Paris Hilton Loses Bulk of Expected Inheritance


Paris Hilton is might not inherit as much money as she expected as The Telegraph report that her grandfather has decided to donate 97% of his fortune to charity:

Barron Hilton, 80, whose father Conrad founded the Hilton Hotel chain in 1919, will donate most of his fortune to the Conrad N Hilton Foundation. Only three per cent – $69 million – will be left to his heirs…

Paris, who had stood to inherit an estimated $100 million, will now receive about $5 million after tax.

An inheritance of $5 million will allow someone to live an upper middle class lifestyle without further resources but will not provide for the lifestyle that Paris accustomed to. It is a good thing that she has other sources of income. She did earn $5.6 million last year, so we don’t have to worry about Paris.

Barron Hilton claims to have followed his father’s example but the story does present a contradiction here:

Mr Hilton, the chairman of the foundation, said he was “proud to follow my father’s example”. On his death, in 1979, Conrad Hilton left 97 per cent of his money to the foundation he had founded in 1944. But his son challenged the will and reached an accord dividing ownership of the shares with the foundation.

Perhaps Paris or other family members will decide to follow that example and challenge the will.

Ron Paul Might Be Excluded From New Hampshire Republican Debate

Ron Paul is currently not listed among those invited to paticipate in a Republican debate to be held prior to the New Hampshire primary. His campaign has issued the following statement:

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – According to the New Hampshire State Republican Party and an Associated Press report, Republican presidential candidate and Texas Congressman Ron Paul will be excluded from an upcoming forum of Republican candidates to be broadcast by Fox News on January 6, 2008.

“Given Ron Paul’s support in New Hampshire and his recent historic fundraising success, it is outrageous that Dr. Paul would be excluded,” said Ron Paul 2008 campaign chairman Kent Snyder. “Dr. Paul has consistently polled higher in New Hampshire than some of the other candidates who have been invited.”

Snyder continued, “Paul supporters should know that we are continuing to make inquiries with Fox News as to why they have apparently excluded Dr. Paul from this event.”

As expected Paul’s supporters are furious over this, but this is not a matter of whether one supports or opposes a particular candidate. Decisions on whether a candidate should be included at a debate should be based upon objective criteria and not one’s opinion of the candidate.

As the statement notes, Paul does sometimes poll better than some of the mainstream Republican candidates. Paul does have a real constituency, even if its size is probably exaggerated by the noise it makes on line. While the number of votes he can actually receive is questionable, he does have enough cash on hand to mount a campaign. As I noted recently, while I do not believe Paul has a chance win the Repubican nomination, he does have a chance to do as well as third place in Iowa considering that it is largely a two way race, and the influence of independents in New Hampshire could also help Paul do better than expected there.

While I do not believe Paul can win the nomination, and there is a chance he could also wind up doing much more poorly in the early states than they more optimistic scenarios I mention above, participation in debates should not be based upon predictions. If only those who are believed to have a chance to win are included, this risks becoming a self-fulfilling prediction. Whether a candidate can win should ultimately be decided by the voters who have the opportunity to see all the candidates.

If candidates were excluded based upon their perceived position in the horse race, Mike Huckabee would have been excluded from the early debates. It was largely because of being included in the debates that Huckabee went from single digits to becoming a leading contender as the social conservatives discovered a candidate who shared their views.

Ron Paul appeals to a different constituency than most current Republican voters, but his views are not necessarily out of line with historic conservative beliefs. I’ve often noted that Paul is far more a social conservative and paleoconservative than a libertarian but this also leaves open the possibility that he can still attract more Republican support. There is also a strong historic Republican tradition of opposing foreign intervention and presumably not every Republican has permanently moved to the neoconservative camp.

While it seems like the race has been going on forever, the first vote has not yet taken place and we should not assume that the rankings of the candidates is now frozen. Many voters do not make up their minds until the last minute and some might still be receptive to the arguments of candidates they have not yet considered. Regardless of what we think of Paul’s chances for success, Paul should be given the opportunity to take the case for his views before the Republican voters.

Update: There are now numerous reports on line, such as here, stating that it is untrue that Paul is being excluded.

Update II: It has been confirmed that Paul is being excluded.

The Hypocrisy of Edwards’ Attacks on Obama

I’ve long said that one of the defining characteristics of John Edwards is that he approaches politics like a trial lawyer arguing a case. To Edwards it is winning and not principles that matter, and on any given day he will say whatever he feels increases his chances of winning. Like a trial lawyer, he is perfectly capable of arguing the opposite position before different juries or groups.

In recent days Edwards, as well as many liberal bloggers, have been attacking Obama for his consideration of all viewpoints. Edwards charges Obama with living in “never-never land.”

“If he believes that, yes,” Edwards said. “It’s a little hard for me to tell sometimes based on the way he talks about this. I’ve heard him say he would give stakeholders a seat at the table. I assume he’s talking about oil companies, drug companies and insurance companies.”

Supporters of Edwards have picked up on this meme in the blogosphere, and Paul Krugman has repeatedly criticized Obama for being willing to negotiate with insurance companies, and for “his reluctance to stake out a clearly partisan position.”

Others have fortunately seen Obama’s strategy in a different light, realizing that Obama is far more likely to be able to achieve a consensus willing to consider change. Mark Schmitt has described how Obama can bring about change in The American Prospect. As Steve Benen summarized it, “In this sense, the ‘politics of hope’ isn’t about bringing everyone to the table to compromise; it’s about an effective rhetorical strategy to achieve a progressive result.” Should the Democrats lose their generic lead, Obama’s greater support among independents will give the Democrats a far greater chance at victory, especially as more voters realize that Edwards is no longer the moderate he campaigned as in the past.

If you want to see virtually any position on an issue you can generally find it by quoting John Edwards depending upon what point he wanted to make that day. Generally the opposite from Edwards’ current positions can be found by looking back at his brief and generally undistinguished career in the Senate. In this case we only need to go back to February to see how Edwards has changed his position on whether we should “bring everybody to the table” or whether arguing for this is something out of “never-never land.” In an interview with MyDD, Edwards took the opposition position from what he is taking today:

Singer: – also bringing in both corporations and labor and healthcare groups and doctors. Not getting into the specifics at all, but how do you see bringing in everyone so it’s not just an us versus them, because us versus them didn’t work in the past?

Edwards: I think you try to bring everybody to the table. You want their participation, you want to make the system work for everybody. I think there’s a difference between a healthcare plan that builds on the existing system but deals with some of its deficiencies and problems as opposed to a complete new way of doing healthcare in America. The latter will engender huge opposition. And it will engender a lot of just plain political opposition. If on the other hand you’re taking the system that exists, dealing with the problems with it, making sure everybody gets covered, it’s just much more likely to be achievable.

If you think that the Republican charges of flip-flopping against John Kerry and prior Democratic candidates was a problem in the general election campaigns, just wait and see what the right wing noise machine will do to John Edwards. In contrast to their smear campaign against Kerry there will be one major difference which will further help the Republicans: in Edwards’ case the charges will be accurate.