Paying attention to politics is like staring at your face in one of those magnifying mirrors. You think you know your face, but then you stare at it very, very, very closely and it starts to transform into something strange, almost alien.
That’s how I feel about the GOP Presidential race this week. Staring, staring, staring and, whoa, it proceeds to the next level of weird.
I shall explain.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the two front-runners for the GOP Presidential nomination, are very wealthy men. I haven’t seen their tax returns, but I believe both men are what these kids today refer to as the “1%.” (These kids today apparently don’t know AP Style).
And both of these men are vying to lead a party that, to put it politely, tries to defend wealthy people from perceived populist attacks and/or resentment of great personal wealth. For example, the mere suggestion of returning income tax rates for the wealthy to 80s or 90s levels prompts the GOP politicians and media folk to cry socialism – as if the Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton years were the American equivalent of the Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko years in the Soviet Union.
So, I’m surprised (to say the least) that these two men have devoted a good bit of their back-and-forth sniping this week attacking one another for their wealth.
Here’s Gingrich, slamming Romney for making a couple hundred million running a business consulting firm:
“If Gov. Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned from bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years at Bain than I would be glad to then listen to him.”
Isn’t this the same Gingrich who recently trashed Occupy protesters for making the same of critique of American capitalism’s excesses? Yes it is. If one of us stood in Woodruff Park and said the same words about Romney, Gingrich might pepper spray us.
But wait, it gets weirder. Romney responded to Gingrich’s slam with, of all things, repeated attacks on Gingrich’s fat line of credit at Tiffany’s:
“As for him trying to reference a $10,000 rhetorical bet, the Speaker, as I recall, probably shouldn’t be talking about that given a $500,000 bill at Tiffany’s.”
Yes, America, that’s Mitt Romney jabbing at Newt Gingrich for buying his expensive jewelry for his wife; the same Mitt Romney who recently applied to bulldoze his $12 million La Jolla spread (one of several fancy homes he owns) and replace it with a house roughly four-times times the size.
No wonder Ron Paul is surging in Iowa. And Obama is probably laughing.