Petty political attacks aren't a big deal in-and-of themselves. They go both ways, and sometimes they're funny. But this week alone I've come across a couple that just knock my socks off. First, there was the "Obama doesn't mention God on Thanksgiving" hullabaloo on Fox. (*Check out Jon Stewart's reaction to that below.) And then, a conservative friend of mine named Derek called my attention to this one: "Another Gaffe? Obama Calls British Embassy ‘English’ Embassy" Derek actually called me out for not posting it to my status on Facebook, as though I was too ashamed to share it. Quite the opposite. As I told Derek, this is a great illustration of just how petty the Right has become. Now, like I said, the pettiness goes both ways at times, but the context is important here. This is the kind of ridiculous criticism of the President that's coming out of the Right at the exact same time that congressional Republicans are shooting down legislation to create thousands of good jobs for Americans. Moreover, the proposed jobs bills are actually paid for, something the modern Republican party likes to preach but hasn't practiced in my lifetime. So what's their beef? The bills would raise taxes by a couple percentage points on people who earn more than a million dollars a year. Note, this is on their income. It cannot make rich people poor, because it is only calculated on the next MILLION dollars they make. (Oops. I got that wrong. It's actually even less than that. Millionaires would not pay an added two percent on their income, only on their income after the first million dollars. In other words, 1st million at current, historically low rates, 2nd and 3rd million at rates still lower than they were under Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. Oh, and since the jobs bill was broken up, this portion is the part that provides a payroll tax holiday for working people. Historically, Republicans have treated any vote against cutting taxes as a tax hike. If that's the case, then they are refusing to hike taxes on millionaires but, by their logic, are hiking taxes on everybody else. Where does Grover Norquist stand on that?)

Ah, the Republicans tell us, but that will prevent these wealthy people from giving the rest of us jobs. Well, they haven't been doing that when they are making a million dollars. Why is it assumed they would stop doing what they aren't doing because they're miffed about a small tax increase? Isn't it possible that, if the rest of us do better, then buy products from the companies owned by the rich, making them a heck of a lot richer, they'll create more jobs than if they dodge a tiny tax increase?

Republicans love to toss around the word "entitlement" to criticize people who expect to receive benefits like Medicare and Social Security which they have paid for through through their taxes during a lifetime of work. They also like to vilify any attempt by the government to "pick winners and losers." Well guess what, folks: tax breaks for the rich are government handouts just as much as welfare checks, and they cost the rest of us a lot more than keeping a family from starving to death. Choosing to line the pockets of millionaires rather than creating more positions for firefighters and police officers is "picking winners and losers." Anybody who gives this even a few seconds thought can see that.

So the Republicans are trying to make sure you don't give it a couple seconds thought. They'd much rather you count the number of times the President mentions God, or laugh at him for mixing up "British" and "English."

Petty political pot-shots are fun, especially when they are funny. But in this case, they're not only lame, but obvious distractions meant to focus our attention away from what the Republicans are actually trying to do to those of us who don't make a million dollars a-

*Jon Stewart on the "Much Ado About Stuffing" scandal:

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