Short cuts

    Since I plan to write Sunday morning on the results of the Louisiana Republican caucuses (what better way to spend a sabbath?), I’ll go for brevity today:1) With the possible exception of a Steven Segal videocassette movie, is there anything in today’s world that has less value than a John Edwards denial?According to news reports yesterday, an alleged prostitute told New York investigators that Edwards was one of her johns in 2007, that he paid her for sex during a fund-raising visit to the Big Apple. Edwards, through his lawyer, promptly released this statement: “Mr. Edwards categorically denies that he was involved with any prostitute or service.”Wow, that sounded familiar. When The National Enquirer broke the story in 2007 about his liaison with Rielle Hunter, conducted while his wife was fighting cancer, Edwards promptly released this statement: “The story is false. It’s completely untrue, ridiculous. I’ve been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years, and as anybody who’s been around us knows, she’s an extraordinary human being, warm, loving, beautiful, sexy, and as good a person as I have ever known. So the story’s just false.”2) If a uniformed police officer patrolling a white gated community had gunned down a black kid armed with a pack of Skittles, the cop already would have been suspended, pending a formal investigation. But when George Zimmerman, a neighborhood vigilante in Florida, guns down a black kid armed with Skittles – breaking the citizen watch rules, and ignoring a police dispatcher’s advice that he back off – he’s still free as a bird. Is this guy going to be arrested and charged, or will the gun lovers’ Stand Your Ground law stand in the way of justice?3) Newt Gingrich, who’s destined for more humiliation this weekend in Louisiana, said on TV this morning: “People walk up to me every day and beg me to stay in the race.” They must’ve all appeared in his bathroom mirror while he was shaving.4) On the Etch a Sketch front, this week we saw a classic example of Romney erasure. On Monday, Mitt pandered to the delusional right-wing belief that President Obama is plotting to drive up gas prices (in order to imperil Americans’ God-given right to drive cars? or whatever). Mitt declared that Obama and his energy experts “are on a mission to drive up the price of gasoline and all energy so that they can finally get their solar and their wind to be more price-competitive. That’s what they want to do.”Mitt Romney, avowed foe of higher gas prices…but wait, what did Mitt say in 2006?There was a severe gas price spike that spring, while he was governor. But when his own lieutenant governor suggested a state gas tax holiday in order to drive prices down, the moderate leader of Massachusetts said this: “I don’t think that now is the time, and I’m not sure there will be the right time, for us to encourage the use of more gasoline. I’m very much in favor of people recognizing that these high gasoline prices are probably here to stay.”Yes, you can erase the old convictions with a twist of the knob on Etch a Sketch. But a newer toy called the Internet preserves those old convictions forever.5) On Fox News yesterday, Rick Perry mused about higher office and weighed his options: “Texas governor versus VP. The balance on that one isn’t even close, so I would suggest to you that that’s deep in the rumor category and I got a better gig where I am. Thank you.”Wait a sec…There are “rumors” that people might want him to advertise his availability as a vice presidential prospect? In what alternative universe? Because in this universe, he actually has plenty on his plate already, cutting off funds for Planned Parenthood in Texas and further alienating women from the Republican party.6) This Monday marks the start of Health Care Week in national politics, with legal arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court and endless speculation about how an up or down ruling on health reform would help or hurt Obama or the Republicans. One assumption, of course, is that repeal would be a great victory for the GOP. I actually question that. If the high court (or, more specifically, a 5-4 majority with all-powerful Anthony Kennedy as the swing vote) throws out health reform, the Democrats will have a powerful mobilizer for their base voters. And persuadable swing voters as well.Goodbye to the provision that bars insurance companies from capping health coverage? Goodbye to the provision that prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to kids with preexisting conditions? Goodbye to the provision that allows parents to insure their adult children up to age 26? Nothing angers voters more, and galvanizes them more effectively, than having something taken away. If repeal does happen, the GOP may rediscover the old axiom, “Be careful what you wish for.”


    Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

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