When The Washington Post posed this question this morning on Twitter:
What do John Edwards and Newt Gingrich have in common?
I thought the answer was obvious, and shared it:
Ummm… Both won SC, but not much else?
Of course, that’s not exactly what the Post had in mind. This is what they were thinking:
Senate Democrats plan to consider a measure Tuesday that would extend lower interest rates for some federally subsidized college loans and pay for the extension by ending tax breaks for firms with three or fewer shareholders — commonly referred to as “S-corporations.”
Democrats call these types of tax breaks the “Newt Gingrich/John Edwards loophole,” because both former politicians took advantage of a federal tax law that allows those with high incomes to avoid paying Medicare payroll taxes on earnings by establishing S-corporations and treating only a portion of their total earnings as taxable wages…
Later, Cindi Scoppe (my mind is blown by the fact that Cindi is now on Twitter) weighed in with another answer, from the NYT’s Frank Bruni:
Gingrich and Edwards belong to different parties but are beholden to similar demons, and they have a whole lot more in common than a bounty of hair — white in the Republican’s case, brown in the Democrat’s. They’re the salt and pepper of outsize egos in presidential politics.
And to look at the two of them together, which their recent convergence in the news and on the map encouraged, is to confront some unsettling truths about a kind of person too frequently drawn to high-level office and about traits that often abet his rise and then seal his fall.
Beware the extreme narcissist. Although he may radiate a seductive confidence, he can justify and forgive himself for just about anything, given his belief in his own exalted purpose. He’ll lose sense of the line between boldness and recklessness. And he’ll quit the stage reluctantly, because he can’t bear not to occupy the very center of it…
So I guess the bottom line is that they have a lot in common.