The former Massachusetts Governor has released his returns from the last two years, but Democrats, especially the Obama Campaign and their lap dog media are frothing at the mouth to get their hands on years 2001-2009 or from any amount of years in that window. The reason is simple.
The Obama Campaign is built around negativity-that is, building up as big and bad, a negative image of Mitt Romney they can. The reason for this is they have literally nothing to run on. All of Obama's signature accomplishments have been met with a lukewarm disposition at best, and stunning unpopularity at worst. So thus, his campaign for re-election must be to convince voters that his opponent is untenable and the best way to do that when your opponent is Mitt Romney, is to convince the country that the former Governor is the wealthy, greedy, Scrooge McDuck.
In order to run a negative campaign like that against someone using the same line of attack for four months, you must seek out new information that fits with into your "Romney is a greedy, so-rich-he's-out-of-touch" narrative.
Enter the Obama Campaign's demands for years worth of Mitt's tax returns.
You must hand it to them. The Obama camp knows that the lap dog media will serve as an echo chamber of whatever their narrative de jour happens to be, and for the better part of two weeks, Romney has been getting badgered relentlessly over his decision (so far) not to release his tax returns in the "out years." In fact, the barrage has been so heavy and unrelenting that just about everyone in the chin-scratching, velvety-curtained halls GOP "Establishment" is demanding their candidate release the tax returns to "allow this all to blow over."
Now for a long time I have held firm, saying both privately and publicly (Facebook) that Mitt shouldn't budge in his resolve. I have re-adjusted that position.
It's clear to me that if he does not release the information, this is the only story the American people will hear about coming out of the two campaigns because the media is on Obama's team (even FNC, on this matter, anyway). Unless Mitt Romney's tax returns have something to hide that indicates possible illegal tax-cheating, there is absolutely no reason for Romney's campaign to delay their release any further.
The reasons are simple.
- Since January, Romney has had both his primary challengers and the President trying to win support for themselves by labeling Romney's wealth an "issue" that should indicate America shouldn't support him. He's tied in all major polls with Obama today, which indicates (if you've been living under a rock) that four months of it in a primary and three months in the general, it doesn't work.
- No matter how many years they release tax returns for, it will never be enough for the campaign, but if he releases 3-4 more years, it will be enough for the majority of the media, and if the media isn't echoing them, the Obama camp will have to cut it out and move onto their next Romney-Bain story from their Oppo-Archives.
- Let's say the tax returns indicate that Mitt paid an effective marginal tax rate in the single digits for the the three-five years he should release. What a better way to make the case for tax reform to the American people than to say, "You know what, I didn't want to pay any more taxes than I had to, and my guess is that the American people don't want to have to pay any more taxes than they must either. However, it's morally unacceptable to have a tax code that allows the wealthiest to get away with paying a lower marginal tax rates than the average worker and that's why I will propose XYZ tax code."
- This too, shall pass. Let's say Romney's camp takes the first reason into account, then accepts reason two as guaranteed to happen, and even decides to try to turn the situation into a potential positive. Even if they all work, or they don't no negative political narrative resulting from one moment (the release of more tax returns) lasts longer than a week or two.
What the Romney campaign is doing now simply won't work as a long term strategy, and the reason I say that is because the Obama team's strategy has been clear as day since March. Attack him on Bain and anything the two had in common. What I mean is, if he does or doesn't release the tax returns, the Obama Campaign has at least 25 other major news breaking "revelations" about Mitt's career/tenure at Bain.
Sure, it's a shame that this campaign can't be about past records, and visions for the future, but it is, and the sooner the Romney team recognizes that, the better off they will be. Now, I am NOT saying the Romney campaign should stoop to the Obama Campaign's level, and try to continuously sling mud. What I am saying is that the most successful people are capable of performing in unfriendly, and sometimes downright hostile confines.
Mitt Romney should release his tax returns when his team is good and ready-but they do need to release them relatively soon, because even if there is stuff in them that won't look too great, the American people won't vote for someone their too suspicious about.