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“Tax returns for college transcripts” will not work

“Tax returns for college transcripts” will not work

The second Mitt Romney announced he would not release his income tax returns if he becomes nominee I predicted it would not stand because the refusal would, at a minimum, create a major distraction.  It’s part of a larger problem with secrecy which will haunt Romney if he is the nominee.

The most likely scenario is that almost all of Romney’s income is taxed at the 15% long term capital gains rate, playing right into the hands of Team Obama in its Secretaries versus Bosses campaign theme.

Many commenters here believed Romney was setting a trap for Obama to complain, since Romney could say something along the lines of “I’ll release my tax returns when you release your college records….”

And indeed, one of Romney’s sons tried that line yesterday but stepped in it because he demanded not only college transcripts but Obama’s original birth certificate.  Feigned outrage followed, of course, from Team Obama.

The “tax returns for college transcripts” approach will not work.  There are effective ways to question Obama’s narrative, but holding the Republican nominee’s tax returns hostage is not one of those ways.

Romney has run a pretty brilliant campaign so far, so it it hard to understand why he is walking into this dead end alleyway.

The tax returns already have become an issue on which the left-blogosphere and Obama campaign are focusing:


Marshall finds the same issue I did:

So what’s the deal with Romney’s tax returns?  Or more specifically, what’s the deal with Mitt Romney letting himself get more and more nippy press by refusing to release his tax returns when virtually every serious presidential candidate of the last 40 years has done it?  Allow me to explain.

We already know Mitt Romney is a really, really wealthy guy.  But there have been a lot of rich presidential candidates.  And, though he was born to wealth, Romney also made a lot of money himself.  He’s also said he’ll release information about his wealth, his assets … a lot of stuff.  But just not the tax returns.

So what’s the deal?  It’s pretty simple.  We might say that a specter is haunting Mitt Romney — the specter of the Buffett Rule.

There is no worse question for a presidential candidate than “what is he hiding?”

So what is Romney hiding that is worth having the conversation be about his refusal to release income tax returns rather the disaster known as the Obama presidency?


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workingclass artist | December 31, 2011 at 10:13 am

And how is this related to the Stanford Financial Group?

“The story of Solamere offers a rare glimpse into the intersecting worlds of Romney’s business and political operation, which continues to employ Zwick as chief fund-raiser for the 2012 campaign. Although campaign finance specialists say his overlapping missions are permitted by law, some ethics watchdogs say the arrangement presents an appearance that key political contributors could be rewarded with business opportunities…”

this is how it will play out if romney gets the nomination. obama is going to try to prove how we are racists by saying nobody is questioning romneys NBC status (his father has issue ) while they questioned his. he will say its only cause he is black and the white man gets a pass on it.

I won’t vote for paul and I can’t vote for romney. this election may suck, its going to get SUPER heated if romney gets the nomination.

I really don’t know why this is such a big issue. Romney was born rich and has said as much. So what if his tax rate is 15%? Is he breaking the law??? I hardly think so. I don’t think that Romneyland will be the source of any big scandals or surprises for that matter.

Obama OTOH is subject to scrutiny especially since his political roots are part of the Chicago mob culture. He has hung around convicted felons and has even dealt with them. The whole administration is rife with corruption and openly at that.

We are being played for fools and I’m not buying any of it.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to GrumpyOne. | December 31, 2011 at 11:45 am

    The issue is not whether Obama is right in his Secretaries versus Bosses strategy, but why Romney doesn’t want to release his tax returns. Release the returns and then hit back at Obama when he plays class warfare. But not releasing the returns is the worst of all worlds.

The MSM are in the tank completely for Obama and their control-freak versions of “social justice” (read socialism). It does not matter whoever the GOP nominee is, they will try to tear them apart. Class-warfare is their bread and butter, just look at the occupy-your-wallet crowd. I am still hoping that Governor Perry can come third in Iowa and that Conservatives will rally behind him and defeat Romney. Romney needs to put all his information out there and say, “Here’s my tax returns,so what, I worked hard for it, I earned it and I want everyone to pay the lowest taxes possible on every dollar they earn, too”.

Romney has not run a brilliant campaign. He has run a safe campaign. Withholding records is an obvious extension of that, following the rule, “Why give them ammunition that you know they’re going to use?” With “them” in this case being team Obama.

You’re probably right that it’s a bad strategy in this instance but it is completely consistent with the rest of his campaign and, as I’ve just shown, easily explained.

Again, a Romney-bashing post. Sigh. Your last one, accusing Mitt of bashing Newt’s crying, was posted incredibly prematurely and without the proper facts. At least this one appears to have some factual background. You make good points. Let’s not nominate Mitt! He’s going to get attacked for being a businessman! I think I’ve seen the light. Let’s go with Newt. Ain’t nothing the Democrats will be able to attack him for. And even in the outrageous circumstance that there is, Newt has the poise, calmness, and coolness to soberly and unzanily respond!

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Jackson. | December 31, 2011 at 11:43 am

    “Again, a Romney-bashing post.” Accurately assessing a mistake a candidate is making, and advising him not to keep repeating it, hardly is bashing. Bashing would be trying to portray a candidate as crazy and unstable, and we know who has build his campaign around that.

Lets just see how this plays out. Romney is going to release information. It probably will not be good enough for the lefty bombthrowers like TPM or Kos, but who gives a rip.

Has Romney called for a zero cap gains tax? Thats the only way I see this becoming a real problem.

    janitor in reply to Jaydee77. | December 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Has Romney called for a zero cap gains tax?

    I have been wondering about this and related. Romney is not a good potential leader for any tax reform package that will be perceived as being of major personal benefit to him and his family.

OK, I think I’ve got this figured out. Romney is using a little jujitsu here. Assume there’s nothing remarkable on the tax returns other than confirming the fact that he’s richer than God. Mitt’s holding on to his tax returns figuring one of the two following scenarios will have to ensue:

(a) As predicted by Prof. J., there will be mounting calls for the release of the returns, which demands will include increasingly imaginative speculation as to the scandalous contents of said returns. Romney waits for the proper moment (such as when Obama himself alludes to a nutty theory as to what Mitt is hiding), and then releases the return. Everyone is so surprised and embarrassed at the ho-hum nature of the returns, they forget to be outraged at how rich Romney is and that angle loses all of its shock appeal. (Call this the “Geraldo’s Safe” scenario.)

(b) Same as above except, here, Obama and his thugs get so tired and frustrated over waiting for Mitt to release the returns, they leak them themselves, illegally of course. Indictments ensue; echoes of Watergate. Again, Romney comes out smelling like a rose.

Bonus scenario: Romney sweetens his own pot by having donated $30 million to charity the last couple of years, a fact not revealed until he or Obama’s accessories release the returns.

Very odd thing, this. If there’s no trouble in the returns, release them, like every other candidate does. If there is trouble in the returns, better to get it out now while still in the primaries. How did they not foresee that refusal to release would only bring demands of why, that eventually they’d have to release them? A protracted Romney Tax Return Watch, certain to be hyped by the opposition and the media (but I repeat myself), only hurts as people will make their own best guesses as to what Romney’s ‘hiding’. The public imagination will conjure heresies much worse than the likely reality.

Revelation of great wealth is not the issue or concern – everyone knows Romney is majorly rich. Revelation of tax violations might be, but that’s not the deal. I think the Romney camp has misplayed their fear that his tax returns reveal him as a crowned Prince in the Court of the One-Percenters, the perfect foil against whom Obama may hurl endless barrages of class warfare cannonshot.

They were going to do that to Romney anyway, so it appears the Romney team unwittingly built a trap and stepped right into it, a New Years gift to his opposition.

Whether the tax return content is no problem, mild problem, or big problem, the sooner it’s out there the better, now that the negative speculation hounds in media are on it.

My guess is that there’s little extra to worry about in Romney’s tax return, that they’ve overreacted in some way and are now fishing about for an exit strategy.

He’s a rich man, his tax returns will reflect that. I DO NOT CARE! Mittens, just release them! And then challenge the jerk in the WH to release his college records.

Mittens damn better not pull a Mccain and cower as the mainstream media/demonrats hone in on Mittens. I know how ruthless the ABCs, NBCs, CNNs, SeeBSs were in 2008 when I was campainging for Hillary, Mittens better treat the media as part of the demonrat party, because they are!

Release them, and get it over with, I’m a bitter clinging middle class reagan dem, my wealth is probably .0001% of Mittens, I do NOT buy into the classware crap!

   There is no worse question for a presidential candidate than “what is he hiding?”

Let me fix that for you.

   There is no worse question for a Republican presidential candidate than “what is he hiding?”

Romney plans to be the nominee. The republicn establishment plans on Romney being the nominee. They have to know the media will tear Romney apart if he wins the nomination. This could be a carefully crafted plan to make the media focus on this pretty exclusivelyor at least the top of the pile and release the returns during the week before the election thus leaving the media with egg on their faces. I doubt there will be any law breaking in them. He does, after all, hire accountants to do these returns and they have to obey the rules or lose their business and/or go to jail. If he has given a lot to charity, he could compare his giving with obama’s which is probably nil. H*ll, he won’t even help his family living in extreme poverty. The only help he has given them didn’t cost him a dime. It cost us (his aunt and uncle here in the US), you understand, but not him personally.

However, I will go with the theory that obama will leak the returns. He has never been hampered by ethical behavior or the rule of law or, indeed, the Constitution. He uses the office of the president much like Clinton did for personal revenge.

In case anybody wonders, I was talking about obama not helping his family.

I find it hilarious that obama is using class warfare trying to make the rest of the country hate the rich when the whole point of the US freedom and liberty is for everyone to get ahead as much as they can. Everyone in the country is trying to better themelves and become rich if possible. The half that is working, that is. This just shows how dumb the dims think we are. They are tryng to make us jealous of the people who have succeeded and the dummies who fall for this garbage don’t realize that if they become rich, they will be lumped in with the rest of the hated rich.