Sunday, 02 October 2011


Ken Berwitz

Chris Christie is the Governor of New Jersey.  And he is very much overweight.

But is Mr. Christie's girth a political windfall for his opponents, or a mistake that quickly backfires? 

Let's have a look-see.

-A very strong argument can be made that negative reactions to the "fat" insults leveled against Chris Christie were what pushed him past incumbent Jon Corzine and elected him Governor of New Jersey.

-And now we have a major instance of political dja vu:  after weeks of relentlessly insulting comments from Democrats and, more generally, the left, about Mr. Christie's weight, his poll numbers are moving up. 

If you google "Chris Christie polls", you will find a spate of articles from months ago talking about his low poll numbers. 

However, the latest poll, conducted by Fairleigh-Dickinson University and released this week, shows that, in New Jersey, Christie has gone from dead even in May (44% approve/44% disaprove), to 54% - 36%.  That's quite a jump.

On a national level, Rasmussen Research reports that, in a head-to-head matchup versus President Obama, Christie is in a virtual tie:  44% for Mr. Obama, 43% for Mr. Christie.  And he isn't even campaigning.

My conclusion?  If the idea is to make Governor Christie into a "fat joke" and, by so doing, blow away his prospects for higher office, it doesn't exactly look like a screeching success, does it?

Maybe these folks ought to lay off the personal insults and try issues instea.....oh, wait:  that would mean having President Obama run on his record.  On second thought, in relative terms, that "fat joke" strategy may not be such a bad idea after all.


UPDATE:  I caught a minute or so of chris hayes' show on (where else?) MSNBC this morning.  In it a "panel" (very balanced, of course...) was discussing current and potential Republican presidential candidates.  The name of the segment, superimposed on my TV screen?  "The Elephant NOT in the room".  Guess who that was referring to.

Just like Sarah Palin before him, the left can say anything they want about Chris Christie and it will be just fine.  No problem at all.  No worries about "heated political rhetoric" or "incivility".  Nothing but Open Season. 

I'm considering a blog in which I enumerate the Chris Christie "fat" comments made by this sorry bunch in just the past week or two.  The only thing that might stop me would be its length.

I'd say these jerks should be ashamed of themselves.  But they won't be, so why bother. 


Ken Berwitz

````If asking a millionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber makes me a class warrior ― a warrior for the working class ― I will accept that.  I will wear that charge as a badge of honor."

``Middle-class families shouldn't pay higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires. A teacher or a nurse or a construction worker making $50,000 a year shouldn't pay higher tax rates than somebody making $50 million.":  Barack Obama, Tuesday

These quotes, pulled from the latest column by the excellent thinker Deroy Murdock, are a very powerful message that "the rich" need to pay their fair share of taxes.

There's only one little problem.  With a very tiny number of exceptions, "the rich" actually do pay their "fair share" - and a lot more.  Which means that Barack Obama is full of what a bull deposits in the nearest pasture after lunch.

Here's another part of Mr. Murdock's column, which shows just how dishonest the claim of "undertaxed rich" really is:

In 2008, its latest data indicate, the Internal Revenue Service harvested $1.0315 trillion in income tax ― of which the top 10 percent of earners paid $721.4 billion. The top 5 percent shelled out another $605.7 billion, and the top 1 percent relinquished $392.15 billion. Meanwhile, the bottom 50 percent collectively paid just $27.9 billion. Thus, the top 1 percent of taxpayers furnished 14 times the income taxes that the bottom half of filers supplied.

In 2009, the IRS reports, those who made at least $1 million average 24.4 percent of adjusted gross income in federal income taxes. Those who scored $200,000 to $300,000 paid 17.5 percent. Between $100,000 and $125,000: 9.9 percent. From $50,000 to $60,000: 6.3 percent. Those who earned between $20,000 and $30,000 saw income taxes devour 2.5 percent of AGI.

Income, schmincome, Leftists chirp. What about payroll taxes that lower-income Americans pay? Counting other taxes still shows that higher earners pay more, Obama's dark fantasies notwithstanding.

The Tax Policy Center ― a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution ― reported August 24 that Americans who receive $1 million or more will average 29.1 percent of earnings in 2011 federal income, payroll, corporate, and death taxes. Those clearing between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent, while those from $40,000 to $50,000 will average 12.5 percent. Those federal taxes will extract 5.7 percent from earners between $20,000 and $30,000.

I suggest you show these data - not opinions, not extrapolations, but actual data - to the next person who whines to you about how those rich so-and-so's are getting away with murder on the backs of everyone else.

Then watch them squirm, and angrily try to change the subject.


Ken Berwitz

Barring unforeseen circumstances, tomorrow an Italian court will rule on the appeal of Amanda Knox's murder conviction. 

To refresh your memory, Ms. Knox (along with her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito) was convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher during a bizarre and violent sexual encounter involving them and Ivory Coast student Rudy Guede.  Ms. Knox contends that Guede alone killed Kercher, and it did not happen during a sexual escapade. 

Guede who was convicted of the murder and is serviing a 16 year jail sentence, implicated Knox as a party to the crime.  Knox, who professed to be shocked by Guede's implication, has been in jail since 2007 as her case continues on and on in seemingly endless fashion.

I certainly am no lawyer.  But, based on what I have read, there is no plausible reason for Amanda Knox to have been convicted of this crime.  There is no hard evidence implicating her, the circumstantial evidence is paper-thin, the police badly mishandled evidentiary material and the prosecutor, giuliano mignini, was both incompetent and corrupt (mignini was convicted of corruption and is currently appealing a 16 month sentence).

That said, however, I think it is entirely possible that she will lose her appeal and be sentenced to life imprisonment.  I hope I'm wrong, but I'm thinking it is at least a 50-50 possibility. 

The main reason I feel this way is that to uphold Ms. Knox's appeal is to acknowledge that she was unjustly jailed for four years.  It is to acknowledge the incompetence and, frankly, dishonesty, of the Italian judicial process that put her there.  It is also an invitation for countless other prisoners in Italian jails to cite the Knox case in their own appeals.  In short, it would be a massive embarrassment to Italy:  far easier to just find Knox guilty again and hope that most people eventually forget all about her.

Right now, the Italian press is having a field day with the case.  They are accusing the Knox family of spending major money on a public relations firm (Gogert Marriott of Seattle) to "sell" her innocence to the masses, and decrying the fact that, by contrast, family members of murder victim Meredith Kercher are having trouble even raising the money to be in Italy to hear the verdict.  In other words, class warfare at its finest.

Well, tomorrow we'll all find out one way or the other.  I'll have something to say about the verdict once it is in.

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