Wow. I honestly never expected to see anything like this in Newsweek. Certainly not on the cover. And especially nothing of this sort that had been written by a professor of history at Harvard who is also a senior research fellow at Oxford. Such people typically cluster around the likes of . . . well, Barack Obama.
Of course, there’s still some lingering Obama-veneration out there. (Technically, I believe it should be called hyperdulia. I respectfully disagree with those who contend that it’s actually crossed the line over into actual latria.) Here, for instance, is a peculiarly amusing instance of it.
Though, just today, he finally met for a few minutes with actual news correspondents, Mr. Obama has spent weeks and weeks and weeks avoiding serious questions from serious reporters (while routinely opening himself up for fawning and shallow interviews with lightweight entertainment shows, etc.). But he and his surrogates have remained focused like a laser on the pressing matter of Mr. Romney’s tax returns:
This is, obviously, a bogus issue.
The Obama campaign is attempting to insinuate, without really saying so (which might be legally actionable), that Governor Romney may have committed a crime by paying the taxes that he did, and, if not, that he certainly should have paid more taxes than he was legally obligated to pay. Yet, if there were any substantial evidence that such a crime had been committed, one would imagine that the Internal Revenue Service would have been looking into the matter. And does anybody seriously think that anyone has a moral obligation to chip in more in federal taxes than the law actually requires?
The real point, of course, is to attempt to highlight Mr. Romney’s wealth — and, thereby, to accentuate his Otherness — and, if possible, to tie him and his campaign up in endless explanations and justification of this or that item in his tax returns or his income. Recently, the Obama campaign indicated that, if Governor Romney would just release, oh, five years of his tax returns, they would have nothing more to say on the subject. But, of course, if what they’ve been vocally claiming in the wake of the Obama Super PAC’s suggestion that Mitt Romney is personally responsible for the death of steelworker Joe Soptic’s wife from cancer is true, they don’t, can’t, control what their pro-Obama fellow travelers say and do — which means that this promise is precisely worthless.
The tax returns of a very rich man are likely to be quite complex. And it may very well be that he has substantial accounts in various tax shelters and overseas — as any prudent person with the means and with competent financial advisors is likely to have. There would, in other words, be enough in Mr. Romney’s tax returns, even if (as seems overwhelmingly likely) they have been legally and competently prepared, to keep him off balance and off message from now until the election — and, thus, to distract the attention of the electorate from Mr. Obama’s disastrous economy, from high rates of unemployment, from the financial catastrophe that looms on America’s horizon, and from the Obama administration’s policy stance (nicely summarized in the image immediately below) regarding the impending collapse of Medicare and related entitlement programs. The Romney campaign is right to refuse this cynical invitation from the Obama attack machine.