Listen, Mitt, I gotta tell you how things work in the real world – you know, the world you don’t inhabit, but the world that 98% of the country lives in (that would be the world where there are no car elevators or offshore accounts and we wear cheap rain slickers to Nascar races, if you’re wondering). Here’s a fer’instance: Some guy accuses me of, say, stealing his wallet. I say, no, I didn’t steal your wallet. Check my pockets, check my backpack, we were standing right here together when your wallet was stolen, but I didn’t steal it. So he checks my pockets, checks my backpack, comes up empty and says, gee, sorry, I was wrong, you really didn’t steal my wallet. You proved to me you’re innocent by turning your pockets inside out and emptying out that backpack.
With me so far? See where I’m going with this?
Savvy pol Harry Reid claims that you haven’t paid income taxes in, like, ten years (and in case you’re still in the dark, that’s the part where I’m accused of stealing a wallet). You (and your surrogates) say, you, Harry Reid, are a liar, have you no decency, sir? I/he really did pay taxes for ten years (and that’s the part where you offer proof). Here, I’ll prove it to you, you say: Here are my tax returns, ten years worth. See? I paid a tax rate of, oh, 8% on my 250 mil for ten years. And then Harry Reid says, okay, wow, I must have gotten some bad info. My bad. You still suck because you only paid a tax rate of 8% on $250 mil, but I still owe you an apology for the false accusation. Harry Reid and the Dems look pretty bad, and you look smug and self-righteous (which is, actually, your normal look).
But see, Mitt, you have to lose the smug/self-righteous thing, because you’re missing a step or two in the “proof” scenario, and we all know, as nakedly ambitious as you are, you wouldn’t let a chance to tarnish the Dems escape you. See, when you get your surrogates, like RNC Chair Reince Priebus, to go out on ABC and call Harry Reid a “dirty liar” for saying you didn’t pay taxes for ten years, there’s gotta be some sort of “check my backpack and pockets” to follow it. If I had just said, look, I didn’t steal your wallet, take me at my word, I ain’t showing you shit, well, in the real world, that wouldn’t have worked out well for me.
And it’s not working out for you in your world either, Mitt.
There’s something monstrous in your tax returns, Mitt. Monstrous. You either didn’t pay taxes, paid a lower rate than your shoe shine guy, left Bain way, way after you swore on oath and told the American public you did, stashed money all over far-away islands with no disclosure laws, or took a $98,000 tax deduction for your pet hamster. There’s something.
The charges that you didn’t pay taxes are “baseless” and “untrue,” says your spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom (of course, he’s also the guy who dubbed you the “Etch-A-Sketch” candidate, so maybe he’s not the guy to watch on this). RNC Chair Reince Priebus’ only response was to call Harry Reid a “dirty liar” with no further evidence (of course, he’s the guy who said the tax return issue is just a “shiny object” for the Obama camp, ignoring the majority of the voting public who want to see those tax returns, so maybe he’s not the guy to watch, either). Fox News’ Chris Wallace (no explanation where he stands is required) claims that no matter what you do, it’ll never be enough to satisfy the rapacious, greedy, go-for-the-jugular vultures on the left, i.e., Dems. Maybe so, maybe so, but come on, Mitt – give us a chance, at least, to prove to you that we’ll be satisfied with ten years worth. Or, tell ya what, just give us 1999-2003 (the years you say you weren’t but might have been at the helm of Bain Capital) and 2009-2011 (the years uber-rich folks took a financial hit and probably wrote off, well, like all their income as a loss and paid no taxes). I can live with eight years.
Twenty Republicans (neo-con Bill Kristol, George Will, Rick Perry, Haley Barbour, Michael Steel and the National Review among them) seem to, at least on this issue, live in that real world, Mitt, where your rejoinders of “you’re a liar” and “shut up” and “I know you are but what am I” and “put up or shut up” doesn’t carry much political weight. They want you to release those elusive tax returns. Ed Rollins joined the chorus this weekend, saying that, obviously, two years isn’t enough. 56% of your voting public, Mitt, think you should release them (and, it might be worth noting, some of your own base is included in that number). As conservative George Will noted, what’s in those returns has got to be more monstrous (okay, he didn’t say monstrous, but I am) than the political hits you’re taking from all sides by sitting on ’em.
Empty out the Brooks Brothers pockets, Mitt. Dump the contents of that Gucci backpack right on the table where we can see them. “I paid a lot of taxes” just isn’t cutting it any more. A National Review editorial noted, “. . . [H]e’s a politician running for the highest office in the land, and his current posture is probably unsustainable.”
Yup, Mitt, I’d say this shit just got real.