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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 10/26/2011

Morning Bits

Why not start all over again? Bill Kristol: “The race seems to be more open and fluid than conventional wisdom has it. In particular, it strikes me that as everyone focuses (understandably) on Romney, Cain and Perry, Gingrich is increasingly well positioned for a serious challenge. And mightn’t at least one of Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush be rethinking his decision not to run?”

Why not Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal? “Meanwhile, if I were Karl Rove, I’d be looking at all of Mitt Romney’s weaknesses and thinking how vulnerable he would be against Obama, and I’d be picking up the phone and calling the Louisiana governor’s mansion.You know, people say Bobby Jindal bombed in his only national speech. Well, the last time somebody famously bombed in a nationally televised speech, so badly that he was all but booed off the stage, was a guy in 1988 whose given name at birth was Billy Blythe. We know him as William Jefferson Clinton, and he bedeviled us for two full terms in the Oval Office (but not in the Lincoln Bedroom, because it was for rent). One ill-received speech does not break a career, especially when the candidate is an incredibly able debater and retail politician.”

Why not just say “never mind”? The Anti-Defamation League retreats from its call to exclude the topic of Israel from public debate. Maybe saner heads were reminded of “the virtues of free speech and robust debate in a democracy.”

Why not keep the staff and change the candidate? Texas Gov. Rick Perry questioned after his economic speech: “Perry wasn’t so self-assured when faced with questions about his comment on Obama’s birth certificate on a cable talk show this morning. When asked if he thought Obama’s U.S. birth certificate was real, Perry wouldn’t say yes or no. ‘That is one of the biggest distractions there is going,’ he said. ‘Somebody wants to see my birth certificate, I’m happy to show it to them. The fact is that is a distraction.’ When a reporter brought up his piddling poll numbers, Perry made a series of college football analogies, and said he wouldn’t ‘quit at halftime.’ ” What about at the beginning of the fourth quarter?

Why not do something constructive to help the people of Syria? “The goals of U.S. policy should be to end the violence, bring down the Assad regime, and lay the bases for a stable democratic system with protection for the Alawite, Kurdish, and Christian minorities.” Read the whole thing.

Why notthe old, pre-birther-dabbling Perry? “Having seen the 2.0 version of Rick Perry on display, I’m already beginning to miss the (comatose) 1.0 version.”

Why nothave a primary, then? The latest national survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Democracy Corps: “Even as the Republican Congress has taken the biggest hit, the President is not immune from voters’ anger. Voters have registered their anger with Obama as economic conditions and outlook have declined, and as he is seen as increasingly unable to affect positive change. His approval is down 5 points since August, and now stands at 40 percent. . . . The biggest drop-off has come among his broad base — 79 percent of Democrats now say they approve of the President’s job performance, the lowest in our tracking. The biggest decline has come from young people and minorities.”

Why nothave a tax reform plan that makes things simpler, not more complicated? “Wouldn’t any rational taxpayer want to compare the flat tax with the tax payable under the current regime before opting in? For some taxpayers, that means calculating the tax under Perry’s proposal, under the regular income-tax code, and under the alt-min tax, making three separate calculations. Granted, the calculation under Perry’s proposed opt-in flat tax would be relatively simple. And there may be taxpayers for whom the flat tax is obviously preferential, thus relieving them of making two or three separate calculations. But for the large number of taxpayers in the gray area, it would not seem to have the benefit Perry attributes to it — alleviating the costs and burdens of calculating taxes under the existing system. Instead, it seems to be taking a relatively simple idea with great appeal — the flat tax — and layering all the complications of the current tax system on it.”

Why not be bolder? Matt Nai of the New York Times says Mitt Romney doesn’t need to: “[L]et’s be real about this: the odds of Mr. Cain winning the Republican nomination would seem to be only slightly better than the odds of Mr. Perry discovering the unified string theory. This means that, for the moment anyway, Mr. Romney can probably afford to continue running against Mr. Obama, rather than against his Republican rivals — no matter how unimpressive his poll numbers may be.” In other words, you have to be a dope to take that New York Times poll showing Cain in the lead seriously.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 10/26/2011

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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