Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Romney and Gingrich -- taxes and history

The 'revelation' that Mr. Romney pays a smaller percentage of his taxes because most of his income comes from investments is hardly shocking, the glee in the Gingrich and Obama camps notwithstanding. Our tax laws are written to reward those who take risks and invest as opposed to those who merely take salary. Just Plain Folks in traditional swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania -- and, of course, Florida, the immediate battlefield -- should not take umbrage at the relatively low percentage paid under these circumstances. That Mr. Romney donates extensively to charity should, indeed, help him in most circles; that these charities are mostly, if not exclusively, Mormon will cause murmurs among a few -- but these are bigots and others just looking to fan into flame any possible sparks bigotry among us gullible Just Plain Folks.

More interesting is that Mr. Romney closed a Swiss bank account just prior to entering the current presidential sweepstakes. He has acknowledged keeping some money in the Cayman Islands. These are two places where many rich people, from many countries, stash money to avoid paying taxes in their native lands. But the consensus, in the news reports I've seen so far, seems to be that Mr. Romney has not engaged in any overly 'aggressive' tax strategies. He's apparently paid his fair share under the law.

Meanwhile, what can one say about Speaker Gingrich?

Just before the South Carolina primary Gingrich's second ex-wife made a public accusation that he, Historian Gingrich, suggested that his not-then-ex-wife permit him to have an "open marriage," apparently because his affair with his not-then-present-wife had come to light. Somehow Gingrich turned this accusation into a positive -- into votes -- from arch-conservative Bible-thumping South Carolinians. This wasn't making a silk purse from a sow's ear -- this was the electoral equivalent of making a silk purse from pig 'stuff' (I'd use the more accurate four-letter Anglo-Saxon word, but I blush).

Somehow the serial adulterer became a champion of family values.

It occurs to me that Historian Gingrich may actually be a champion of family values. Really, really old-fashioned family values -- like droit du seigneur, perhaps? If the 'right' of the noble lord to deflower every virgin in the village was largely mythical, the noble's ability to pluck concubines from among the fairer flowers of the peasantry or servant class was often very real indeed. Fathers would push their daughters forward; the entire family might rise in the world. If a pretty girl could just catch the attention of a king long enough, her bastard offspring might be made a Duke.

Of course, these rules did not apply to peasants. But Historian Gingrich surely does not see himself as one of the sturdy yeomanry; rather, by virtue of his skill and intellect, he sees himself as one of Nature's Elect. But I can tell you this much: If Historian Gingrich is the nominee of his party, my wife will not vote for him. She would not vote for him even if President Obama campaigns in his boxer shorts.

President Obama must pinch himself every morning just to be sure he's not dreaming. This Republican field could not have been better designed to secure his reelection than if David Axelrod had recruited the entire GOP field himself. And, inasmuch as Mr. Axelrod is a veteran of many Chicago elections, I do not immediately dismiss the notion.

Several justices of the United States Supreme Court are quite taken with the notion that their task is to discern the original intent of the Founding Fathers. I wish I could convene a meeting of the Founding Fathers just long enough to ask them what they think about the fact that the next Chief Magistrate of their experimental republic will be named either Barack, Newt or Mitt.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i quite agree, newt has so much baggage but then remember clinton and they loved him too. same morals i think. the difference, newt is smarter. and sleazier. and scarier. and not married to hillary.

thanks for your kind words curmy, much appreciated...

smiles, bee