The other day I made the case as to why I thought Mitt Romney should release as many tax returns as possible and nothing in Jeff Lord’s feature article today convinces me otherwise.
I understand where Jeff is coming from. The liberal media subjects conservatives (especially conservatives who threaten President Obama’s hold on power) to different rules than President Obama and the argument is that we should not play their game. Yet consider this passage:
Senator John McCain, who reviewed some 20 years of Romney tax returns when considering the Governor as a potential 2008 running mate, says he saw absolutely nothing amiss. Doubtless true.
That, however, is not the point. If Mitt Romney were to release a lifetime of well-in-order, nothing-amiss tax returns, Team Obama would find the “Fat Jap” — the political gotcha.
First, if Mitt Romney can provide 20 years of tax returns to Senator McCain then why can’t he do the same with the American people? After all, the only thing stand between Romney and the White House is the American people. If he wants to get inside the Oval Office then he must earn the trust of the American people. This requires acts of good faith. As I said the other day, since Obama has released seven of his tax returns the least Romney can do is to release eight.
Second, to argue that Romney shouldn’t release his tax returns on the grounds that Team Obama will say “gotcha” is a cop out. By that standard, Romney could argue that he can’t release a policy proposal on health care because the Obama campaign will say “gotcha”. The Obama campaign has been saying “gotcha” where it concerns Romney for months now and will continue to do so until Election Day. Besides releasing his tax returns isn’t to placate the Obama campaign. That’s not going to happen. Romney releasing his tax returns is for the benefit of the American people because it conveys an image of honesty, trust and transparency.
Finally, Romney does more harm than good to himself by not releasing his tax returns. By not releasing as many tax returns as possible, it leaves people with the impression that he has something to hide or something to be ashamed about. Yes, the American people will be shocked – shocked!!! – to learn that Mitt Romney is stinking rich. So let Obama complain about Romney’s wealth. Then we can have an honest to goodness debate between free enterprise and socialism. I’d rather that be the question of the day rather than why Romney hasn’t released his tax returns. Again, this issue hurt him in the GOP primary until he released his 2010 return. If Romney wants to make this issue go away then he should release as many returns as possible posthaste.