Thursday, July 19, 2012


You may as well start typing your "Shut up, concern troll" comments now, because, while I'm supposed to be beside myself with mixed outrage and glee in response to this, I'm just not with the program:
Ann Romney reaffirmed her husband's insistence that no additional years of tax returns would be released to the public on Thursday morning, arguing that they have already "given all you people need to know."

"He's a very generous person," she told ABC’s Robin Roberts of Mitt Romney. "We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person who is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary in the four years."

"We've given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life," she said.

Why don't I regard this as a significant gaffe? Because it's not a significant gaffe if it doesn't alienate swing voters. And I don't see why it would.

Let's start with the venue. To whom did Mrs. Romney address this? A television news reporter. What do Americans think of television news?

We liberals want to hear this as Ann Romney looking down her nose at us, the peasants. A typical TV viewer would hear it as Ann Romney slapping down a TV reporter. That's not going to hurt her or her husband.

And the rest of the line -- the church donations and not taking a salary as governor -- is just the sort of thing that appeals to a lot of people. Not you. Not me. But a lot of people.

If you're predisposed to find the Romneys highfalutin and arrogant -- hell, I sure am -- this is obnoxious. But if you're on the fence, it's not going to tip you into the hater camp.

Sorry, but I looked at too many poll numbers this morning, and they're showing me that a significant chunk of America thinks that Mitt Romney is a decent fellow and his career would be pretty good preparation for the presidency. I'd love to live in a country where there were fewer people like that. But this is the country I -- we -- live in. So I'm unmoved by this.


: smintheus :: said...

Americans already think Romney should release more tax records. So they'll be predisposed to listen sceptically to excuses like this one. And the specific excuse is both self-contradictory (Mitt is a sweetie pie so his taxes would just make him look bad), and would apply to everybody who ever ran for president including his father (transparency provides fodder for political opponents). I think few voters are going to take Ann Romney's side; in fact, I think she just painted herself as Mitt's coequal in slipperiness.

Steve M. said...

Americans already think Romney should release more tax records.

Well, yeah -- but that USAT/Gallup poll also says they're split on whether the information is relevant to picking a president.

I really wish voters looked at guys like Romney with deep suspicion, but that's not how it's looking right now. A country that elects Rick Scott and Mike Bloomberg at the local level doesn't distrust fat cats nearly enough.

ploeg said...

One mentions that Ann Romney is correct. The public is not entitled to the Romneys' tax returns. The reason why other candidates have released their tax returns is that it was beneficial for these candidates to do so. When a candidate releases tax returns, this act made the candidates' finances crystal clear and removes any questions about said finances early, so that the conversation can move on to other things. When the Romneys say that we are not entitled to their tax returns, I'm fine with that. And when the Romneys say that they are not releasing further information because they will be attacked, I believe them. But they are badly mistaken if they think that this is going away. The rumors about what might be found in their tax returns have been going on for weeks, and if anything, they're going to dominate the conversation so that the main issue of the campaign will be whether Mitt Romney's tax returns show income from fetus incineration, or whether Mitt Romney's tax returns show that he participated in the 2009 tax amnesty, or whether Mitt Romney's tax returns show that he profited from white slavery, etc. etc. etc. The tragedy of this is that there's a miniscule chance that there's nothing to hide and that Mitt is simply being principled for once, but that's not going to stop people from speculating. And that's what's going to kill Mitt with the independents, not simply some feeling that the American people are entitled to see the Romneys' tax returns.

Victor said...

This is double-edge sword that Mitt may be falling on.

Not showing his tax returns will endear him to his base - "Look, Mitt has balls!"
This is something he has to continually do, since they STILL don't trust him - whereas most other Conservative candidates have the leeway to swing back to the center, Mitt has to continually assuage the base that he's a nasty as they want him to be.

But in doing so, his continued lack of disclosure may overwhelm his candidacy.

I KNOW that Mitt DOESN'T want to spell out too closely what he's going to do as President - not give too many details about his and Ryans's Plan, since most people would recoil in horror - but this will also stop him from getting out his other messages across.
The debates may end up being dominated by this - if Obama's smart. And he and his people are.

Because the more, and longer, he tries to keep the returns hidden, and the longer his base and other Conservatives defend him, the longer this stays in the news - and the more people will wonder, "What IS he hiding?"
And President Obama and his people will be right there, fueling that fire.

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