This will not be another column talking about how Romney should accede to Democrat demands to release even more of his tax records, even though he’s already released what’s required, and released the same as McCain, and several other presidents (and candidates) from both sides of the aisle. And I won’t be chiding Romney for missing the bigger point politically, as so many on the right have noted, that he could put all of this behind him, and move on to other issues, just by releasing these records.
To be honest, I think Mitt Romney’s move here could prove to be political brilliance. Let’s not forget, Romney has been thoroughly vetted throughout his career, he’s not some street activist turned politician with no record to run on; he’s headed the Olympics, several major companies, and was actually voted into the office of governor by some of the most liberal citizens in the nation.
The press has pretty universally derided Senator Reid’s unsubstantiated claims of tax evasion, and no one is credibly claiming that Romney did anything at all illegal or even questionable. Everyone, for the most part, acknowledges that the only reason the Obama campaign is demanding the release of Romney’s taxes, is to try and obtain more details on Romney’s offshore accounts, in order to further cast him as the “rich and out of touch” guy.
But let’s take a step back for a moment. It was Obama who ran with the promise of being the most transparent president in history. The same Barack Obama who, although I don’t doubt is a natural born citizen (whatever that actually even means), spent millions on legal fees hiding all manner of records concerning his education, and of all things, his birth certificate. And that’s not even talking about his record in office. Quoting Jennifer Rubin’s recent opinion piece in The Washington Post:
In fact, the mainstream media has been slow to ‘fess up about the atrocious lack of transparency from an administration that promised to put health-care negotiations on C-SPAN and legislation online before voting for it. This administration has egregiously asserted fake executive privilege claims and refused to answer basic questions about scandals (Fast and Furious, the Egyptian terrorist in the White House). It has kept visitor logs from the public and stonewalled the media.
So what we have here is a president, sitting on 8.3% unemployment, up .1% in the last reading, due to an ever-shrinking workforce, a president who truly does believe in the unAmerican concept of spreading the wealth around, because he believes that the wealthy weren’t totally deserving of their wealth in the first place thanks to the greatness of government services (which of course are by and large paid for by these same wealthy), and believes forwarding such policies will somehow help the economy.
This is a man who ran on transparency and has been anything but; and in the face of that is demanding more than the normal set of tax records from others purely for partisan gains and fodder for his increasingly negative ad campaign. Not to mention all that stuff about changing the politics of Washington and doing things differently, and all of that other hokum we were fed in 2008. The hypocrisy for those of us who are not died-in-the-wool Obama sycophants, is plainly astonishing.
Romney’s positioned himself well to counterattack, but he now needs to pull the trigger, by demanding the release of details on health care negotiations, Fast and Furious, and of course visitor logs. There may not be anything criminal or even unpalatable in any of these documents, but that doesn’t matter; in the great tradition of Democrat political warfare, Romney need only keep asking for the release, the lack of which would prove to be Obama’s burden to shoulder. After all, I suspect most voters care less about what Romney legally did with his money, than what Obama may have done with the voters’ money, and to ill effect, as our current economic situation proves.
The only question is, does the Romney campaign have the cojones to do it?