In the spirit of Bill Maher, who’s taking a hike until the middle of August, I’d like to offer a New Rule of my own:
If the President had to show is birth certificate to prove he was born in America, then Governor Romney has to show his tax returns to prove he’s paying taxes in America.
Many pundits have, rightly, noted that if Mitt Romney were to win the election in November, he may very well be the first President of the United States with a Swiss bank account.
You know, rich men have been President before. In fact, I’d say every man who’s ever held the Office has been financially more comfortable than most of the people he governed. The eight Virginian Presidents were either plantation owners or, in the case of Woodrow Wilson, the child of people who owned slaves. The two Roosevelts were immensely wealthy. Jack Kennedy’s people made their money off the whiskey and entertainment trades, but it was wealth all the same.
But the difference between all these men and Mitt is that none of his predecessors had Swiss bank accounts, or accounts in the Cayman Islands or any such stuff that’s contrived — face it — to avoid paying the full whack in income tax.
One of my favourite journalists, Charles Blow, does an excellent take-down of what I can only describe as Romney’s duplitiousness in today’s New York Times, and he knocks it out of the park:-
Blind trusts, Swiss bank accounts and Bermuda accounts designed to shield your money from the taxing agency of the country you want to lead just doesn’t sound right. And Romney’s reluctance to reveal more suggests that there is more that’s distasteful.
In general, people are uneasy when politicians are unwilling to disclose details. President Obama learned this as it related to his birth certificate. He may have been withholding it on principle because no other president had been forced to go to such an extent to prove his legitimacy, but, eventually, the damage being done by withholding became greater than the principle. So he released it, and much — but not all — of the second-guessing went away.
Romney may have to reach that decision more quickly than Obama. The narrative is starting to take hold that he is dishonest, devious and irreconcilably different. These are simple, deadly character flaws in a candidate because they’re antithetical to the American ideal of the presidency.
Yes, indeed, people are uneasy when politicians seem to withold information, and they’re all the more uneasy when the media gets behind a story that about a politician who seems to be keeping a secret that may smell a bit too whiffy for the public’s perception of his image. The right wing media made various people think the current President was being less-than-honest about his status as an American citizen. And I’m in a state of disbelief that the media, in general, is now doing its rightful job in making Willard Mitt Romney squirm noticeably about a little matter such as paying your income tax. Too many people are alive (and we’re not that old either) who remember Honest George Romney, Mitt’s father, who released twelve years of his income tax returns when he declared himself a candidate for President. That was the same George Romney who walked out of the 1964 Republican Convention when it refused to adopt Civil Rights as a part of its national platform. That was the same George Romney whose son race-baited the NAACP convention to its collective face this past week.
Charles Blow, a Southerner quotes his mamma as saying it’s better to tell the truth, because then you wouldn’t have to remember what you said. Truth is irrelevant to Mitt, whose idea of truth changes depending on who’s in charge of the GOP. Well, I can quote my Southern mamma too, who’d have something to say about Mitt as well:
The boy ain’t his daddy.