Monday, July 16, 2012 at 2:04 PM
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pulled a “full Ginsburg” on Friday by appearing on all of the major TV networks in a futile attempt to counter the pummeling he was taking from the Obama campaign about his business practices at his investment firm, Bain Capital.
Specifically, Team Obama was flooding the media with stories about how Romney built his personal fortune – not just by outsourcing American jobs but by then sheltering his income in tax havens like Switzerland, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. It was Obama’s spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter, however, who forced him out of his media cocoon at FOX News when she insinuated that newly released documents show he may have committed a felony by signing off as Bain’s “sole shareholder” and CEO for years after 1999 – the year he claims he left the company to head the U.S. Winter Olympic Organizing Committee.
But Romney seemed utterly blindsided when a media conspiracy seemed to erupt in his face with every interviewer demanding to know if or when he’s going to do what most presidential candidates, including his father, invariably do; namely, release many years’ worth of back tax returns. Romney reacted defiantly, insisting that, after releasing his 2010 returns, when he finally releases those for 2011 in a few weeks that will be it (i.e., only two years’ worth).
I have no doubt, however, that he will have to eat his words; not least because he’s now receiving friendly fire from Republican stalwarts like Bill Kristol who are urging him to release the mother lode immediately (of “six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns”) lest voters buy into Obama’s insinuation that he’s hiding past financial misdeeds.
But nothing indicates how desperate and untenable Romney’s position is quite like Republican nutjobs like Donald Trump urging him not to release any more tax returns until Obama releases his college transcripts. For this is surpassed in its absurdity only by birthers insinuating that Obama was not releasing his birth certificate because he had something to hide … until he released it.
Meanwhile, the media are replete with stories these days about corporate CEOs making hundreds of millions by gaming the markets and exploiting the tax code. Which is why it behooves Romney to appreciate that it is a losing proposition for him to allow voters to harbor quite reasonable suspicions that he’s just another crooked, if not felonious CEO trying to hide his misdeeds.
By contrast, only nincompoop birthers or celebrity-worshipping schmucks who would buy swamp land in Florida from Trump would believe that the obviously intelligent Obama is refusing to release his college transcripts because he has something to hide.
Not to mention that even if Obama’s transcripts were to reveal an F or two, this would not undermine his re-election campaign in the least; whereas, if Romney’s tax returns were to reveal that he failed to pay taxes for a year or two (or even that he sheltered substantial amounts of income from taxes), that would undermine his election campaign, irreparably.
Ultimately though there’s no escaping the association of calls for Obama’s college transcripts with all of the other asinine attempts to call into question his legitimacy as president of the United States. More to the point, there’s no denying that all such calls are racially motivated. After all, despite having good reasons for doing so, did you ever hear anyone call for George W. Bush to release his college transcripts?
Beyond this, there seems to be a sense, even among “liberal Republicans,” that one term under a Black president should suffice to expiate all Whites of all sins related not just to slavery but to all of the Jim Crow laws and other forms of discrimination that proceeded from that original sin. Only this explains why the racist taunts that were hurled at Obama in 2008 via dog whistles are being hurled at him this year via bull horns – with no less a person than Romney brazenly exhorting voters to dismiss him as “un-American.” (Never mind that Romney – the erstwhile liberal Republican who now calls himself “severely conservative” – comes across like a brother from another planet.)