The odds of a Gingrich presidency returned to safe levels last night with Mitt Romney’s decisive* victory in Florida. The former Speaker/Grand Inquisitor of the House has promised to continue his campaign into the summer, “unless Romney drops out sooner,” but that’s like the way Mr. Mxyzptlk threatens you as he’s getting sucked back to his home dimension. Perhaps Newt’s retreat will extend through the spring. Eventually, though, he must return to the mountains of Georgia to slumber and feed.
Today is the Florida Republican primary, when grandmothers across the state will vote on whom they like better: Mitt Romney, who looks like the hedge fund manager their granddaughter married, or Newt Gingrich, who looks like the guy who tried to finger them in the hot tub. It may be a tough day for Newton.* Fortunately, he has a comprehensive plan to expand his appeal beyond just, you know, munitions factory owners. Speaker Gingrich is for everybody, and everybody enjoys hip hop. Seriously, there is a pro-Gingrich rap song now, and that’s it—he was the last one. Props to Ben al-Fowlkes for the link.
During a flashback in the episode of The Simpsons where Homer and Grandpa enjoy brief success selling a homemade aphrodisiac, child Homer says he hopes to someday be President. “Son,” his father says, “this is the greatest country in the world. They’ve got a whole system to prevent people like you from becoming President.” We are now in the first presidential election year since Citizens United v. FEC, and the richest man ever to run for that office has been goaded into releasing his tax returns. In 2010, Mitt Romney received an adjusted gross income of $26 million—approximately 500 times what I made. He paid a federal income tax rate of 13.9%, around four points lower than what I paid. In Romney’s defense, almost all of his income came from investments and his inheritance, whereas my income came from wage work, which is taxed at a higher rate. In my defense, fuck Mitt Romney and the federal corporatocracy he hopes to captain.
Tuesday was another brisk trading day for the marketplace of ideas. After Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D–FL) criticized his support for a bill that would cut Medicare spending, Rep. Allen West (R–FL) issued an email to her and several House leaders that read, in part:
You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the U.S. House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up. Focus on your own congressional district!
That’s like paragraph two. West’s last imperative is kind of odd, given that A) he lives in Wasserman Schultz’s district and B) the function of the House of Representatives is presumably not for everyone to shut up and focus on his own district. West was angry when he wrote that, perhaps because Wasserman Schultz had just delivered the following remarks from the House floor:
The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries—unbelievable from a member from South Florida.
In Florida, they call that the age card. It’s dirty rhetoric for sure, but there remains a substantial gap in tone between Wasserman Schultz’s remarks, addressed to the gentleman from Florida, and West’s response, which begins with Look, Debbie… There’s also that part about vile and despicable; those are probably not terms we should use to debate one another. They are catchy, though, right?
Good news for the drunk ghost of John C. Calhoun: the state of Florida, previously known as the place that combines the hypersexual narcissism of California with the bugs of Nicaragua, is now also the new hot spot for nullification. You remember nullification, right? The 19th-century political theory that reserved for individual states the right to declare federal laws unconstitutional? Originally used to protest the so-called Tariff of Abominations of 1828 and 1832? Jesus, it’s like none of you is currently enrolled in sophomore history. It’s also like no one in the Florida state legislature is doing that, either, since the senate just proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would exempt Florida residents from the Affordable Health Care Act’s individual coverage mandate. Don’t worry; it passed. Props to Ben “Bang!” Gabriel for the link.