Gail Collins

Mitt Romney has decided that light bulbs represent liberalism's soft underbelly. Actually, they don't. The replacement of incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient alternatives is at best a minor inconvenience. (My only complaint is that I can't yet find any three-way light bulbs at my supermarket, though apparently three-way CFLs do exist and can be purchased on Amazon.) And as multiple sources have pointed out, Romney is quite wrong to blame this on "Obama's regulators" because the law mandating the change was signed into law by President George W.

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The day started badly for Mitt Romney, as he saw even his trusted surrogate Chris Christie urge him on national television to release his tax returns. Yet to the rescue has ridden an even more influential voice, making the National Greatness argument for withholding the returns, which comes down to arguing that it is somehow TMI, almost akin to an unwanted-glimpse of a naked limb, for us to learn that Romney pays only 15 percent in federal income taxes.

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The $10,000 Question

Why in the world would the unflappable Mitt Romney allow himself to be provoked by a has-been rival into making a remark that only serves to remind voters that, at a time of mounting concern about gaping income inequality, he is a member of the one-hundredth of one percent? Well, maybe because...he's not so unflappable. I realize some readers are having a hard time accepting the fact that Mitt Romney is not the robot that conventional wisdom has decided he is. But in the span of 10 days, we've had him acting exceedingly thin-skinned in an interview with Bret Baier, and now this.

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Mortal Coil

Consider the following reactions to the tragic shooting in Tucson: First, President Barack Obama’s speech got rave reviews (“magic,” New York Times columnist Gail Collins called it), even though, by the standards, say, of Bill Clinton’s Oklahoma City address, it was pretty humdrum, especially during those times when the president was trying to draw lessons from the tragedy rather than eulogizing its victims.

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New York Times political analyst Matt Bai has a story today about right-wingers who favor repealing the 17th Amendment, which requires the direct election of Senators.

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Yesterday Congress held hearings on a bill to prevent people on the terrorism watch list from purchasing guns. This is actually a highly controversial bill. Dana Milbank and Gail Collins were on hand to make Lindsey Graham look ridiculous. Milbank: "If society decides that these people are too dangerous to get on an airplane with other people, then it's probably appropriate to look very hard before you let them buy a gun," countered Bloomberg. "But we're talking about a constitutional right here," Graham went on.

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David Brooks, chatting with Gail Collins, defends the Bush administration: It’s true the prescription drug bill was unpaid for, though I would mention the market elements in that reform have proven to be fantastically successful. Beyond that (and the small matter of the tax cuts, which Republicans are not complaining about) his administration was reasonably tight on spending.

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Gail Collins semi-endorses, and adds detail to, my Lieberman's-not-very-bright theory: Other than that, my favorite explanation comes from Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, who theorized that Lieberman was able to go from Guy Who Wants to Expand Medicare to Guy Who Would Rather Kill Health Care Than Expand Medicare because he “isn’t actually all that smart.” It’s certainly easier to leap from one position to its total opposite if you never understood your original stance in the first place, and I am thinking Chait’s theory could get some traction.

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Gail Collins semi-endorses, and adds detail to, my Lieberman's-not-very-bright theory: Other than that, my favorite explanation comes from Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, who theorized that Lieberman was able to go from Guy Who Wants to Expand Medicare to Guy Who Would Rather Kill Health Care Than Expand Medicare because he “isn’t actually all that smart.” It’s certainly easier to leap from one position to its total opposite if you never understood your original stance in the first place, and I am thinking Chait’s theory could get some traction.

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Today Gail Collins writes one of those psychobabbly, pop culture-riffing political columns I know I'm supposed to hate, but it's actually very, very good. The best part: Obviously, Obama doesn’t share Wright’s racial paranoia. But the saga does play into Hillary Clinton’s most powerful argument: that he is not seasoned enough to be elected president. By seasoned, she actually means hardened by the soul-searing fires of humiliation and defeat.

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