Stupid or Evil?
Life should be good for Mitt Romney, but the multi-multi-millionaire Republican just can’t seem to catch a break. Ever. After a brutal week and a half (on top of a brutal month and a half) that saw him called a “wimp,” “the American Borat,” and a racist for his dumbshit musings on Palestinian culture, Romney probably thought that his mittadventures abroad—meant to shore up his foreign policy gravitas—would at least win the booby prize of taking the spotlight off of his MIA tax returns….
It didn’t happen that way, did it?
I like the way Alternet’s Joshua Holland phrased it:
“Mitt Romney knows how to do a cost-benefit analysis, and he’s determined that it’s better to be dogged by reporters for failing to release his tax returns for the duration of the 2012 campaign than it is to make the documents public.”
On the other end of the spectrum, conservative pundit George Will made a similar observation on ABC’s This Week:
“The cost of not releasing the returns are clear. Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”
A “cost-benefit analysis,” I’d imagine is exactly how the MBAs in the Romney campaign looked at the situation. Anyone with even a remote interest in the matter knows that there has to be SOMETHING in those returns that is so toxic, so damaging to Romney, that a sober decision was made to stonewall the press! Extraordinary! Who in their right minds would try to get away with something THIS DUMB? “No matter what they throw at us, we say nothing, and we don’t release the returns.” This calculation, it would seem to me, was a hope against hope (and common sense) that events (like a mass murder, the Olympics, the Jackson family) would overtake the “Release your tax returns, Mitt” news cycle.
A news cycle that even saw several prominent Republican leaders say that they thought Romney should release his tax returns! Good luck with this one, Mittens. You’re going to need it.
The birthers didn’t stop even after Obama showed them his long form birth certificate. The matter of his MIA tax returns is not going to go away for Romney, nor should it. When you consider just how feverish and over-the-top the speculation has already gotten, it’s all the more remarkable that they haven’t just released the damn tax documents already. I mean, seriously, how bad can they really be?
Plenty bad, apparently, how else to explain that Romney hasn’t released them after all of the pain he’s sustained?
Governor George Romney, Mitt’s father, is practically THE national politician who started the tradition of releasing many years of tax returns. “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show,” he famously said in 1968, a remark that has come back to haunt his son!
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made his decidedly “loose-lipped” statement that an acquaintance of his who has investments at Bain Capital told him that Romney paid no taxes whatsoerver for a decade. Although this scenario seems highly unlikely, that didn’t slow Reid down from trolling Romney mercilessly with this scurrilous gossip, as The Las Vegas Review Journal reported:
Sen. Harry Reid caused a stir this week when he told an interviewer that Mitt Romney hasn’t released more of his tax returns because “he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.” On Wednesday, Reid doubled down on the charge.
In an interview published Tuesday, Reid said an investor in Bain Capital, the former private equity firm of the Republican presidential candidate, told him in a phone call that Romney had paid zero taxes.
“Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the Huffington Post, declining to identify his source. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”
His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, referring to then-Michigan Gov. George Romney making public 12 years of his tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.
Reid also suggested that Romney’s suspicious withholding of his tax returns would bar him from getting a Senate confirmation for a Cabinet post. This is a pretty serious thing for the Senate Majority leader to say, and no matter what you think of Reid’s politics, or even if you are offended that he was obviously just baiting Romney with malicious hearsay, that last bit is undeniable… He wouldn’t get confirmed for a Cabinet post!
And although I laughed out loud when I read what Reid had said—I’m someone who wants to see Romney and all Republicans defeated and defeated badly, but I’m no Democrat, either—the stark truth of the matter is that whatever percentage of Mitt Romney’s income he paid taxes on, from zero to whatever it really is, his effective tax rate is undoubtedly going to be a helluva lot less than you or I pay on our mere mortal incomes because Mitt’s only going to be paying capital gains taxes on his pot of gold. Probably about HALF of what the rest of us little people pay.
Do ya think this information will thrill the GOP’s blue collar base, who probably have no idea what the capital gains tax is, but who will only see spectacular unfairness?
That alone would sink his battleship, of this I have no doubt, but what else could be in those returns that is so bad that it merits having to withstand a steady barrage of shit being flung in Romney’s direction on a daily basis? The only way to end this Mitt-storm would be to release the returns, but APPARENTLY, based on ALL THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE it’s still better for him to stand there all shit-covered. Go figure! It must be pretty damaging if they’re this steadfast in their refusal to release the tax docs. And again this only turns the heat up more. The longer this brouhaha over Romeny refusing to release his tax returns goes on, the worse we can assume it is.
The thing is this information probably IS going to come out and come out soon—those tax returns (23 years’ worth) were put in the hands of the McCain campaign’s VP vetting committee back in 2008, so you can be as sure as shit that they are “around” and are just waiting safely in a vault “someplace” before they are put into the hands of the highest bidder.
One would assume that Mitt’s tax documents are in the possession of the Obama campaign, too. (Not that I have any insider information, it just stands to reason, does it not? Then again, if they did have them, what are they waiting for? I suppose timing is everything!).
There’s only one way for Mitt Romney to be able to in any way control his narrative and stage manage the (inevitable) release of his tax documents and that is to do it now and to do it himself before some other party beats him to it. Any expert consultant on public relations “damage control” would see where this was going to end and surely Romney has been told this and is well aware of what the refusal to release his returns has cost him.
And yet here we are.
See how this works? That’s what I mean by Chinese fingercuffs: The more Romney struggles against the inevitable, the worse he makes it on himself. It’s a highly unusual position, historically speaking, for a presidential candidate to have put himself in, I think all Americans of all political stripes can agree on this.
Below, new Obama campaign ad takes aim at Mitt Romney’s “ideas” for reforming the tax code. Yours go up around $2000. For millionaires, like Romney, well their taxes go down. Sounds fair, right?
The Tax Trap Springs Shut on Romney (New York)