SENATOR McCAIN’S BEST LINE

If you watched the debate – or any news coverage thereof – you heard the Senator’s great line about not being President Bush. And of course no one would argue that he is literally President Bush. But take 30 seconds to watch his line again.

TURNS OUT, JOE THE PLUMBER WOULD GET A TAX CUT

It seems he makes considerably less than a quarter million dollars a year – the McCain campaign seems to have confused the cost of the business Joe hopes to buy ($280,000) with his annual income . . . and on the basis of that confusion, built much of the night’s argument. (They also forgot that, with respect to Senator Obama’s health insurance, Joe would NOT be fined if he didn’t provide his employees with it, because small businesses would be exempt.) And they unaccountably have decided that 50% of small businesses in America make more than $250,000 a year when in fact it’s just 2%. (They may be confusing ‘revenue’ with ‘income.’ A business may do $1 million in sales revenue yet make just a tiny a profit for its owner – or even end up with a loss – after the cost of goods, rent, wages, utilities, insurance, advertising, and so on. You would think the McCain economic team would understand this. And since they must, you have to wonder how they keep insisting on ‘fifty’ percent when the actual number is ‘two’ percent.)

ACORN

When people paid to register new voters turn in bogus registrations, it’s fraud. But not voter fraud. It’s fraud on ACORN and on the mostly liberal donors (like me) who support ACORN’s registration work. Because think about it. Say I turn in registrations in the names of Ronald McDonald, Donald Duck, and Duck Phillips (one of the characters on Mad Men). Are any of them likely to show up to vote? It’s hard enough to get real, living people to vote, let alone dead or fictional ones.

So while ACORN has clearly been defrauded by some of its paid-by-the-registration employees, this has no impact on the election.

Certainly, you can concoct hypothetical examples of ways fraudulent registration could impact the process. But they are hypothetical, and the dirty little secret is that hard as the Bush Justice Department tried – with all its resources – it was never able to prove even a handful of examples of voter fraud, let alone hundreds or thousands of them. Indeed, it grew so frustrated, it fired eight of its own U.S. Attorneys, like David Iglesias, author of the just-out In Justice, for not playing along . . . and a special prosecutor has now been appointed to investigate those politically motivated firings.

So as with Bill Ayres, and as with the ‘tax hikes on 50% of small businesses’ when it’s actually 2%, and as with Obama’s plan to teach kindergartners comprehensive sex education (he would actually teach them to avoid sexual predators), there’s simply no ‘there’ there. And Al Gore never said he invented the Internet, and John Kerry did not shoot himself to get a medal. But Sarah Palin really did get a D in macroeconomics, and John McCain really did say she can see Russia from her house.

From the look of the polls, it’s just possible the electorate is beginning to catch on.

HOW DID WARREN BUFFETT GET SO RICH?*

He started with nothing, inherited nothing, made it all by his wits. How? By being uncommonly smart, sure, but also by being wise, which is different, and uncommonly thoughtful; uncommonly decent, which has attracted decency in return; by taking the long view and sorting out what’s important; and – crucially – by being a good judge of talent: knowing which chief executives to bet on.

What does it say about Senator Obama that for the first time ever Warren Buffett has taken an active role in a modern Presidential election, hosting and headlining fundraisers to make Barack Obama our next chief executive?

What does it say about the urgency of the situation?

What does it say about Senator McCain?

*Some things bear repeating.

 

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