While Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have released years of personal tax returns, Republican John McCain has released two years of limited returns. Recently, DNC Chair Howard Dean wondered what McCain is hiding?
“John McCain’s lack of transparency is troubling and raises questions about what he’s hiding. From his willingness to skirt FEC law to releasing less information about his tax returns than any other candidate since Ronald Reagan, John McCain continues a troubling pattern of thinking the rules don’t apply to him. McCain should hold himself to the same standard set by past presidential candidates, both Republican and Democrat, and the example already set by both Democratic candidates,” Dean said.
He also said that McCain should be held to the same standard that John Kerry was in 2004. “In 2004, the Republican National Committee called on the Kerry campaign to release Teresa Heinz Kerry’s tax returns, saying ‘Americans value disclosure and transparency in campaigns.’ We expect the RNC will call on John McCain to release Cindy McCain’s records just as they called on the Kerry campaign to do so in 2004. The connection between the McCains’ business ventures and their political ties have been well documented and the American people deserve to know how McCain’s role as a public official may have benefited their bottom line,” Dean said.
What John McCain is hiding is very simple. He doesn’t want voters to know just how rich he and his wife really are. It will be difficult to label Barack Obama a liberal elitist, once the world knows that McCain’s wife is worth $100 million and that for decades McCain has been living a life replete with private jets and vacation homes.
This is the exact situation that the Republicans used to paint John Kerry as a rich elitist in 2004, so why wouldn’t the same standard apply to McCain in 2008? Much like George W. Bush, McCain has a blind spot towards his own wealth.
Republicans will do their best to define the Democrats as the elite this year, but as usual the real elitist will be the candidate who is trying his hardest to act like a regular guy.