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    “Tax returns for college transcripts” will not work

    “Tax returns for college transcripts” will not work

    The second Mitt Romney announced he would not release his income tax returns if he becomes nominee I predicted it would not stand because the refusal would, at a minimum, create a major distraction.  It’s part of a larger problem with secrecy which will haunt Romney if he is the nominee.

    The most likely scenario is that almost all of Romney’s income is taxed at the 15% long term capital gains rate, playing right into the hands of Team Obama in its Secretaries versus Bosses campaign theme.

    Many commenters here believed Romney was setting a trap for Obama to complain, since Romney could say something along the lines of “I’ll release my tax returns when you release your college records….”

    And indeed, one of Romney’s sons tried that line yesterday but stepped in it because he demanded not only college transcripts but Obama’s original birth certificate.  Feigned outrage followed, of course, from Team Obama.

    The “tax returns for college transcripts” approach will not work.  There are effective ways to question Obama’s narrative, but holding the Republican nominee’s tax returns hostage is not one of those ways.

    Romney has run a pretty brilliant campaign so far, so it it hard to understand why he is walking into this dead end alleyway.

    The tax returns already have become an issue on which the left-blogosphere and Obama campaign are focusing:


    Marshall finds the same issue I did:

    So what’s the deal with Romney’s tax returns?  Or more specifically, what’s the deal with Mitt Romney letting himself get more and more nippy press by refusing to release his tax returns when virtually every serious presidential candidate of the last 40 years has done it?  Allow me to explain.

    We already know Mitt Romney is a really, really wealthy guy.  But there have been a lot of rich presidential candidates.  And, though he was born to wealth, Romney also made a lot of money himself.  He’s also said he’ll release information about his wealth, his assets … a lot of stuff.  But just not the tax returns.

    So what’s the deal?  It’s pretty simple.  We might say that a specter is haunting Mitt Romney — the specter of the Buffett Rule.

    There is no worse question for a presidential candidate than “what is he hiding?”

    So what is Romney hiding that is worth having the conversation be about his refusal to release income tax returns rather the disaster known as the Obama presidency?


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    Again, a Romney-bashing post. Sigh. Your last one, accusing Mitt of bashing Newt’s crying, was posted incredibly prematurely and without the proper facts. At least this one appears to have some factual background. You make good points. Let’s not nominate Mitt! He’s going to get attacked for being a businessman! I think I’ve seen the light. Let’s go with Newt. Ain’t nothing the Democrats will be able to attack him for. And even in the outrageous circumstance that there is, Newt has the poise, calmness, and coolness to soberly and unzanily respond!

      William A. Jacobson in reply to Jackson. | December 31, 2011 at 11:43 am

      “Again, a Romney-bashing post.” Accurately assessing a mistake a candidate is making, and advising him not to keep repeating it, hardly is bashing. Bashing would be trying to portray a candidate as crazy and unstable, and we know who has build his campaign around that.

    Lets just see how this plays out. Romney is going to release information. It probably will not be good enough for the lefty bombthrowers like TPM or Kos, but who gives a rip.

    Has Romney called for a zero cap gains tax? Thats the only way I see this becoming a real problem.

      janitor in reply to Jaydee77. | December 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Has Romney called for a zero cap gains tax?

      I have been wondering about this and related. Romney is not a good potential leader for any tax reform package that will be perceived as being of major personal benefit to him and his family.

    OK, I think I’ve got this figured out. Romney is using a little jujitsu here. Assume there’s nothing remarkable on the tax returns other than confirming the fact that he’s richer than God. Mitt’s holding on to his tax returns figuring one of the two following scenarios will have to ensue:

    (a) As predicted by Prof. J., there will be mounting calls for the release of the returns, which demands will include increasingly imaginative speculation as to the scandalous contents of said returns. Romney waits for the proper moment (such as when Obama himself alludes to a nutty theory as to what Mitt is hiding), and then releases the return. Everyone is so surprised and embarrassed at the ho-hum nature of the returns, they forget to be outraged at how rich Romney is and that angle loses all of its shock appeal. (Call this the “Geraldo’s Safe” scenario.)

    (b) Same as above except, here, Obama and his thugs get so tired and frustrated over waiting for Mitt to release the returns, they leak them themselves, illegally of course. Indictments ensue; echoes of Watergate. Again, Romney comes out smelling like a rose.

    Bonus scenario: Romney sweetens his own pot by having donated $30 million to charity the last couple of years, a fact not revealed until he or Obama’s accessories release the returns.

    Henry Hawkins | December 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Very odd thing, this. If there’s no trouble in the returns, release them, like every other candidate does. If there is trouble in the returns, better to get it out now while still in the primaries. How did they not foresee that refusal to release would only bring demands of why, that eventually they’d have to release them? A protracted Romney Tax Return Watch, certain to be hyped by the opposition and the media (but I repeat myself), only hurts as people will make their own best guesses as to what Romney’s ‘hiding’. The public imagination will conjure heresies much worse than the likely reality.

    Revelation of great wealth is not the issue or concern – everyone knows Romney is majorly rich. Revelation of tax violations might be, but that’s not the deal. I think the Romney camp has misplayed their fear that his tax returns reveal him as a crowned Prince in the Court of the One-Percenters, the perfect foil against whom Obama may hurl endless barrages of class warfare cannonshot.

    They were going to do that to Romney anyway, so it appears the Romney team unwittingly built a trap and stepped right into it, a New Years gift to his opposition.

    Whether the tax return content is no problem, mild problem, or big problem, the sooner it’s out there the better, now that the negative speculation hounds in media are on it.

    My guess is that there’s little extra to worry about in Romney’s tax return, that they’ve overreacted in some way and are now fishing about for an exit strategy.

    He’s a rich man, his tax returns will reflect that. I DO NOT CARE! Mittens, just release them! And then challenge the jerk in the WH to release his college records.

    Mittens damn better not pull a Mccain and cower as the mainstream media/demonrats hone in on Mittens. I know how ruthless the ABCs, NBCs, CNNs, SeeBSs were in 2008 when I was campainging for Hillary, Mittens better treat the media as part of the demonrat party, because they are!

    Release them, and get it over with, I’m a bitter clinging middle class reagan dem, my wealth is probably .0001% of Mittens, I do NOT buy into the classware crap!

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