Mitt Romney’s a frog in a pot of water. It’s slowly being warmed and he can’t jump out to save himself. We’re all watching him slowly boil. Harry Reid is the US Senate Majority Leader, a Democrat who is a very quiet man. He spent last weekend being demonised by the Republican right for saying Mitt Romney paid no taxes for 10-years. But Harry still controls those stove knobs.
There could have been four or five new Republican/GOP pivot memes yesterday. The one that continues to stick though is taxes courtesy of this largely ignored statement by former Obama press secretary Joe Gibbs asking Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union:
“Candy, it’s a time-honoured tradition that Presidential candidates release their tax returns. And the standard was set by Mitt Romney’s own father who said “don’t put out 1 or 2 years because those can end up being an anomaly.” And he put out somewhere around 12 years. …but mitt Romney gave John McCain 23 years of tax returns in order to be the tryout for Vice President where John McCain picked Sarah Palin.
If 23 years is good enough to show John McCain so that Mitt Romney can be Vice President of the United States… how come only two years is appropriate when you want to be the President of the United States?
Candy we could put all this stuff to rest tomorrow, Mitt Romney can go to Kinkos, he can photocopy his tax returns, they’re several hundred pages. He can hand them out to people like CNN, he can hand them out to reporters all over the country and you know what, we wouldn’t talk about this tomorrow. We wouldn’t say: is he paying taxes? What’s he paying? The whole world would know exactly what loopholes he is taking advantage of and what his taxes are.”
As Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid is a man who never, ever raises his voice. He stands in the well of the US Senate floor like a proper British patrician (from Nevada) and measures every… single… syllable. A few weeks ago he was “very angry.” The rest of us watching wondered when he would alert the rest of his body and voice to that anger.
Late last week quiet Harry Reid, the only member of the Democratic Party who could effectively make this claim, said to The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein (and again a day later in a floor speech) that his contact, a Bain investor, told him, “the reason Romney cannot release his tax returns is that he has not paid any taxes for 10 years.”
Cue the instant GOP outrage machine. This is an experienced group of SPIN-meisters who have FOX reporters on speed dial and would advance any anti-Obama meme. Whether it was: full on Kenyan, Muslim ‘birther’ to socialist destroyer, voter ID protects integrity (vs suppress the vote) to the war on women and he’s just foreign to he’s un-American and does not understand the American Dream, nothing stops this lie spinning propaganda machine. It launched its full-throated fury for FOX News and has been in heated overdrive trying to get Harry to recant his story, apologise, back down or otherwise it will destroy his credibility.
Yesterday a shrill RNC Chairman Reince Preibus called him “a dirty liar” before trying to pivot to all the above mentioned memes.
Harry Reid has not budged and late Friday Night CNN’s Dana Basch spoke to Reid’s source pronouncing him ‘credible’ on the Mitt Romney paid no taxes for ten years assertion.
The GOP tried desperately to pivot all weekend. They lied and made-up a faux Veterans voting controversy (ironically to try and hide to hide their own suppression activities overturned Friday in Ohio and likely this week again in Pennsylvania), claimed Obama was “foreign” and “out-of-touch” and tried to push a permanent 8%+ jobless rate under Obama if re-elected meme whilst Mitt claimed (without any supporting detail because as a Republican you don’t need to) that he would “create 12 million jobs in his first term” (by pulling them out of his a**?).
Guess what story still dominated? Mitt and his refusal to release his taxes.
Mitt Romney, instead of laughing and ignoring him instead told Harry “it’s time to put up or shut up.” Harry just smiled because he knew the bait was too irresistible. Romney’s Achilles Heel is to attack his mendacity and multiple positions, his religion or call him what he is, a liar.
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Friday forensically detailed step-by-step, how in 2002 when running for Governor of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Romney tried the same tack as Harry Reid to attack HIS Democratic challenger’s husband’s unreleased tax returns. The problem was her husband was not running AND Romney promised to but refused to release his own tax returns and he was caught in a lie in his own returns.
Ed Rollins, a highly respected Republican strategist looked ashen on Sunday saying “he’s got to release more tax returns.”
But Professor Juan Cole’s Informed Comment blog laid out the case in detail:
As for the Romney campaign, you know things aren’t going well when Rachel Maddow finds old footage of you demanding that Ted Kennedy release his tax returns for the then senate race.
Romney demanded Kennedy release his tax returns, saying the veteran senator needed to “prove he [had] nothing to hide…” and adding, “It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes…”
You know things aren’t going well when 52% of respondents in polls say that they just don’t like you personally.
You know things aren’t going well when your remarks about why Palestinians are poor are contradicted by a Palestinian billionaire.
You know things aren’t going well when your most visible billionaire superpatron is a casino mogul under investigation for alleged money-laundering.
You know things aren’t going well when economists look into your tax plan and find you are a reverse Robin Hood, taking money from the middle class and giving it to the billionaires.
You know things aren’t going well when your claims to have been a poor missionary in France are contradicted by old buddies who say you stayed in a mansion with a chef and servant.
So here we are, 92 days from the election and with 2,184 hours of cable news to fill. Yes, that is blood dripping from your ear lobes. If you think this is bad? You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.
Denis G Campbell is the author of 6 books including 'Billionaire Boys Election Freak Show,' 'The Vagina Wars' & 'Egypt Unsh@ckled.' He is the editor of UK Progressive Magazine and provides commentary to the BBC, itv Al Jazeera English, CNN, MSNBC and others. His weekly 'World View with Denis Campbell' segment can be heard every Thursday on the globally syndicated The David Pakman Show. You can follow him on Twitter via @UKProgressive and on Facebook.
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