NEW YORK—So here is a thing that happened: Newt Gingrich said four preposterous things yesterday in the span of a single sentence. Let’s parse it! “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.” Ok, first: a moon base! Which, right, is just patently ridiculous. But moving on: it will be American! Because of course it would be, or, well, at least when you’re the sort of person who will not rest until the entirety of the Middle East is remade in the American image. Thirdly: Newt suggested he will actually get elected president. (LOL, etc.) And fourthly! Newt suggested he will actually get elected president TWICE. (LOL squared, etc.)
Now why the moon, you might (fairly) ask? Well: so as to generate “a robust science, tourism and manufacturing industry” established “precisely on the model of the airlines in the 1930s.” Yes, he really said that: there will be airports. To space. For vacations.
But you may wish to contain your laughter here, lest you be scolded by the Times’ Nick Confessore, who induced something of a *head explodes* moment on our part last night when he tweeted: “So, liberals/Dems think expanded space exploration is inherently nutty and stupid? Really? The party of Kennedy and Johnson?” Yes, Nick: really. Yes, the party of Kennedy and Johnson thinks this is nutty and stupid. And not just because it’s a deeply cynical electoral ploy to go around making promises there’s no conceivable way you can keep to residents of Florida’s “Space Coast” who now suffer a 15% unemployment rate at the hand of NASA budget cuts. And certainly not because the thought of the great beyond has lost any of its magic and wonder. But because right here, right now—at a time of widespread economic peril, when millions of Americans are suffering the fallout of the Republican party’s decades-long war on the New Deal (and millions more stand to suffer at the hand of Republican-backed austerity measures that will not only hurt ordinary Americans but render the prospect of heightened space exploration completely moot in the first place)—the final frontier we’re most concerned with is the one right here at home, one which—much like the moon!—we’ve already glimpsed once before in our history, but one which has been steadily dismantled over the course of the last three decades and must, as a first order of business, be built once again. So yes, Nick, the party of Kennedy and Johnson is laughing at this, because to turn one’s gaze skyward, right now, at the expense of so many grave issues here at home, yes: that is a gesture worthy of ridicule.
Anyway, back here on planet Earth, there were other things that happened in the world yesterday. First and foremost: Gabby Giffords officially resigned from Congress—and we bawled. If you haven’t watched the video yet, be sure to go get your cry on. And you won’t be alone! Because John Boehner also cries (we advise paying special attention to the 8:45 mark in the video for a good look at how freakish that man’s face looks when he cries real tears).
But then as soon as Boehner was done crying he did something kind of weird? He launched into a bromide about house decorum and… the House floor dress code? “The chair would remind all members to be in proper business attire when you come to the floor of the House,” said Boehner. Run of the mill parliamentary business, perhaps, but it just struck us as very very unfortunately timed, considering that it was literally seconds earlier that he had been handed a letter of resignation by a woman who had actually just broken the very same House dress code he was harping on here by wearing running sneakers on the floor because she can barely walk anymore because, you know, she recently got shot in the head.
Anyway, Mitt Romney is busy spinning his 13% tax rate into something a bit more substantial—like, say, fifty percent? Per Mitt: “One of the reasons why we have a lower tax rate on capital gains is because capital gains are also being taxed at the corporate level. So as businesses earn profits, that’s taxed at 35 percent, then as they distribute those profits as dividends, that’s taxed at 15 percent more. So, all total, the tax rate is really closer to 45 or 50 percent.” HEH, RIGHT. We’re having flashbacks to the “no double taxation on dividends!!!” days. You know who else pays double taxes? Every single other American who is subject to a sales tax. So until you show a little sympathy for everyone else who’s being “double-taxed,” you know, kindly spare us the sob story.
So here is an important thing to remember: Newt Gingrich’s marital infidelities cannot be compared to Bill Clinton’s. Why? “I didn’t do the same thing. I have never lied under oath. I have never committed perjury. I have never been involved in a felony. He was.” Heh. Ok!
Oh yes, right, we’d be remiss to finish this post without repeating a few words that we’ve now said eighteen times before over the last few months: there’s a Republican debate tonight!