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Right Turn
Posted at 07:45 AM ET, 01/25/2012

Morning Bits

Rick Santorum’s spokesman tells Newt Gingrich to stop being a crybaby. “Speaker Gingrich is trying to cover up a poor debate performance by lashing out a[t] the rules he agreed to before the debate. It sounds like Speaker Gingrich would rather participate in a series of rallies as opposed to a series of substantive debates. And by the way, it should be noted, I don’t believe the crowd. . .they didn’t not applaud because of the rules, they didn’t applaud because they didn’t hear anything they like coming from Speaker Gingrich. . . . This is not the kind of behavior you want in the nominee. You want the Republican nominee to be able to debate Barack Obama anytime, anywhere and under any circumstance.”

American Crossroad says President Obama didn’t address his own rhetoric decrying the state of the middle class.

Elliott Abrams says the critics who decried support for the Arab Spring had it wrong. “Thus the neocons, democrats, and others who applauded the Arab uprisings were right, for what was the alternative? To applaud continued oppression? To instruct the rulers on better tactics, the way Iran is presumably lecturing (and arming) Syria’s Bashar al-Assad? Such a stance would have made a mockery of American ideals, would have failed to keep these hated regimes in place for very long, and would have left behind a deep, almost ineradicable anti-Americanism. This kind of so-called ‘realpolitik’ is the path U.S. President Richard Nixon’s administration took after the Greek military coup in 1967, and nearly a half-century later the Greeks have still not forgiven the United States.”

For crying out loud, he was an historian! Actually, “The man hired by Newt Gingrich more than a decade ago to advise him how to walk the line between consulting and lobbying is the co-author of a leading legal text on lobbying and the chief lobbyist of the American Bar Association.” Gingrich of course didn’t want the label “lobbyist.”

For a candidate crying about transparency, Gingrich has his own shenanigans to explain. “Newt Gingrich avoided tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payroll taxes in 2010 by using a technique the Internal Revenue Service has consistently and successfully attacked. Republican presidential candidate Gingrich and his wife, Callista, treated only $444,327 of what they got from Gingrich Holdings,. Inc. and Gingrich Productions as compensation to them, while reporting a whopping $2.4 million of their earnings from these corporations as profits or dividends. Medicare taxes are levied at a rate of 2.9% on an unlimited amount of compensation and self-employment income (say, from a consulting contract, speeches or a book) but not on profits from a business.”

This is a far cry from work as an historian. “New details from Newt Gingrich’s $35,000-a-year contract with Freddie Mac show that the Republican hopeful wasn’t just a boardroom consultant, but served as a high-profile booster for the beleaguered organization. He even gave a rallying speech to dozens of the group’s political action committee donors in the spring of 2007. Shortly after the ‘rah, rah’ speech, as one source described it, Gingrich gave an interview for the Freddie Mac Web site, where he supported the group’s model at length. The interview is no longer on Freddie’s site.”

Ramesh Ponnuru cries foul on some of Gingrich’s big ideas. “Take Social Security. Gingrich correctly labels as a ‘fantasy’ the notion that it can ‘survive without any structural reforms.’ He advocates allowing people to invest some of the funds they currently submit to Social Security in ‘personal accounts.’ . . . But then comes the Gingrich twist: His plan guarantees that if people’s investments fail, they will still get all the benefits that current law promises them. How can the government save money while giving everyone their promised benefits and making up unlucky or incompetent investors’ shortfalls? It can’t. And won’t those shortfalls be larger if people know they can’t lose?”

Artur Davis wants to draft Jeb Bush to run for president. “Jeb Bush should measure his reluctance against the risks looming for his party and, potentially, his country. The fact is that his party could be staring at an unavoidable disaster unless, in the interests of saving it, its best candidate comes out of retirement.” The only problem is that he’s made it perfectly clear he’s not answering the call. For crying out loud, he won’t even endorse anyone! Such is the state of political courage these days.

By  |  07:45 AM ET, 01/25/2012

Categories:  Morning Bits

 
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