On Tuesday, Senate Majority leader, Harry Reid (D-Nevada), leveled a devastating and potentially campaign ending accusation against the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. According to Mr. Reid, an investor in Bain Capital called him about a month ago and told him that Romney had not paid any taxes for ten years.
This would certainly explain why Romney has adamantly refused to release his tax returns beyond one year (and an incomplete year, at that). For a public fed up with the 1%, this would be quite possibly the worst financial revelation possible. It would be incredibly damaging to the GOP’s narrative that the rich need more tax cuts so they can spread that wealth around. If their nominee is supposed to represent the best of the private sector, as they have claimed, what does it say that Romney has paid no taxes at all?
Reid is quoted as saying, “His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son.” Kevin Madden, a Romney adviser countered,” [It is]troubling and disappointing that Senator Reid would cite Governor Romney’s father, George, as part of a personal attack against the governor. We have many substantive disagreements with the senator and his policies, but using insults about a father-son relationship is a step too far.”
Normally this might be true but George Romney was the first politician to release his tax returns under the belief that “Any politician who will not show multiple year taxes may be hiding something.” That his son refuses to follow in his own father’s steps is of great significance and is hardly a personal attack. It speaks to a lack of character and respect for tradition which in turn speaks to his readiness for the highest office in the land.
So far, Reid has refused to name his source so the story cannot be confirmed. I expect this to lead to accusations of dishonesty on Reid’s part. The obvious answer to this will be “If Romney has nothing to hide, why doesn’t he release the tax returns?” The irony of this controversy cannot possibly be lost on anybody with a pulse. The country has suffered through three years of birtherism in which tinfoil hat wearing lunatics have demanded to see President Obama’s birth certificate (but not because he’s black or anything). After he eventually relented, they went right ahead and kept demanding it as if it had never happened. Now, the roles are reversed and the spectacle of these same people insisting that Romney doesn’t have to release anything will be delicious in ways I had not thought possible.
It is possible that Reid just made it all up. After all, the momentum behind the tax return controversy was lost after the Aurora, Colorado shootings. If asked why he waited until now to reveal Romney’s tax dodging finances, I have no doubt Reid will say it wasn’t necessary to add fuel to the fire until it was reduced to a smolder. Cynical? Yes. Very, very smart? Very very yes.
On the other hand, Reid is not known for outlandish statements devoid of facts, like say, Michele Bachmann, Allan West, Rand Paul, et al, so his credibility is not the easiest of targets. No matter how hard his supporters try to smear Reid, the longer Romney refuses to release his tax returns, the more open to speculation the entire affair becomes and the more damaging it gets. Harry Reid has quite the poker face and he just played that Ace up his sleeve. Time for Mitt to fold.
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