REPUBLICANS FOR OBAMA

To my list yesterday (Colin Powell, Susan Eisenhower, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, Christopher Buckley, etc.), I should have added Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s wife, Lilibet. A Republican who contributed to Senator McCain’s 2000 primary, she, too, has endorsed Senator Obama. And Republican talk show host Michael Smerconish* – who liked President Bush so much in 2004 he emceed his final Pennsylvania rally – has declared for Obama.

People loved Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, but doubt she’s fit for the most important job on Earth, should something happen to John McCain . . . and fear something already has happened to John McCain for having chosen her.

*If you like Jackie Mason, click the link.

FIBS

Since February, at least 158 independent, non-partisan ‘fact checks’ have debunked McCain campaign claims. See them here. Whether you consider them fibs, lies, or just intentionally misleading distortions, one thing they are not: straight talk.

SPREADING IT AROUND

Andy Shore: ‘Can you explain to me how Palin’s increase in Alaska’s windfall profits tax on oil companies, and handout of an extra $1200 to every man, woman, and child in Alaska, is not ‘spreading the wealth around?’ McCain/Palin are ‘spreading it around,’ too, and it smells.’

☞ When a Republican gives money to people who pay no taxes, or bails out the banks, that’s free market capitalism and small government at its best. See the difference?

BEING RAPED

A quick message from a teen to a former beauty queen.

BEING RICH

Carolyn Kistler: ‘Please tell me, when has it not been a glorious time to be rich and powerful?’

☞ Good point. I guess I should say these past eight years have been ‘an even grander time than usual.’ Speaking of which . . .

McCAIN INCOME AND GIVING

A couple of weeks ago I noted that The John and Cindy McCain Family Foundation gave out $78,000 last year and $188,000 in 2006 – $93,000 of it to the private prep school his sons attended and the private prep school his daughter attends.

‘These are huge amounts to give to charity (or to prep schools) if your household income is a few hundred thousand dollars,’ I wrote, ‘but theirs tops $6 million.’

I was guessing on that figure, because Mrs. McCain had not released her tax returns. Now she has, at least in summary form, for 2005 and 2006. She reported $5 million or so a year. But of course that’s just reportable income. Most years, there is likely a few million more in unrealized appreciation that is neither reported nor taxed. And the significant share of her income that comes from real estate is presumably understated by depreciation (which lowers reportable income but not, generally, actual income). So really, she may be making $8 million or $10 million in an average year. Plus, the household budget is augmented by her husband’s not inconsiderable earnings and tax-free disability pay.

In that context, $78,000 in giving last year seems modest. Less than one-tenth of one percent of their estimated $100 million fortune.

It’s totally their choice, of course, but speaks to their priorities. And to the sense of urgency they feel about the problems of the world and the intensity of their compassion.

(The Obamas gave $77,315 in 2005, $60,307 in 2006, and $240,370 in 2007. From 2000 through 2004, their giving was negligible, but they were still paying off their student loans.)

 

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