Saturday, January 21, 2012

Death, Mittens' and Taxes... What doesnt fit?

You have to admire Mittens'. He’s the Charlie Brown of this election and more so than any other election to my recollection. Here is a guy teetering on the edge (of what feels like has been years) of being anointed the Republican nominee; and all he does is have the football pulled out from underneath him at almost every turn. The problem is it’s not Lucy doing it. Lucy (the Establishment) has been there the whole time. Mitt himself is the one who is doing the tripping.  

Everyone from the media - to the Democrats - to the Establishment moderate Republican base all wants Mitt Romney. He looks the part; he would be the opposite of President Obama in background and job experience. Romney could be a brand name; in the Bush and Clinton mold. His father was a Governor and he has kids involved in politics; he's the Manchurian Candidate. So why can’t he close the deal?

“I don’t know how many years I’ll release,” said Romney over-top of a booing crowd. Romney pauses then puts on his best presidential smile. “I’ll release multiple years, I don’t know how many years.” 

Look no further than the issue surrounding his taxes for a perfect example of why. Romney has always been known for doing or saying whatever pleases whomever he is standing in front of. Or whomever his handlers inform him of who is in needing of some spooning. That’s why his insistence to not reveal his taxes is incredibly uncharacteristic of Mr Romney. It’s got him booed in the debates. Its gotten him beat up on the trail. And it justified or not, cemented people’s views of him being an elite-out of touch-aristocrat.

Mittens’ own father, former Michigan Governor George Romney, released 12 years of taxes during his 1967 presidential bid. Mittens’ is on record in the Boston Globe, in 1994 calling out Ted Kennedy for not releasing his taxes: “It’s time the biggest-taxing senator in Washington shows the people of Massachusetts how much he pays in taxes.” And Romney won’t release his taxes?

This is a guy who everyone knows to be a flip flopper. He has changed his positions unlike anyone since the day of YouTubes inception. Why, considering the heat… considering his past demands for his opponents to release them… considering his own father felt it a need to be transparent. Romney has always preferred political expedience above everything else including character; why not simply release them?

I see it either or both two ways:

  1. His tax rate. Romney is said to worth anywhere between 90-250 million. Gingrich for example showed income of 3.1 Million in 2010 and paid 31% of it to taxes. If Romney is using the 15% Capital gains tax; it would mean he is paying half the tax rate of say a Newt Gingrich who is worth considerably less. That wouldn’t fly in this economy nor would it do much to divorce him from the picture of him being an elitist taking advantage of loopholes (regardless if they are legal).

  1. Romney wants to just get to Super -Tuesday and then coast. Thus wrapping up the nomination and then promptly releasing his returns in April long after the dust is settled. Romney knows he isn’t a conservative, thus getting out of this vetting process will (in his eyes) be his biggest hurdle because he knows the Republicans will choose him over President Obama. Its then, when Romney’s true strengths will take over. His blend of moderate ideals coupled with his keen business acumen can go head to head with Obama in where the election will be won and lost. In that 15-20 percentile of independent voters.
Just one problem with his strategy, he has hit his ceiling. We now know he didn't win Iowa, only won New Hampshire because he lives there and now he looks like he will lose South Carolina. We could be witnesses to a meltdown of epic proportions. One that has been years in the making.

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