Friday, August 3, 2012

Harry Reid's Brilliance, Part 2

Accurate representation of Reid's charisma
I actually really like Harry Reid, the current Senate Majority Leader (D-NV). Although he has the charisma of the plank of wood upon which my keyboard sits, Senator Reid is an extremely skilled politician. Just check out the way he's been attacking Mitt Romney about not releasing his tax returns. Reid has claimed that a Bain Capital investor informed the Senator that "he didn't pay any taxes for 10 years". Reid later informed the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he has "had a number of people tell me that [Romney paid no taxes for 10 years]."

But why is this brilliant? The Romney campaign's consistent refusal to release his tax returns is something that has allowed extremely wild and insane speculation over what Mitt Romney is hiding. The GOP's presumptive nominee has avoided releasing any tax returns save for the last year (partially) to date, and as a result, anyone can fill the gap. Romney's been attacked by fellow Republicans quite heavily for failing to release his tax returns - a practise made famous by George Romney (R-MI, R-Romney's father) when he ran for the Republican Party nomination for president in 1968.

What Reid has done here is carefully put forward the absolute worst-case scenario for the Romney team. If Romney paid no taxes for a ten year period, that would suggest some extreme manipulations of the tax codes to suit his needs. It would also set him apart from the vast majority of Americans, most of whom pay income tax or payroll tax. The idea of the super-rich paying nothing is completely repugnant to most independents, who tend to be middle-class voters. Reid's allegations are baseless, but because there is no reality with which to refute them, there doesn't need to be any bases for him at all. If Romney loses in November, the tax returns will be pointed, quite rightly, towards as one of the major reasons why Joe Public doesn't trust Mitt Romney.

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