Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mitt Romney's "born in Kenya" problem

Psssst! Pass the word: It is widely rumored that for eight years during the ‘80s and ‘90s, Mitt Romney paid no taxes.

Not a dime.

When he did pay, his tab was miniscule, thanks to accounts in the Cayman Islands and Swiss banks.


I don’t know, but pass the word, unfounded as it is — at least so far. It might force the Romney campaign to reveal a very different Mitt Romney from the one concocted for public consumption.

Remember how the Right-wing "Birthers" spread the rumor that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and hence ineligible to be President? It took the President’s Hawaiian birth certificate to put an end to the guilty-until-proven-innocent campaign.

Since The Right seems to accept the tactic as legitimate, could it be time to use it  to smoke out Romney’s tax returns?

Ethical  question: Do the ends justify the means?

There are a couple of key differences: the Birthers knew their claim was false. That's not so with the speculation regarding Romney. Moreover, the Birthers sole aim was to spread the rumor and get people to believe it. Here the aim is to get Romney to make his tax returns public in order to get at a truth.

My guess — and it is only a guess — is that the tax returns could well support the allegation.  That’s why Romney has that deer-in-the-headlights look when asked to lay out his tax filings.

Why the reluctance to go public with the returns?

Could it be that if Romney’s returns are ever made available, his pursuit of the presidency will be over?

PS There’s something about all this reminiscent of Leona Helmsley, the billionaire convicted of tax evasion in 1989. She infamously said, “"We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes...."

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