Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns is sending conservatives over the edge. They especially can’t take seeing a Republican on the defensive. They are so used to playing offense that they simply can’t cope when the tables are turned. Their big solution to this dilemma is to put Obama on the defense by demanding his college transcripts, as if college transcripts were the equivalent of tax returns.
Glenn Beck’s site The Blaze assures us that Romney should demand Obama’s college transcripts in exchange for Romney’s tax returns because there’s a big scandal in Obama’s college transcripts. You’d think Beck would be the fringe by now, but his crazy talking points have already found root, with conservatives demanding the college transcripts with their usual barely-contained, smug aggression.
It starts off with this promise; “Obama has a big skeleton in his closet. It’s his college records. Call it “gut instinct” but my gut is almost always right. Obama has a secret hidden at Columbia- and it’s a bad one that threatens to bring down his presidency. Gut instinct is how I’ve made my living for 29 years since graduating Columbia.”
An accusation based on nothing, you say? Sorta like what they keep saying Reid is doing, only Reid’s accusation can be disproven if only Romney would do what all other presidential candidates do.
The idea is that Romney not releasing his tax return is the perfect cover for Obama to hide all of his scandals. Their plan hinges on the weak hope that Obama is somehow forcing Mitt not to release his tax returns in order to hide his own scandal. Surely this sad ploy will work on the well-conditioned auto drones of the Right, who won’t see that Obama wouldn’t be able to condemn Romney for not doing what every other candidate did if only Romney would do release his tax returns.
Here’s their version of reality:
Team Obama has decided to distract America’s voters by condemning Mitt Romney for not releasing enough years of his tax returns. It’s the perfect cover. Obama knows the best defense is a bold offense. Just keep attacking Mitt and blaming him for secrecy and evasion, while accusing him of having a scandal that doesn’t exist.
The writer plays his audience well, whispering about Obama’s “socialist cabal” creating a problem that doesn’t exist (Mitt Romney will release his tax returns?). Perhaps the author’s gut has first hand knowledge of Mitt Romney’s tax returns, and that’s how he can claim to know there isn’t a scandal. Then he asks if Reid is just making things up out of thin air? “You decide.” Seriously.
Here’s their big plan:
My answer for Romney? Call Obama’s bluff.
Romney should call a press conference and issue a challenge in front of the nation. He should agree to release more of his tax returns, only if Obama unseals his college records. Simple and straight-forward. Mitt should ask “What could possibly be so embarrassing in your college records from 29 years ago, that you are afraid to let America’s voters see it? If it’s THAT bad, maybe it’s something the voters ought to see.” Suddenly the tables are turned. Now Obama is on the defensive.
The problem with this is that it’s not just Obama who is asking to see Romney’s tax returns; it’s a job requirement these days. The American people expect it.
Another problem with it is that Romney already tried this bluff years ago, when he ran for Senate in 1994 against Ted Kennedy. Romney told voters he’d release his tax returns when Kennedy released his. Romney liked the tactic so well, that when Romney was running for governor in 2002, he pulled it again. Unfortunately for him, all of his Democratic opponents — Robert Reich, Tom Birmingham, and Shannon O`Brien — released their returns.
What was Romney to do?
Romney announced that when Kennedy released his returns, Romney would release his, even though he wasn’t running against Kennedy in this race. When that didn’t work, Romney came after his Democratic opponent and said when her spouse released his tax returns, Romney would release his. Romney said, “Shannon O`Brien`s husband, with whom I presume they share expenses, likewise, hasn`t released his income taxes.” Isn’t that just the saddest excuse you ever heard?
It gets even better. Here’s the part where Romney did exactly what Reid is doing, only Romney did it to his opponent’s spouse. Rachel Maddow pointed out that in 2002 when Romney wouldn’t release his returns, he then attacked his opponent for not releasing her husband’s returns:
“Her hands aren`t clean,” said Romney deputy campaign manager Eric Fehrnstrom — oh, yes, remember him — of O`Brien`s release of her tax return but not the filings of her husband. Quote, “She can`t claim to be disclosing anything until she discloses the returns of her husband.” He went on to say, “What is she hiding?”
Yes, “what is she hiding?” Er, make that a “he” this time around.
The entire time, Romney was telling everyone they didn’t need to see his returns, but he would tell them what they needed to know. Romney assured everyone that he was eligible to run for governor because he had filed his taxes as a resident of Massachusetts and Utah. Turns out, he told them a big, fat, whopping lie about his tax returns.
From The Rachel Maddow Show:
REPORTER: The Democrats point to Romney`s house in Utah, which was listed as his primary residence, to support a challenge. They also want to see his tax returns.
ROOSEVELT: We have now learned from his own lips this afternoon that Mr. Romney lied yesterday when he said he had filed resident tax returns in both Massachusetts and Utah.
REPORTER: Romney acknowledged today he amended his 1999 and 2000 Massachusetts state tax returns to make him a resident here.
Note that Romney amended his returns to say what he needed them to say back then, and now we’re supposed to trust Romney on this same subject.
So the Great Bluff Theory has already been tried and it already failed. Of course, that’s accepting the false equivocation between tax returns and college transcripts, and there is no forcing that will make those two things equivalent. Anyone who tries that clearly doesn’t understand why we ask to see tax returns.
The author, Wayne Allyn Root, claims that Obama was never seen at Columbia and this author knew everyone there. Everyone, I tell you. He claims Obama’s records are sealed. This is untrue and has been facthchecked so many times it’s surreal that a human can write for the Internet and still not have access to it, but here goes, and you’ll note Bush also chose to keep his college transcripts a secret, but no one suggested that W is a foreign exchange student:
Obama’s college records are not “sealed” by a court order, as this graphic would have you believe. It would be illegal under federal law (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974) for Occidental, Columbia or Harvard Law School to give any former student’s records to reporters or members of the public without that person’s specific, written permission. Obama hasn’t released them, but neither have other presidential candidates released their college records. George W. Bush’s grades at Yale eventually became public, but only because somebody leaked them to the New Yorker magazine. Bush himself refused to release them, according to a 1999 profile in the Washington Post.
But now we get to the bottom of the conspiracy. Wayne is a birther, who believes that the real reason Obama is keeping his college transcripts under the same lock and key as George W Bush and many other presidents is because Obama was a foreign exchange student. This is his “gut belief”. This guy doesn’t even have an anonymous source, isn’t that sad?
Here’s my gut belief: Obama got a leg up by being admitted to both Occidental and Columbia as a foreign exchange student.
Conservatives are used to bullying everyone else into compliance with their way of thinking. It’s patriotic to not question the president in 2004; it’s patriotic to say the president isn’t legitimate in 2009. For years now, when they push a narrative, they win. But they’re not winning the Romney tax return narrative, and they’re not going to win it. They can’t handle not being in the driver’s seat, and what really hurts is having to eat Harry Reid’s words every day.
Conservatives’ tenuous dream of using Obama’s college transcripts as a bluff is going to be a big fail. They’re stuck with Mitt the wimp, and there ain’t no conspiracy high enough to make it go away. Conservatives are still talking about Mitt Romney’s tax return problem. As Harry Reid said today, Mitt Romney can make this all go away by simply releasing his tax returns.
Irony of the week: Wayne’s “gut” (and Sununu’s “belief”) is good enough for Republicans, but Harry Reid’s source (verified by yet another source) is an outrage.