Rancho Santa Fe’s Phil Mickelson landed in a gnarly political hazard a few weeks ago when he said he might be making some major changes due to recent increases in state and national tax rates—increases that specifically target rich folks like him.
The mavens of permissible public discourse immediately descended on Lefty for these “insensitive” remarks. This feeding frenzy produced a couple of quick mea culpas from Mickelson for exercising the freedom of speech that’s employed in intolerant spades by celebrities whose ideas mirror those of President Obama and his adoring media gallery.
Mickelson noted in his two recovery attempts that he shouldn’t have used his golf fame as a forum for airing thoughts about his “personal” economic situation. He also issued an apology to those who might have found his remarks “insensitive”—such as “people who are not able to find a job” or those “struggling paycheck to paycheck.”
Since Phil’s originally unscripted comments included the figures 62 and 63 percent, CNN and CNBC dutifully published articles designed to discredit Mickelson’s math and to assure the nation’s tax-the-rich entitlement crowd that the golfer was “only” paying about half his income to various governments. The exact percentage depended, one piece speculated, on the skill of his tax accountant and the amount Mickelson donates to charity.
It speaks volumes about the mindset of this analyst that Mickelson’s substantial generosity would be employed against him and that those funds would be placed on the golfer’s side of the accounting ledger simply because they aren’t dispersed by the duffers in Sacramento and Washington D.C. By this reasoning Mickelson could keep most of his money—as long as he gives it away.
Significantly, no major repercussions ensued when Chris Rock and scores of other celebrities thoroughly trashed former President Bush or employed their professional forums to lionize Mr. Obama. Similarly, Alec Baldwin received much less grief in 1998 for passionately “kidding” about “stoning” GOP Rep. Henry Hyde “and his family” than Clint Eastwood encountered last year for his comic anti-Obama performance at the Republican national convention. Indeed, Baldwin is now the commercial spokesman for Capital One.
Clearly Mickelson’s tax comments were closer to the middle of the fairway than the outrageous political hooks and slices regularly proffered by leftwing celebs.
It’s uncertain if Mickelson will follow the advice of Texas governor Rick Perry and the example of Tiger Woods and move to a state that doesn’t practice the politics of envy or hold rich folks responsible for the economic distress of others. What’s obvious is that mainstream media will severely penalize any public figure who doesn’t meekly accept Gov. Brown’s and President Obama’s dubious economic club selections.