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Lanny Davis, On The Cutting Edge of Centrist False Equivalency

Here’s a fun little Twitter theory from our good friend Lanny Davis, the hot-shot DC lawyer, Democratic party insider, Clinton campaign interference-runner, and lobbyist type to most of the world’s worst people. What is he even talking about? Did you know that if you’ve been suspicious about what’s inside Mitt Romney’s unreleased tax returns — suspicious, again, because he’d prefer to take withering criticism from across the political spectrum instead of simply showing what he’s got — then you are the same thing as Michele Bachmann hallucinating about Muslim infiltration? We thought Cory Booker’s famous “Bain attacks = Jeremiah Wright attacks” pairing was pretty unbeatable, but, well, “Wondering what the thing Mitt Romney is obviously hiding in his tax returns is = Michele Bachmann arbitrarily accusing people of terrorism” is a step above. Holy potatoes, you guys.

Your Wonkette thanked Davis for this historic push into virgin false equivalence territory, leading him to tweet later, “I see no equivalency to reckless Bachmann attack on Huma. I do want my fellow Ds to stick to facts and avoid innuendo.” Got that? “Isn’t this same as reckless Bachmann McCarthyism?” did not imply that he considered them the “same.” Stick to the facts, and the fact is that Mitt Romney won’t release his tax returns, against all political odds, and it would be improper to try and figure out why.

From what we’ve seen, anyway, most of the speculation about what Romney’s hiding falls into two camps. The first is that his capital loss was so deep in 2009 that he carried it forward to 2010, and, between that and his perennially long list of itemized deductions, he may have ended up paying an insanely low tax rate — probably not 0%, but possibly somewhere around 5%. And that wouldn’t go over well with The Normals, with their pathetic “wage income,” who pay 20% or so in income taxes no matter what. This doesn’t reveal illegality, of course — just a horribly regressive tax code that Romney and a Republican Congress would make worse. The other theory suggests that Romney may have taken part in a Treasury amnesty program in 2009 for those who’d been stashing cash in Switzerland to avoid taxes. That was illegal, but then there was an amnesty, so there is no fresh crime to hide or further charges that could come out. But it would probably kill off his election hopes if revealed.

You get a headshot, don't worryNone of this pundit speculation seems tacky, to us libtards at least, or even the many conservatives who also have been trying to figure out what he’s hiding. Mitt Romney, by the way, could end all of this speculation by releasing the tax returns in question. Huma Abedin cannot end rumors directed at her about being a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist because there was no reason for these rumors to begin with and she wasn’t hiding anything; Michele Bachmann just shared a conspiracy theory she was working on.

Your Wonkette then asked Davis, on Twitter, about this other weird thing he posted: “To repeat: I wrote it would be hypocritical for Dems to criticize Romney for not paying more taxes than he is legally required to pay.” Sure, but if Dems thought his rate was too low under current law, and Mitt Romney was proposing to lower taxes even further instead of bringing them into line with the rest of the country’s, than that is a valid, perhaps even important, criticism to levy against him during the campaign. “The point is he does not intend to bring wealthy egregious rates back up. He would cut taxes, unimaginably, further,” we said to him. His response: “did Dems make major effort to pass tax reform in 06-08 or even try closing all tax loopholes? We didn’t – and we should have.” Huh? What? Hmm? Again, people wouldn’t criticize him for paying obscene rates available to him under current law; they’d criticize him for thinking that those obscene rates are only bad in that they’re not low enough! But apparently Democrats are weasels for… not trying to negotiate a tax reform package with George W. Bush, who was so open to adding thick slobs of progressivity to the tax code.

Anyway.

[Lanny Davis]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell
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138 comments

  1. a_pink_poodle

    N…no that has nothing in relation to Bachmannism. It's a specific person being accused of a specific wrongdoing, not a wide swath of people for just being a particular religion.

    Feel free to use Bachmannism, Wonketteers! Spread it around! I want to hear Fox & Friends mention it on their show with great disdain within 2 months!

  2. memzilla

    Mitt Rmoney's tax returns cannot be released, because they are in the same secure undisclosed location that Dick Cheney is in.

  3. Not_So_Much

    Well, it's by no means a new record. But this has me drinking tequila pretty fucking early in the day.

    1. natoslug

      I'm still enjoying the keg of IPA my neighbor has sitting in his front yard. Really, I like any excuse to stop by with my quart Mason jar while he isn't home.

  4. OzoneTom

    If everything that he did to pay almost no taxes turns out to be legal then that might be an even worse outcome for our corporate masters.

    1. FlownOver

      And if you hear that from the fantastic new SUPER HERO of the CURRENT ECONOMIC SLUMP (per FZ) you can take it to the bank. Where it will be lost betting on credit default bingo.

  5. SexySmurf

    I have a list of 205 suspected retards in the Democratic Party, and Lanny Davis' name is first on it.

  6. coolhandnuke

    It's one thing to invade and occupy a country without a clear and defined exit strategy.
    It's another, to attempt to occupy the leadership of a country without a clear and defined entrance strategy.

  7. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Davis has a point, as it would be hypocritical for Romney to reveal to "you people" what every other candidate has done by their own accord since at least his father released 12 years worth of tax returns in the 60s.

  8. fawkedifiknow

    As a life long Democrat, I'm hereby officially kicking that corrupt fuckface out of the Party. If that's the equivalence of taking away his First Amendment rights, I don't give a shit.

  9. SorosBot

    Does Lanny Davis have something to hide? He could be invested in the same child sex rings as Romney that his tax returns would reveal; it would irresponsible not to speculate.

      1. Fare la Volpe

        Mitt Romney has never denied that he runs a child sex ring in the Bahamas, and we citizen journalists simply want him to set the record straight. If he weren't engaged in child prostitution, why wouldn't he want to put an end to the speculation?

        1. sezme

          Wow, and he's never denied the child sex ring in the Cayman Islands either! I may have failed Logic in school, but one of them has to be true. And unless he releases all his tax returns, we'll just never know who the children were or if there are any survivors.

    1. Lionel[redacted]Esq

      I'm pretty sure that Davis has arranged for the cocaine to be shipped in, using his old Clinton connections and many of Romney's undeclared wives as mules to fund the ring.

  10. spends2much

    Questioning a rich person's tax rate should get you on a no-fly list, since it makes you a suspicious Muslin to do so, obviously.

  11. elviouslyqueer

    Lanny's Twitter would also suggest that, up until yesterday, his nose was buried so far up Hillary's posterior that he could inflate her lungs for her. Just the facts, ma'am.

  12. chicken_thief

    Lanny has been a bitch to live with ever since his secret love, Hillary, lost the nomination.

    1. pdiddycornchips

      Lanny is a dick, Bams is an empty suit and Hilz hasn't exactly delivered the division and infighting Obamabots expected. Can we maybe cut her a little slack?

        1. Dr. Nick Riviera

          Well, I'll be jiggered…I thought all the PUMAs went extinct, but there it is, complete with the "Obamabots" and "Messiah" horseshit! I love conservation as much as the next guy, but maybe next time bring back something a little less obnoxious like the smallpox.

  13. sbj1964

    Mittens,as Americans can we really trust a Mormon who church denies the existence of Magnets? A true thing Mormons deny that Magnets exist, WOW!!!!! That is why you will never see a" Mitt for president" refigerator Magnet.

      1. sbj1964

        Yep,just one of those things Mormons don't want you to know about like magic underwear,Black people being cursed demons,Jesus & Satan being brothers,That when a good Mormon dies he will become a GOD with many Mormon wives who will have Mormon babies that will be sent back to earth from the Mormon home planet.

        1. Fare la Volpe

          Getting Mormons confused with the Insane Clown Posse is a very easy mistake. After all, both have a rabid cult following among the dregs of society and if left to their own devices would descend into an orgiastic lump of awkward virginal sex.

          1. sbj1964

            See: YouTube,"The cartoon banned by the Mormon church".Written by an ex Mormon who was denied access to the inner sanctum teaching of this cult.He exposed the true teaching of the Church because of their racist doctrines.

          2. Biel_ze_Bubba

            Ummm… how does someone "denied access to the inner sanctum" go on to "expose the true teaching"?

            Just asking the question that is there.

  14. Chow Yun Flat

    So Lanny Davis or Danny Lavis or whatever he is calling himself these days thinks that Romney's tax returns were done by Mooslim terrorists to cover up 9/11.

    Makes perfect sense in a Lanny Davis universe.

  15. pinkocommi

    Wonder whether Romney deducts the costs of his horse when calculating his income for tithes to the Mormon church?

  16. kakotechnia

    When we see "Sad that some western nations are accusing Syria of war crimes without the facts. Isn't that the same as calling Obama a secret Muslim?" we'll know that Lanny Davis just picked up an exciting new client. @CoryBooker.

  17. MissTaken

    Sad that some Dems suggest Romney doing something illegal on tax returns without facts.

    You know how the Dems could get the facts? By seeing the tax returns.

  18. DrunkIrishman

    I am so sick of the Clinton-era Democrats doing everything they can do undermine the President. These fools, from Davis to Rendell, to the former President himself, need to just shut the fuck up.

    Who's the next gasbag to come out from that era to assault Democrats – Terry McAuliffe? James Carville? Mark F'n Penn?!?

    1. pdiddycornchips

      A purge is in order. Followed by burning heretics at the stake. This is no way to treat the messiah.

    2. bobbert

      Now, I'll grant you that Bubba did say some nicey-nice things about private equity (and so has the President), but he has called for Rmoney to release at least ten years worth of returns, and has even remarked how not releasing them implies that what they contain must be pretty unflattering.

    3. HarryButtle

      The reason I favored Hopey over Hillary during the primaries is because I thought Bill's cronies would fuck up a Hillary presidency. So, we elect Barack and what's he do? He invites all of Bill's cronies to come in and fuck up his presidency.

      1. DrunkIrishman

        Bizarre. I see Obama's administration as trying to undo all the shit Clinton fucked up in the first place.

        1. HarryButtle

          Maybe after the bitterness of the primaries, Obama felt obligated to extend an olive branch to the Clinton camp. Maybe these are really the people he wants advising him. I think politically, Obama and Bill are very similar. I just expected a little more new blood.

          Not that it would have mattered with the Republicans having totally lost their fucking minds. But a few younger, more liberal voices might have helped keep the youngs and the left wing of the party on board and excited.

          1. DrunkIrishman

            I wanted some new guys. But it's not a surprise. Carter did what you're wishing Obama did when he became president and it backfired big-time. He relied on a great deal of individuals who had no experience in Washington, or understanding of working with Congress, and it backfired badly.

            I understand your frustration, though. But you also have to remember that Clinton is the last Democratic president, therefore, it isn't a surprise, for experience on everything ranging from policy to legislation, he leaned more on those who were involved in the Clinton administration. He couldn't reach all the way back to Carter's administration, or LBJ's, because they'd either be too old or dead. So, they kind of win by default.

            But I still think Obama has worked like hell to undo a great deal of what Clinton did during his eight years – from deregulating Wall Street, to imposing DOMA and signing DADT.

  19. Callyson

    “did Dems have a chance to get a sensible tax reform effort signed in 06-08 or even to close all tax loopholes with a Republican in the White House? We didn’t (have a chance) – and we should have (had a Democratic president.)”

    /fixed

    /moran

  20. ttommyunger

    Lanny Davis, Michele Bachmann and Joe McCarthy. Wow! Three wrinkled, pee-crusted cunts crammed into one tweet, but only one of them is dead…..I haz a sad.

  21. SayItWithWookies

    Of course they're equivalent things, this saying Mitt Romney has something to hide because he hasn't released a single full year of his tax returns (since he hasn't released the IRS forms disclosing what's in his offshore bank accounts for 2010 and only an estimate of his 2011 returns) and Michele Bachmann's thing she read in a book somewhere about Huma Abedin's father's uncle's friend giving money to the Muslim Brotherhood decades ago. Until I find out more, I'm not voting for either of them to be president.

  22. sullivanst

    The thing about Mittens' tax returns is, Ann Romney has basically acknowledged that they're not releasing them because he has something to hide.

      1. sullivanst

        Of course, the media decided instead the story from that appearance wasn't the answer that he won't release more returns because "there will be so many things that will be open again for more attack", it was whether or not she said the "you" in "you people" (definitely at least another "blah people" moment).

  23. Guppy

    Granted, most of my political information comes through the lens of Wonkett (I is informed voter!), but I can't recall much noise being made about Romney doing illegal things on his IRS filings; rather, the things Romney did on his IRS filings should be illegal. The "possible felon" talk is more with respect to his SEC filings, and it's far more likely that Romney was simply lying through his teeth on the campaign trail than in those filings, something else that is perfectly legal.

    So… what happens when you combine a straw man and false equivalency?

    1. sullivanst

      Romney's issue on the "possible felon" front is that his FEC filings say what he says on the campaign trail, only above his signature and under threat of perjury.

      1. Guppy

        If there's anything we've learned in the past decade or so, it's that the FEC doesn't mean jack shit.

        1. sullivanst

          Indeed it doesn't. Because the electoral process has nothing to do with freedumb. Thank you for that, Justice Kennedy, and your fellow Republican-appointed knuckledraggers.

  24. HarryButtle

    No, no it isn't the same at all, Lanny. You. Fucking. Tool.

    You know, with spokesdouches like this, it's really no wonder that liberalism/progressivism is failing. Thanks, Bill. (And that goes for Larry Summers and Timmy Geitner, too!)

  25. TheGyrus

    'Isn't asking your opponent to provide their tax returns the same as inventing a tape in which you opponent's wife calls people "whitey"?'

  26. Beowoof

    With Ann admitting on ABC the other morning that the returns would be damaging politically, I think that is enough for me to conclude that Mitt may have paid no tax in some of those years or he pressed out into some gray areas of the tax law that would open him to criticism. Either way fuck Mitt and Lanny.

  27. An_Outhouse

    Are commenters suggesting that Lanny Davis is an immoral hack who should be in jail because he takes money from dictators in order polish their images' in America just like people who have moved their money to credit unions because they do not want to support the banks' unethical business practices? Yes, Lanny Davis and the bank managers should all be shamed, shunned, and imprisoned.

  28. Fraudulently_Joe

    Well, let's see:

    Mittensbot was accused of lying because he's saying something today that directly contradicts something he said on legal forms ten years ago, and Huma Abedin was accused of lying because the fact that she has a security clearance directly contradicts several right-wing congresspeople's bigoted assumption that all Muslims are terrorists.

    So, let's say they're a *little* different.

  29. LetUsBray

    Isn't Lanny Davis' dumb-assed false equivalency the same thing as the Emperor Claudius' wife Messalina winning a fucking contest against an actual professional whore?

  30. mwittier

    Godwin's Law 2: any reference to googly eyes, reprehensibly irresponsible claims, batshittery of the highest order, and/or butt-wiggly husbands will invoke the specter of Michele Bachman, regardless of context.

    Sorry, Adolf: you're old news.

  31. DahBoner

    If you want to shutup someone who says taxes are "too high", just ask them how low they need to be in order for them to be happy?

    SILENCE BEAUTIFUL SILENCE

  32. FlownOver

    Sorry for an OT, but it's late enough on a Friday to get royally pissed off. I've had to re-login every time I've visited Our Holy Wonket today, and the assholes at Intense Debate have completely shut down their email support until next week. Can't even send them a question, much less get an answer.

    WTF? If they're going for a "r€tªard defense" in Texas I have bad news for them.

  33. DemmeFatale

    Speaking of false equivalencies, Lanny is NOT the equivalent of Bill and Hillary!

    Thank you, Wonkette, for your TWEETS OF FIRE!
    Does this mean we're gonna be a WARBLOG??

  34. Larry McAwful

    I don't see anything wrong with what Mr. Davis said. Of course, I can't concentrate properly on his comments, in light of how upset I am when that World War II vet bitched me out when I told him about how that paper cut I got last week was worse than the Bataan Death March. So maybe I'm still a little unclear here.

  35. TribecaMike

    Mark Halperin of Time magazine was saying pretty much the same thing on New York City public radio this morning. These folks won't be happy until their poster boy Harold Ford, Jr. is elected to something.

  36. bobbert

    I have said before that, having lived through Nixon and Reagan and Bush1, I believed in the necessity of the DLC in 1992, and I still believe it was necessary. It was crucial that we elect a Democratic President — even a centrist triangulator — to at least interrupt things. (Remember, GHWB gave us Clarence Thomas, Clinton gave us Ginsburg and Breyer). Running more-or-less liberals was not working.

    As 2004 showed us, even a slightly-liberal bona fide war hero couldn't pull it off. Our current President is a brilliant and admirable person, with the patience and tenacity of a saint, but he is only a "liberal" in the minds of those who also think he's Muslim.

    So I freely confess that I believe — given the political reality of the US — that it is necessary for our Presidential candidates to be centrist-ish, so they can fucking get elected. But (and here I evidently differ from, say, Lanny Davis) this kind of "centrism" should be a strategic decision, not a fucking religion of self-flagellation. The whole fucking point of the centrism is to win the goddamn election. If your opponent sets something up on the T-ball tee, hit the fuck out of it.

    Lanny Davis is not an elected official, or, really, a politician. He is a "political operative". He is confusing strategy and tactics. In my fantasy world, Bill and Hil get him on a conference call and tell him in two-part harmony to shut the fuck up.

  37. barto

    Sad that concern trolls like Lanny Davis make money being concern trolls. Happy that he provides ample material for good Wonka-skewers.

  38. AncienReggie

    There is a technical explanation for this: Lanny Davis is full of shit.

    Maybe Lanny thinks progressives aren't pissed at Congress for being thoroughly corrupted dirtbags who dare not piss off their moneyed patrons? Maybe Lanny thinks we're all down with the whole Senate-paralyzed-by-fake-fillibusters thing? Maybe Lanny thinks … fuck it. I don't care what Lanny thinks. Mitt Romney and all his crowd should be tarred and feathered for looting our country, profiting from off-shoring jobs and taking advantage of tax loopholes they fucking demanded and got from their tame congresspersons while leaving the rest of us to carry this goddamned benighted nation on our ragged ex-middle class backs.

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