So often these days, we hear complaints about the divisive nature of partisan politics and a longing for a time when candidates were more genial and our politics more civil. Alas, in doing so we seek for the equivalent of the elusive white unicorn, something spoken of in hopeful measures but rarely seen in our nation’s history. Even our Founding Fathers, for whom I have the deepest respect and utmost admiration, were not always paragons of virtue in these matters. For example, the election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two men who had enjoyed fifteen years of friendship “without the smallest interruption,” was, shall we say, a most discourteous one. In the New England states, the Federalists warned that Jefferson was an atheist, and people would have to hide their Bibles should he be elected. By contrast, Alexander Hamilton wrote that Adams was a man of “distempered jealousy…extreme egotism” with an “ungovernable temper” which produced a natural tendency towards “detriment to any cause of which he is the chief…”
Still, an attack ad released last week by Obama surrogates at the super-PAC Priorities Action USA, which essentially implies that Romney is responsible for the death of a man’s wife, show just how deep in the mire Obama (who somehow obtained sealed divorce records of at least two prior opponents, which he used to destroy them) is willing to go to win re-election.
The ad features the bitter and forlorn visage of one Joe Soptic, a steel worker at GST Steel, one of the many companies invested in by Bain Capital. Soptic’s wife died of cancer, and he blames Mitt Romney for her death. With a tone meant to evoke in the viewer sadness for his loss and anger at Romney’s heartless complicity in her death, Soptic laments:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has really sunk to new lows with his accusations of Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years. Supposedly, this is based on an “unnamed Bain insider” who saw Mitt’s returns, but as Doug Mataconis has noted, that’s next to impossible and is utter rubbish. (John Stewart joined in as well, as Jason Pye wrote last week.)
The war over Mitt Romney’s tax returns is getting more bitter by the moment, with a top aide to Senate Majority Harry Reid blasting Republicans as “cowards” and “henchmen” for their attacks on the Nevada Democrat.
“They’re a bunch of cowards, and they’re avoiding the issue,” said David Krone, Reid’s chief of staff, in an interview with POLITICO on Sunday night. “Lindsey Graham, Reince Priebus — they’re a bunch of henchmen for Romney, and they’re all reading off the same talking points. They couldn’t hold a candle to Harry Reid.”
Krone added: “What Harry Reid said is the fact of what he was told. To turn it around, all their childish rants this weekend about calling Reid a ‘liar’ and all that, it just shows you how scared they are that Harry Reid was telling the truth.”
There’s been a lot of nonsense lately over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, with Barack Obama’s “truth team” claiming on Twitter that since Obama has released his forms for the past decade, he is better suited to lead this country. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, has called for them while refusing to give out her own. But she isn’t the only one. From Politico:
Over the past three months, McClatchy Newspapers asked all 535 members of the House and Senate to release their tax records. Only 17 — or just over 3 percent — handed over the documents. Another 19 percent said they wouldn’t release them. The remainder didn’t respond to McClatchy’s request.
While members of the executive branch are expected to release their tax records either while running for office or as part of the vetting process for Cabinet appointments, members of Congress aren’t held to the same standard. While they fill out annual disclosures, those forms aren’t as detailed as a tax return.
Who would have thought Mitt Romney’s tax returns would be a welcome distraction? That’s what happened on Friday, after a week of being beat up for his remarks from a May fundrasier where he said that he’d written off 47% of voters, Romney campaign released his tax returns for 2011 along with a summary of this average tax rate from the previous decade:
Mitt Romney paid $1.9 million in federal taxes in 2011 on income of $13.7 million, an effective rate of 14.1% that reflects the Republican presidential candidate’s dividends, capital gains and other returns that are assessed at some of the lowest tax rates.
Romney’s tax return, which he released Friday, showed that he boosted his effective tax rate by not declaring all of the $4 million in charitable contributions that he made during 2011, instead only reporting $2.3 million. By doing so he stayed consistent with an earlier public statement that his tax rate for the year would not drop below 13%.
That last point about Romney not declaring all of this charitable contributions has made the Left apoplectic. They’re literally upset that Romney paid more in taxes than he was supposed to. Not only that, the substantial charitable giving — Romney gave almost 30% of his income to charity in 2011 and 13.4% from 1990 to 2009 — takes away from the Left’s narrative that he is out of touch.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who baselessly suggested last month that Romney had not paid any taxes in years past, once again slammed Romney over the issue:
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” - Samuel Adams, 1781, Boston Gazette
Nearly a week after primary elections in Georgia, I am still contemplating whether I’m happy or disappointed in the voter turnout. Here in Bartow County, with 50,051 registered voters, only 16,326 (32.6%) came out on Election Day to cast a vote. In Bartow, for all intents and purposes, July 31st was the general election, because we have only two Democrats countywide running for any office, and both are running against immensely popular incumbents. In nearly every race, the winner of the Republican primary will be, by default, the winner in the November elections.
Think about what that means. In a county of approximately 105,000 people, with about 14,500 (89%) of the voters casting ballots on the Republican ticket, the decision as to who will be our next County Commissioner, Tax Commissioner, Sheriff, Chief Magistrate, and Clerk of Court, would all be decided with a mere 7,251 votes cast in their favor; and that assumes every voter cast a ballot in every race, which is not the case. Races representing smaller districts in the county were won with as few as 603 votes cast for the winner.
During a public appearence yesterday in his home state, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was pressed by reporters on his unsubstaniated charge that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid his taxes in 10 years.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Reid didn’t back down from his claim, for which he has absolutely no evidence. Reid once again said that Romney could put it to rest by producing more tax returns. Reporters kept after Reid on the charge, prompting him to snap, saying, “I’ve answered your question.”
He received some backing from ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who told the Huffington Post that because “[s]omebody told [Reid]” that Romney hadn’t paid his taxes that “Harry Reid made a statement that is true.”
On what planet that makes sense is anybody’s guess, but others aren’t so convinced. For example, PolitiFact reviewed the charge and weighed the likelihood that someone earning as much as Romney, and gave Reid their worst rating — “Pants on Fire”:
On Aug. 6, a Reid spokesman confirmed to PolitiFact that the majority leader still maintains the information came from the anonymous Bain investor. Our Truth-O-Meter guidelines say we hold officials accountable to back up their words. By those standards, Reid has not proven his allegation.
Still, we wondered how likely it was that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made unsubstantiated accusations that the reason Mitt Romney only disclosed tax returns dating back to 2010 is because he didn’t pay taxes in years leading up to that point. Despite having no evidence to prove this charge, Reid said the burden on proof was on Romney.
Romney has denied Reid’s claim, saying that the Democratic leader should “put up or shut up.” While the Obama campaign denies that Reid is doing their bidding, they are certainly taking the opportunity to call on Romney to release more tax returns. During an interview on State of the Union, Robert Gibbs told Cindy Crowley, “I’ve never seen anybody jump through more hoops to say…that somebody’s lying, but also to not put out a document that would prove what the real truth is.”
Those of us concerned with the Fast and Furious scandal could make the same point presented by Gibbs, especially after President Obama used executive privilege to keep information from Congress. But I digress.
While some Republicans are hinting that Romney should release more tax returns to put the controversy to rest, others are beginning to fight back against Reid’s frivolous claim:
Yesterday, I noted the absurdity of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s suggestion that Mitt Romney hasn’t paid income taxes in 10 years, which he says is the reason why the soon-to-be-coronated GOP nominee hasn’t released tax returns before 2010. Reid has absolutely no proof of this, mind you. It’s heresay — gossip, if you will.
Reid even admits that he doesn’t know if the accusation is true. As Jon Stewart said on Wednesday night, “If you have to follow your claim with the words ‘I don’t know if that’s true’; then shut up.” Stewart continued, “‘Cause otherwise you might as well put a dead cockerspaniel on your head and start railing about birth certificates”; a reference to Donald Trump, who made has fool of himself by claiming that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate isn’t real.
Sadly, he hasn’t taken Stewart’s free advice. Instead, Reid took his baseless conspiracy theory to the floor of the Senate yesterday:
Mitt Romney’s taxes are once again coming up in the president campaign. With the Congress at a stalemate over whether to extend all current rates for another year and class warfare rhetoric ever-present, this is an issue where President Obama’s campaign and Democrats feel that Romney is vulnerable.
With that, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has taken it upon himself to float a baseless claim that the reason that Romney hasn’t disclosed more of his tax returns is because he didn’t pay any taxes at all:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) claimed Tuesday in an interview that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney refuses to release additional tax returns because he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.
The interview, published Tuesday by The Huffington Post, includes several swipes by the Senate leader at the GOP candidate.
“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said in reference to George Romney’s decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in 1968.
Reid suggested that Romney’s decision to withhold tax information would bar him from ever earning Senate confirmation to a Cabinet post. Then, Reid recalled a phone call his office received about a month ago from “a person who had invested with Bain Capital,” according to The Huffington Post.
Reid said the person told him: “Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”
Among the distractions in the presidential campaign right now are calls for Mitt Romney to release more of this tax returns. He has released returns dating back to 2010, but that isn’t enough for Team Obama and campaign surrogates. They’re now speculating on what he may be hiding, goes so far as to say that he may have broken the law. The media, of course, is also dragging out the story for all it worth.
But during a press conference yesterday, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has called on Romney to release more information about his taxes, became the subject of questions about her own tax returns. The questions came about due to a McClatchy report finding that only handful of members disclose their tax records. Pelosi initially reacted with contempt for the questions, explaining that when she runs for president, the media “can hold [her] to that standard.” But she quickly began downplaying the tax return issue, calling it a distraction:
[W]hile maintaining Romney should release more documents because of “custom” and “tradition,” Pelosi said the issue was trivial compared with economic issues.
“We spent too much time on that. We should be talking about middle-income tax cuts,” Pelosi said after answering two questions about the issue.