Billionaire investor Warren Buffett and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren don’t have a lot in common, other than the facts that both are very knowledgeable in financial matters and both are supporters of President Barack Obama.
Now, you can add one more item to the list — both are being made victims of attacks that go beyond just politics as normal.
In what is being referred to as “Buffett Birtherism,” Republicans who were unhappy with Buffett’s advocacy of raising the tax rate on income earned via investments and dividends started a movement to demand that the Berkshire Hathaway owner turn over his own tax returns for scrutiny. It’s not exactly clear what the point of the request was — was it to see if he really paid a lower percentage of his income in taxes than his secretary, or to see if he was in some way scamming the system so a complaint could be filed? Or is it just that in general, the GOP likes to make demands on people’s privacy as their way of chastising them and bullying them for speaking out on something they oppose?
The gimmick didn’t really work, though, since Buffett had already made his tax returns available last month on a political talk show.
Still, it’s the same sort of bullying that is occurring in Massachusetts, where the local Republican party is trying to interfere with Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s day job as a professor at Harvard. The GOP has started a campaign to demand the university no longer pay Warren as long as she is running for office, claiming that allowing her to draw a salary is an official endorsement of her campaign by the school. The Republicans call it “subsidizing her campaign,” apparently applying the same logic that they apply when they say Planned Parenthoods have to be defunded because any tax dollar that goes to reproductive care and family planning frees up a dollar for abortions.
Pretty ironic when you consider their undying support for a Republican Senator who used his own business to self-fund his Wisconsin race in 2010.
But that’s the double standard bullies always employ, isn’t it?
Photo credit: Pete Sousa