Friday, August 3, 2012

Reid to Romney: "Whatever You Do, Don't Throw Me In That Briar Patch"

Anyone who has ever watched (the incredibly racist) Song of the South or been on Splash Mountain knows the story of Br'er Rabbit and the Briar Patch: Br'er Fox catches Br'er Rabbit and plans to kill him, Br'er Rabbit says he doesn't care what Br'er Fox does to him as long as he doesn't throw him in the briar patch, Br'er Fox has a cruel streak so he does just that, and then Br'er Rabbit reveals that that's what he wanted all along since he grew up in the briar patch and was safe there.  Now, what exactly does this have to do with Mitt Romney?

For the last few weeks Democrats have been playing a game called "Keep Mitt Romney's Tax Returns In The News."  The game is pretty simple:

  1. Mitt Romney clearly has no intention of releasing his tax returns.
  2. Mitt Romney looks guilty every time he refuses to release his tax returns.
  3. Therefore we should make Mitt Romney refuse to release his tax returns as often as possible.
It's a pretty fun game and it's very good politics.  And in honor of the Olympics, earlier this week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to take it to a whole new level.  In an interview with the Huffington Post, Reid claimed that an anonymous Bain Capital investor told him that Romney didn't pay any taxes for 10 years.  On its face it's an outrageous claim.  Barring actual evidence that he committed tax fraud, the accusation that he paid zero taxes for a decade is certainly the worst thing that could possibly be in Romney's tax returns.  And adding insult to injury, Reid's "source" is ANONYMOUS (and quite likely made up) investor (and why would an investor at Bain Capital know anything about Romney's tax returns anyway).  Why it's almost as if Reid was trying to goad Romney into doing something stupid.

I want to reiterate that it's bad for Romney every time he has to talk about his tax returns.  At this point even releasing them likely wouldn't help him.  His best bet is just to ignore comments like Reid's.  Or he could do this:
"It's time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry's gonna have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course that's totally and completely wrong. It's untrue, dishonest and inaccurate. It's wrong. So I'm looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we'll probably find out that it's the White House."
 When you're desperately trying to avoid releasing documents and are being accused of hiding things, it's probably best to avoid being tricked into saying "it's time to put up or shut up."  Because otherwise, you're going to find out that Br'er Rabbit calls the briar patch "home":
“When it comes to answering the legitimate questions the American people have about whether he avoided paying his fair share in taxes or why he opened a Swiss bank account, Romney has shut up. But as a presidential candidate, it’s his obligation to put up, and release several years’ worth of tax returns just like nominees of both parties have donefor decades." -Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

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