By DiMarkco Chandler
The 2012 campaign is proving itself to be reminiscent of a game of chicken as both candidates have taken off their gloves. From the sound of the rhetoric, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a tax problem. No, it’s not like most people’s tax problems, which usually means you owe the IRS. Romney’s problem has nothing to do with the kind of legal difficulties that many Americans face when dealing with questions surround their Internal Revenue Tax returns. Nevertheless, the Bain Capital millionaire is avoiding a request to release tax records dating before 2010.
Over the weekend, it appears that the stakes have risen as Romney wretches up the tone of the argument, insisting that he will only release two years of his taxes.
Well, the chant from democrats sounds eerily familiar, and it increasingly appears as time passes that more republicans are beginning to join the chorus, asking their 2012 presidential candidate to release more years of his tax returns.
In particular, George Will, Bill Kristol, Rupert Murdoch, Haley Barbour, Matthew Dowd, Rick Tyler, Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, John Weaver, Pete Sessions, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and, technically speaking, Romney’s own father have all come out to urge Romney to disclose returns from past years.
Rupert Murdoch, for starters tweeted recently calling for Romney to release more returns. That was followed by Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol’s indirect call saying that Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of tax returns is “crazy.” Kristol added that “he should release the tax returns tomorrow… You’ve got to release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns.”
Conservative columnist commenting on the controversy said: “The costs of not releasing the returns are clear… Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.”
The website, nationalreview.com reports that former governor Haley Barbour says Romney should release more of his financial records, including some of his pre 2010 tax returns. To quote Barbour he specifically said: “He ought to release his returns… Any time this campaign’s conversation is not about President Obama’s failed policies… then the [Romney] campaign isn’t talking about the right thing.”
ABC political analyst Matthew ripped Romney for not releasing more tax returns during the show “This Week with George Stephanopoulos saying, “Many of these politicians think, ‘I can do this. I can get away with this. I don’t need to do this, because I’m going to say something and I don’t have to do this.’…. if he had 20 years of great, clean everything’s fine, it’d all be out there, but it’s arrogance.”
Politico has reported that Republican strategist Rick Tyler as warning that Romney’s tax issue has the potential to inflict real harm if Romney doesn’t start providing answers, particularly in light of the controversy surrounding Bain Capital. Referring to Romney’s press secretary, Tyler went on to note “I saw Andrea Saul’s robotic response, which was the same as it’s always been. That doesn’t comport with documents that have his name on it after 1999 that list him as CEO who was making money off of transactions. If he wasn’t making money from Bain, then his tax returns from the period in question would reveal that. Only [Romney] can provide that information, or we’ll just have drip, drip, drip to November.”
Then we have Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley telling ABC in an interview that Mitt Romney should release his tax returns in order to show voters that he has “nothing to hide. It’s a “distraction” Bentley said, that Democrats were successfully exploiting.
Associated Press reported that Right Wing strategist John Weaver is also calling on Romney to release his tax returns saying, “There is no whining in politics… Stop demanding an apology, release your tax returns.”
Surprisingly, Texas Republican, Pete Sessions told CNN that “His [Romney’s] personal finances, the way he does things, his record, are fair game.”
Even former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, called upon Romney to release additional returns reasoning that it would put democratic attacks to rest.
One of the more interesting and perhaps most persuasive arguments urging the Republican Presidential candidate to release tax returns dating back beyond 2010 is perhaps George Romney according to Jonathan Capehart in an article written for the Washington Post. The argument posits that upon Romney’s public position that he’s proud to follow in his father’s footsteps, and yet his refusal to make multiple years of his tax returns public equates to a serious contradiction. Capehart points out that prior to George Romney’s run for President, candidates only gave out general information about their finances. However, George Romney’s decision to release 12 years of actual tax returns changed the political landscape. Thus, how could Romney make such and incompatible statement, suggesting that he is proud to follow in his father’s footsteps and yet refuse to honor a tradition that his father is honored in history to have done. It just doesn’t add up.
But what really raises the eyebrow is what Capehart writes next: “It’s not like he can’t find them. As part of the vice presidential vetting process in 2008 Romney handed over 23 years’s worth of tax returns to Sen. John McCain.
This point is potentially explosive, especially since McCain has been noticeably reticent on the subject. This issue if exploited could perhaps cause Mitt Romney to blink. If that happens all bets are off for a Republican Presidential victory this fall.