If Romney's not hiding something in the his tax returns then he's a fool for not releasing them.
Damned if you don't
How much information do we need to evaluate candidates for president or Senate and who will provide the information? How much do we have a right to know?
Consider Mitt Romney. Is the decision on releasing his tax returns up to us, the candidate, or the party? Ann Romney made her position clear — it’s none of our business! She stated, “We’ve given all you people need to know,” and said opponents just wanted more material for more attacks. One can almost hear the sigh, “Enough is enough.” Who gives “you people” the right to invade the Romneys’ privacy? Can there be any privacy in a presidential bid? I don’t think so.
No one drafted Mitt to run for president. He chose to run. One must assume he knew what would be expected of him if he were to become the Republican nominee. But maybe not. If he doesn’t like it, he can drop out.
Ann Romney seems to think it is up to Mitt, not George Will or John McCain.
The next president will play a major role in our lives. If it’s Mitt, all we really know is that he will try to eliminate affordable health care and wants the wealthy to pay less in taxes.
Don’t we have a right to see his tax returns and to ask questions about his overseas investments? Will he bring his money home from Switzerland and the Caymans? Are we talking millions or billions? If we don’t know but our adversaries do, is he opening up the possibility of blackmail? Will he push for tax loopholes that could help his “blind” trust? Is he a tax evader? Was he a “vulture capitalist” as Governor Rick Perry suggested or the job creator he wants us to believe? Is he truthful or is he a liar? We have to make our own decisions about his policies, but the tax returns will be critical in giving us a hint on his policies and his truthfulness.
Many people will decide when those returns are made public and not before. All candidates should play by the rules and the candidates are not the ones who should make the rules.
George Romney, Mitt’s father, made 12 years of his returns available when he ran for president. George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and John Kerry released multiple returns.
What could be in those returns that Mitt has refused to disclose even in the face of demands by Republicans?
All of this raises the fundamental question: Whose candidate is he? Is Romney a “free agent” or is he representing the Republican Party? It is time to address that question.
It is clear that our nation makes it almost impossible to form a third party or to run as anything other than a Republican or a Democrat. We are a two-party nation and it seems obvious that the parties have a role to play. The parties decide who will be allowed to participate in the debates (ask Buddy Roemer). The parties decide who gets the nomination. And it seems obvious that the party, not the nominee, should decide what information should be made available to the voters.
I think Romney is hiding something that could be very damaging to his chance to be elected. If not, he is a fool for refusing to release his returns. Take your pick — fool or liar?
By the way, do we really need to protect the right of our citizens to have assault rifles and grenade launchers? It is time to tell the NRA to shut up!
(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
July 29, 2012
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Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.