Taxing issues include Akin's insulting mouth
The Kansas City Star
Just after winning the U.S. Senate primary on Aug. 7, Republican U.S. Rep. Todd Akin uttered his infamous pseudo-science theory that “legitimate rape” victims had a secret way of avoiding pregnancy. The state’s GOP establishment appropriately bolted for the exits, piling on their disavowals and disapproval.
But by this week, when Akin made it clear he was in the race for keeps, the opposition within the party began to shapeshift. Who says Republicans are inflexible?
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is back, at low political risk, given that he’s not up for election this year. So is retired U.S. Sen. Kit Bond. Failed presidential contenders Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are in. And Sen. Jim DeMint might be in with some big bucks, now that Akin has flipped on his past pro-earmarks position, a flip that already prompted an ethics complaint by Democrats alleging pay for play.
At least the elder statesman of Missouri politics, former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth, is sticking with his opposition, arguing the party can’t bear the burden of Akin’s offensive speech. Little did he know that the next day Akin would manage to offend more women by suggesting Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s debating chops aren’t very “ladylike.” In 2012, smart women smart at such dated terms.
That leaves McCaskill with her dream, ever-more-damaged opponent, ensuring that political science students will be studying this campaign long into the future.
Ho-hum about Congress
With redistricting stacked heavily in favor of incumbents, area U.S. House races are largely a snooze.
Kevin Yoder in Kansas does not even have a major opponent; Democrats left that part of the ballot naked, so to speak, in the primary.
Emanuel Cleaver in Missouri already has defeated his opponent, Republican Jacob Turk, three times in a row.
And Sam Graves in Missouri is trying to win his seventh term against — please wait while we look it up — Democrat Kyle Yarber.
So far, the only local congressional race generating much attention is the feisty 4th District contest in Missouri.
Incumbent Vicky Hartzler is battling Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensley. Hartzler is a Republican with ultra-conservative views, someone who’s made little impression in her first term in office after unseating well-respected Ike Skelton in the 2010 GOP takeover of the House. Hensley, a Democrat, is aggressive on the campaign trail and has raised almost $500,000, about half of Hartzler’s total. Fortunately, two women are giving us a race to follow, so far uncursed by “ladylike” barbs.
Voting gets going
When it comes to the Obama vs. Romney contest, a small number of Americans in Missouri and other states have done more than just made up their minds.
They’ve already voted.
Almost 20,000 ballots had been cast by the end of this week in states where early voting has started. In Missouri, absentee ballots could be requested beginning last Tuesday; advance voting starts Oct. 17 in Kansas.
The number of votes cast before Nov. 6 will increase substantially as the days roll on. In the 2008 presidential election, about 30 percent of Americans had filled out their ballots before Election Day.
No wonder attack ads from the presidential candidates and their supporters are polluting the airwaves right now.
They’re shaping the election’s outcome weeks before many people even march to the polls.
Taxes loom large as an election issue in the political fracas this fall.
Democrats tend to favor a mix of increased tax revenue and spending cuts. Republicans tend to favor spending cuts and lower taxes.
President Barack Obama has advocated higher taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year.
Republican Mitt Romney has pledged to cut marginal rates by 20 percent and eliminate some unspecified deductions and loopholes.
The Bush-era tax breaks end on Dec. 31, unless Congress acts before then. A break for individuals on Social Security taxes during the last two years also is set to expire.
What do you think is the best course?
Let the Bush tax cuts expire, allowing the highest tax rate to return to 39.6 percent.
Raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000, but keep middle class taxes stable.
Cut marginal tax rates by 20 percent and eliminate most deductions and loopholes, possibly including home mortgage and charitable giving.
Punt again, given the fragile economy. Maintain Bush tax cuts for another year and extend the break on Social Security taxes.
Here is the link to the poll and where to place your comments.