A Tweet I read yesterday took me here. If you don't want to look for yourself (and I can hardly blame you), it's an article weighing the pros and cons of Mitt Romney releasing his tax returns.The article concludes that yes, he should (and yes, he should), but for reasons that sane people would find rather bizarre. When I read this one, though, I didn't know whether to fall out of my chair laughing or throw up in my wastebasket:
3) Bad optics -- for them: Romney is a boy scout who has lived a life of great personal rectitude. He strikes me as a dot-every-I-and-cross-every-T sort of fellow. He's also a man of guiding and grounding faith. I am confident that his affairs are all in virtually perfect order, and that they do not contain the knock-out blow Team Obama is hoping for. When the records become public and there isn't much there, Democrats will look silly, petty and desperate for harping on the issue for weeks on end.
OK, I'll buy the part about being a Boy Scout. When I was in the Boy Scouts, a group of older boys lured me to the end of a dock on the pretext of showing me a swimming animal, and pushed me into the incredibly polluted Maumee River on a chilly evening in October. The scoutmasters laughed along with them, did nothing about it, and I was sick for a week. Of all the memories I have about the Boy Scouts, that's the one that best defines the organization for me.
Let's read on. If my vocabulary were a little weaker, I might think "rectitude" had something to do with "rectum" and agree that Romney has, or is, a lot of it. But "guiding and grounding faith?" Oh for the love of God, do these people actually believe that? I suppose if they do, then they would believe the rest of it. Well, actually, they may have a point. I suspect his affairs are in perfect order vis-a-vis the U.S. tax code, or he'd be so up to his ass in IRS auditors that he wouldn't have time to run for President for pete's sake.
The knockout blow Team Obama may be looking for in Mittens's returns probably runs along the lines Greg Sargent speculated about yesterday. Romney quite possibly paid little or no taxes in 2009 and other years, thanks to a tax code that is so heavily rigged in favor of the wealthy that a multimillionaire like him can get by paying less in federal taxes than a single mom working two jobs to pay the rent on a broken-down two-bedroom apartment.
This is a tax code that Romney would change so that Mom gets to pay even more to subsidize people like him. No wonder he doesn't want to release his returns.
Rectitude. Interesting word.