Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cindy McCain Taxes in Spotlight

Newsweek reports that Cindy McCain, the wife of the GOP standard-bearer, defaulted on property-tax payments on a Southern California oceanfront condominium.

There's lots of outrage over this across
the leftosphere, but Captain Ed has applied his cool reasoning to the issue:

Cindy McCain keeps her finances completely separate from those of her husband in accordance with a pre-nuptial agreement. At her own expense, she set up a trust to house her elderly aunt in a La Jolla condo, which (being from SoCal myself) I can assure readers is a pretty generous gesture. Like most people, she arranged to have property taxes through a third party; most of us have an escrow company making the payments through the mortgage bills, while she had the trust do it. Unfortunately, the trust gave the county the wrong address and didn’t receive the bills to pay them, and didn’t follow up. Since Mrs. McCain doesn’t live at the property, she didn’t know a problem existed.

McCain’s opponents want to compare this to Al Franken and his serial tax problems in as many as twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, there are very important differences:

  • Al Franken is the candidate, and Cindy McCain is not
  • Franken actually ran the business that was supposed to pay the taxes, acting as CEO and COO
  • Franken has campaigned on the issue of CEO responsibilities and legal compliance

I have no problem with people criticizing Cindy McCain for anything she says or does on the campaign trail. That’s fair game, as it is with Michelle Obama. Anything else seems like really weak tea, just as I wrote when people began tearing Mrs. Obama’s college thesis apart. Cackling with glee over an error made by a trust that serves to keep a relative in comfort in her last years seems a lot worse than the actual mistake itself.

This is actually one of those stories just designed to provoke a left-wing backlash.

I saw the story breaking last night at
HuffPo, and didn't reall think much of it, except for noting how this will be scandal-fodder for today's blog wars.

But the Newsweek story is pretty straightforward, and reading through the piece carefully, like Captain Ed does, reveals more a case of miscommunication than malfeasance.

Indeed, reading
some of the leftist outrage, one gets the feeling reason has been jettisoned in the haste to unsheath the knives.