When he first ran for president, Barack Obama’s main qualification seemed to be that he had written two memoirs by age 45. This was not the jeer of enemies — Obama himself said that his very biography would improve America’s standing in the world. In November 2007, he told New Hampshire Public Radio: “I truly believe that the day I’m inaugurated, not only the country looks at itself differently, but the world looks at America differently. . . . If I’m reaching out to the Muslim world they understand that I’ve lived in a Muslim country and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view. . . . I’m intimately concerned with what happens in these countries and the cultures and perspective these folks have. And those are powerful tools for us to be able to reach out to the world.” Recent events sadly confirm that the jihadis of the world hate America because it is a refutation of and a potential roadblock to their medieval totalitarian worldview, and they don’t care whether Barack Obama’s middle name is “Hussein” or “Hymie.”
The news about Mitt Romney’s taxes is that there is no news about Mitt Romney’s taxes. His recently released summary reveals that most of his income is from long-term capital gains, which are taxed at the long-term-capital-gains rate, and that he gives away millions of dollars to charity, which reduces his taxable income — i.e., exactly what everybody already knew. The predictable result is that his tax rate in a typical year is just under the 15 percent capital-gains rate. The only odd thing is that Romney chose not to take some of his charitable-donation deductions one year in order to increase his tax bill — because he apparently feels the need to defend himself against accusations of selfishness resulting from his giving away millions and millions of dollars to good causes. President Obama likes to talk about compassion; based on their charitable donations, Mitt Romney is 50 percent more compassionate than the president, whose entire career is a reminder that talk is indeed cheap.