Is It Toast For Romney?: Presidential Politics of Lies and Deception

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[Speaking Truth To Power]

Presidential pretender Mitt Romney has been bobbing and weaving from allegations he’s hiding something from the American people by refusing to show his tax returns.

Is Mr. Romney’s refusal an admission that he’s engaging in lies and deception?

For the last week, Mr. Romney has been faced with unrelenting scrutiny regarding the lack of transparency relating to his tax returns. So far, the former Massachusetts governor has only turned over his tax returns for 2010—absent parts relating to foreign investments. Moreover, he is steadfastly refusing to hand over previous tax returns.

In fact, on Thursday, Mr. Romney—during an interview with the National Review—said this: “My tax returns that have already been released number into the hundreds of pages. And we will be releasing tax returns for the most current year as soon as those are prepared." And he add, "In the political environment that exists today, the opposition research of the Obama campaign is looking for anything they can use to distract from the failure of the president to reignite our economy. And I’m simply not enthusiastic about giving them hundreds or thousands of more pages to pick through, distort, and lie about.”

But many agree he must turn over more tax records to protect his credibility in his run for the presidency and silence the voices of those who feel he is hiding something from the American people. It’s a sentiment even some Republicans and conservatives are now echoing—especially, since, Mr. Romney insists he has nothing to hide.

Here’s what several of them had to say, regarding Romney’s tax return problem.

Former Republican Chairman Michael Steele said "If there's nothing there, there's no 'there' there, don't create a 'there.' Put out as much information as you can. Even if you don't release 12 years worth of tax returns, at least three, four, five."

Republican strategist and former Newt Gingrich advisor Rick Tyler said “Mitt Romney had an opportunity to answer these questions during the primary," and that "he did not answer these questions and now they're coming up again." Only Romney can provide that information or "we'll just have drip, drip, drip to November," he concludes.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) said “"I think he should release his financial records and I think if he does it in July it would be a lot better than in October. He also added that, "whenever you are asking for the vote of the American people you need to fully disclose what your holdings are, if you have any."

Bill Kristol, conservative commentator and editor, said “He should release the tax returns tomorrow. This is crazy," and that "you've got to release 6, 8, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two. Then give a serious speech.”

Commentator Matthew Dowd commented "There is obviously something because if there was nothing there he would say have it...But I think the bigger thing is, its arrogance. Many of these politicians think I can do this, I can get away with this." And legendary conservative thinker George Will had this to say: "The costs of not releasing the returns are clear, therefore he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them." Mr. Will’s observation—followed by those of Mr. Dowd—is clearly, the most prescient point here. Indeed, what are these “higher costs” Mr. Romney “calculated” that made him decide not to release more of the tax returns?

Well, it’s obviously about the money isn’t it? Because, from the little we know, he has been paying a far less percent in taxes than many working Americans—the very people he claims he understands and can provide jobs for better than President Obama. Apparently, he knows his true tax returns would turn that notion upon its head.

For months, Mr. Romney has been maneuvering, spin doctoring and lying in his great ambition to become president. Now, the reality is: most American politicians have an aversion for the truth. Unfortunately, this is, partly, because American politics is corrupted by the influence of big money—a situation made worse by the Supreme Court’s wretched Citizen’s United Decision.

if there was a Pinocchio award for politicians, Mr. Romney’s mendacity would easily take first prize.  But instead of his nose growing, it’s Mr. Romney’s credibility that’s shrinking. How can anyone who wants to be president refuse to show such records? Aren’t these the very people who often wax eloquently about democracy? Doesn’t this make a mockery of the idea of full transparency?

Ever since Mr. Obama became the nation’s first Black president, many people who identify as Republicans and conservatives have continually raised questions about President Obama’s birth papers. For example, Romney supporter Donald Trump is still pushing the retrograde racist “Birther” conspiracy rant—about President Obama being a foreigner.

One has to wonder: why aren’t these same principled people hooting and hollering about Mr. Romney’s decision to conceal his financial papers? These people—we’ll get to Mr. Romney’s wife’s comments in a second—always find themselves in these kinds of hypocritical conundrums. If President Obama had to be treated like an illegal immigrant—just because of his Black skin—by being forced into an unprecedented presidential indignity, then why shouldn’t Mr. Romney show us his tax returns?

There seems no doubt Mr. Romney is worried about tax avoidance tricks, and the like, in his tax returns—as well as what they’ll reveal about his foreign investments. However, he, probably, also knows closer scrutiny will lead to more curiosity about his other financial dealings. There are other things the electorate might well want to know like: what is the extent of Mr. Romney’s off shore finances? How much assets does he have in tax shelters, tax havens and other things like these “blind trusts?”

The truth is: the answers to all those questions may well cause his presidential candidacy to implode. Think of it: aren’t Republicans and conservatives the ones always preaching about American exceptionalism within isolationist rhetoric?

Mr. Romney himself has, repeatedly, railed about “European-style socialism.” So, how can he then release financial forms that may link him with massive foreign investments in these same countries? That would definitely undercut his message to the American people and illustrate that he’s part of the greedy one percent—that the Occupy Wall Street Movement warns about.

And now we come to the comments of Mr. Dowd—and those of Mrs. Ann Romney. Mr. Dowd, correctly, talked about the “arrogance” of “many of these politicians.” On Thursday, Mrs. Romney said this: “We've given all [that] you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life.”

In other words, is the presumptive First Lady telling us to mind our damn business, as it relates to their finances? Her statement suggests the Romneys won’t comply with the request to turn over more tax returns. This surely seems like impetuous impudence from someone who expects the American people to give them the keys to the White House come November.

In the final analysis, Mr. Romney, by refusing to turn over his financial statements, is doing the same thing he’s has done in regard to serious policy matters: he’s telling us to trust him—even, while he hides pertinent facts. This is unacceptable for someone who expects to become president in November.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

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