Methinks Harry Reid may have touched a nerve when he made comments last week saying that an insider at Bain Capital told him that Mitt Romney had paid no taxes at all over the last 10 years, because both Romney and the RNC have responded with a fair amount of vitriol since, with Romney himself telling Reid “to put up or shut up.”
WATCH (story continues below video):
“As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road. I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself. (He) complains about people with money but lives in the Ritz Carlton here down the street,” Priebus said. “So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. And the fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is ridiculous.”
Well, you did just go there. And for the record, Harry Reid isn’t running for president.
It should be mentioned that Mr. Priebus loves to use the “made-up issue” claim whenever defending his party’s actions. He even compared the GOP’s “War on Women” to a “War on Caterpillars.”
Note to Romney and the RNC: this is a very simple issue to clear up, plain and simple, and the more defensive you get about it, the less that’s going to play in your favor, and the longer you wait to refute Reid’s allegations with actual fact – in the form of Romney’s tax returns – the worse it’s going to make you look, because it gives off the impression that Romney is definitely hiding something from voters that they might find…distasteful or unfair or something that might completely turn off voters once and for all.
On her program the other night, Rachel Maddow made a very salient observation about this whole situation after noting Mitt Romney’s war of words with Harry Reid over his tax returns, which was, and I’m paraphrasing: as long as Romney – and the RNC by extension – are duking it out, or “punching down” with Reid they’re losing the argument completely, while at the same time keeping Romney’s secrecy about his finances front and center.
What this does is give voters more time to mull the question of Romney’s tax returns and ask themselves why on earth he doesn’t just release them and nip the accusations in the bud, which in turn creates the question of what’s hiding within those returns that he doesn’t want people to see.
This is a man who’s running for the highest office in the land, and secrecy of this sort does not play well with the electorate. They want to know who they’re voting for, and the longer Romney denies them that, coupled with his ongoing pattern of dishonesty and retroactive corrections, it creates suspicion in the minds of voters, and rightfully so.
Romney could end this controversy anytime he wanted to. All he has to do is release the tax returns. He claims that he’s paid “a lot of taxes,” so why not prove it? Showing how much he’s paid may even garner some sympathy in some circles. But the fact that he remains staunchly opposed to doing such a thing sets off the warning claxon in peoples’ minds, as it should.