "self-deportation."
As pointed out, we sort of have that already. People can go back to their country of origin any time they want. Some do, some won't.
But to rely on self-deportation as a policy? Why not get rid of the Border Patrol too and all the laws and go on some open border honor system! Self-deportation? He must have been self-medicating when he thought of that one.
The reality show battle between Gingrich and Romney could take its toll on both the candidates and the audience. The Situation does not run for president.
So who's left on the Right? Ron Paul doesn't seem to have the energy or the suits to be president, though as a fiscal conservative he does stand out.
That leaves Santorum to try to remain above it all and get the alienated Republican vote tired of the bickering front-runners.
Last night, Santorum, the social conservative, was mostly quiet compared to Newtney. Santorum did flex his fiscal conservative muscle when he exposed both Romney and Gingrich for their support of corporate welfare through the bank bailouts. Neither could come back at Santorum when he suggested a better course would have been to let capitalism work by allowing the weak companies to fail, or letting stronger ones buy them out. But the stronger companies sit back and watch the carnage if they all know the government will step in.
And then he suggested that those underwater in their mortgages should get to deduct the losses. The guy is not a bank guy; he's a people guy.
I'm no conservative, but those are the kind of ideas that resonate among the unemployed and underwater in Florida, Nevada, Arizona, and California.
If voters tune out of the Romney Gingrich fight, the relatable, people-oriented Santorum really could surprise everyone.