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ThePlumLIneGS whorunsgov plumline
Posted at 08:53 AM ET, 09/29/2011

The Morning Plum

* The two “Warrens” and the debate over taxes and “class warfare”: As I’ve been noting here, the argument over tax hikes on the rich and the bogus “class warfare” charge is a very good one for us to be having, and there are two separate and related developments that drive this point home. As it happens, both of them involve someone named “Warren,” and both of these Warrens are having a dramatic impact on the nature of the national conversation.

* Liberal money pours in for Elizabeth Warren: First up: Elizabeth Warren. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee will announce today that it has raised over $375,000 for Warren’s challenge to Scott Brown from liberal and Dem donors nationwide. The group has also hauled in over $70,000 for another liberal rising star, Hispanic State Senator Eric Griego, who’s running in an open seat primary in New Mexico’s 1st District.

The influx of cash suggests that Warren’s run is already tapping into a vein of enthusiasm among liberals and Dems around the country who have long wanted to see Dem leaders employ Warren’s brand of unabashed and aggressive populism. Such support could also help Warren keep pace with Brown’s fundraising juggernaut and ensure that this is a very competitive contest.

“The grassroots energy for national rising stars like Elizabeth Warren and Eric Griego has been fantastic,” PCCC’s Adam Green says.

* Warren Buffett, traitor to his class: Next up: Warren Buffet. It’s no accident that liberal enthusiasm on the left over Elizabeth Warren has been matched on the other side by an outpouring of conservative rage towards the other Warren. That would be Warren Buffett, a billionaire who has committed the traitorous act of suggesting that members his class can afford to chip in a bit more to strengthen the social contract and national conditions that enabled them to get rich in the first place.

E.J. Dionne gets right to the heart of the real meaning of the right’s anger at Buffett, which has even extended to demands that he release his tax returns, and correctly identifies it as an important story:

Advocates of higher taxes on the wealthy do not want to “punish” the successful. Buffett and Doug Edwards, a millionaire who asked Obama at a recent town hall event in California to raise his taxes, are saying that none of us succeeds solely because of personal effort. We are all lucky to have been born in — or, for immigrants, admitted to — a country where the rule of law is strong, where property is safe, where a vast infrastructure has been built over generations, where our colleges and universities are the envy of the world, and where government protects our liberties.
Wealthy people, by definition, have done better within this system than other people have. They ought to be willing to join Buffett and Edwards in arguing that for this reason alone, it is common sense, not class jealousy, to ask the most fortunate to pay taxes at higher tax rates than other people do. It is for this heresy that Buffett is being harassed.

The outpouring of rage from the right over this heresy is as clear a sign as you could want that this is a good debate to be having.

* Republicans just aren’t crazy about their 2012 candidates: What to watch: The GOP presidential candidates are all set to announce underwhelming fundraising numbers this quarter, and Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake game out what they tell us about the weakness of the GOP field and the general unhappiness among Republicans about their choices.

And yes, this means you should brace yourself for yet another round of speculation about (and pining for) Chris Christie.

* Puncturing the Chris Christie “bipartisanship” myth: If Christie does run, we’ll be hearing no shortage of gushing about how the blunt truth-teller has created in New Jersey a model for bipartisan and compromising rule that could be applied nationwide.

Good thing today’s New York Times does a nice job setting the record straight about his actual record, which “has been marked by as much acrimony as there has been agreement.” And this sort of thing will raise questions about his temperament:

Mr. Christie once said to reporters, of a state senator in her 70s who had criticized him, “Can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?” When another Democratic legislator seemed to question Mr. Christie’s parenting, he said “she should really be embarrassed at what a jerk she is.”

* Isn’t it too late for Christie to run? Also, as Stephen Stromberg notes, the likelihood that the early primaries and caucuses will be moved up to January raises serious questions about how or whether Christie could assemble a whole presidential campaign on such short notice. The first voting is less than four months away!

* A good way to gauge whether Romney is winning: Steve Kornacki offers up a fun way of tracking whether Romney is on track to win the primary:

I’ve been judging Romney’s progress by what I’m calling the “Hannity Test”: If and when we start hearing elite Republican opinion-shapers echo his healthcare rationalization, we’ll know he’s on his way to the nomination.

Only a matter of time?

* Did Rick Perry aides give false testimony under oath?Reuters has an investigative scoop that raises some intriguing questions about whether top aides to Perry gave false or misleading testimony about an allegedly camoflauged $1 million contribution to his 2006 reelection bid from the notorious funder of the Swift Boat Vets campaign.

* Perry walks back his sympathy for children of illegal immigrants: What does it say about the GOP primary electorate that Rick Perry, under fire from conservatives, was forced to quickly walk back his claim that it’s “heartless” to deny college tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants, on the grounds that they’re not at fault for what their parents did?

* Obama and civil liberties: Law professor Jonathan Turley on how Obama has been a complete disaster on civil liberties, and why the topic has vanished from the national conversation.

* The case for Solyndra and green energy: Jonathan Cohn on why the Solyndra scandal isn’t what conservatives want it to be, and why it doesn’t undermine the case for green energy investments in general.

* And a GOP Senator amplifies the latest EPA myth: It’s one thing for the Daily Caller to run a bogus story falsely claiming that the EPA is looking to hire 230,000 “bureaucrats” to smother our country with regulations. It’s quite another for “enviro-skeptic” Senator Jim Inhofe to continue promoting this story after it’s been completely debunked.

By the way — can we please stop using the term environmental “skeptic”? It implies objections to climate science are based on something resembling rational thought.

What else is happening?

By  |  08:53 AM ET, 09/29/2011

 
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