If there’s one thing rich people hate more than paying taxes on their wealth it’s having to disclose how much taxes they paid on their wealth. Then there’s Mitt Romney. When he isn’t offshoring his money in Swiss bank accounts and $30 million in the Cayman Islands, he’s trying to share as little information as possible with the public.
At least he tried to before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid laid a trap and Mittens blindly stepped into it. Reid has come up with a legitimate question that Romney doesn’t want to respond to, but he can’t ignore.
There are often impertinent and unnecessary questions put to a candidate during a presidential campaign, but calling upon them to release their tax returns isn’t one of them. Maybe “boxer or briefs” qualifies.
But a presidential campaign is a game of hardball, not softball, and the longer Romney dallies and harrumphs, the more Reid’s “what’s Mitt’s hiding?” gambit puts him on the defensive.
“There is a controversy because the Republican presidential nominee, Governor Mitt Romney, refuses to release his tax returns. As I said before, I was told by an extremely credible source that Romney has not paid taxes for ten years. People who make as much money as Mitt Romney have many tricks at their disposal to avoid paying taxes. We already know that Romney has exploited many of these loopholes, stashing his money in secret, overseas accounts in places like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.
“Last weekend, Governor Romney promised that he would check his tax returns and let the American people know whether he ever paid a rate lower than 13.9 percent. One day later, his campaign raced to say he had no intention of putting out any further information.
“When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it’s his obligation to put up, and release several years’ worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have done for decades.
“It’s clear Romney is hiding something, and the American people deserve to know what it is. Whatever Romney’s hiding probably speaks volumes about how he would approach issues that directly impact middle-class families, like tax reform and the economy. When you are running for president, you should be an open book.
“I understand Romney is concerned that many people, Democrats and Republicans, have called on him to release his tax returns. He has so far refused. There is only one thing he can do to clear this up, and that’s release his tax returns.”
Republicans don’t consider Romney’s tax returns a legitimate issue and don’t consider Romney’s time at Bain Capital a legitimate issue and don’t consider Romney’s one-term as governor a legitimate issue.
What do they consider a legitimate issue? Solyndra and “you didn’t build that.”
Can you imagine the how loud the howls of outrage would be from Republicans if Obama said his tax returns were none of their business?
The best way for Mitt to shut Reid’s yap would be to release his tax returns. If he’s got nothing to hide, he’s got nothing to worry about.
John Kerry chose to ignore the Swift boat allegations and by time he got around to responding to them, they had done serious damage to his campaign. Obama has learned the even a deliberate misquote such as “You didn’t build that” can corrode even the most efficient political machine if you don’t counter its acidic effects.
Hunter S. Thompson tells a tale of how to make a politician deny in Fear and Loathing On the Campaign Trail:
Lyndon Johnson first got elected to Congress in 1948 when his opponent was a wealthy and politically favoured pig farmer: ‘Lyndon was running about 10 points behind, with only nine days to go… He was sunk in despair. He was desperate… he called his equally depressed campaign manager and instructed him to call a press conference at two or two-thirty ( just after lunch on a slow news day) and accuse his high-riding opponent (the pig farmer) of having routine carnal knowledge of his barnyard sows, despite the pleas of his wife and children… His campaign manager was shocked. ‘We can’t say that, Lyndon,’ he said. ‘It’s not true.’ ‘Of course it’s not,’ Johnson barked at him, ‘but let’s make the bastard deny it.’
Is Harry Reid calling Mitt Romney a pig fucker? Nope. He’s implying Mitt is a tax cheat and Americans hate tax cheats even more than pig fuckers.
Is it dirty, lowball, gutter politics? Hell, yes it is and that’s why Reid is doing it instead of the White House. They don’t want the stink of the shit Reid is flinging on them, but they aren’t displeased to look at Mitt and say, “Hey, that guy’s got shit all over him.”
There is a calculated political advantage in making the bastard deny it and Reid is simply playing on Mitt’s egotistical practice of concealing his wealth.
It’s customary, not mandatory for presidential candidates to release their returns. Mittens wants to be treated differently because…well… just because…he’s Mitt! So there!
Tax returns? I don’t got to show you no steenkin’ tax returns!
The burden of proof is on Romney to show Reid is a liar. His “I know nothing” act won’t wash. The longer he delays releasing his tax returns the more it looks like he’s got something to hide. We already know Mittens likes offshoring his money in accounts in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. If anything he needs to be more forthcoming with his taxes, not less.
During the primaries, one of the few things Newt Gingrich got right when he said, “I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.”
Mitt might be the first. If he’s allowed to him get away with it.
- Harry Reid Turns Put Up or Shut Up Challenge Into Romney’s Worst Nightmare (politicususa.com)
- Harry Reid Goes All-In On His Theory About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns (businessinsider.com)
- Taxes or tithing? Did Romney shortchange the Mormon Church? (blogforarizona.com)