Absence of Strategy

Eugene Robinson makes a point that many political junkies are pondering:

Romney has spent the better part of a decade running for president. Did it never occur to him that if he ever won the Republican nomination, surely there would come a time when he was under pressure to release multiple years’ worth of tax returns? Did he think everyone would forget that it was his own father, George Romney, who set the modern standard for financial disclosure? Did he not recall that when he was being considered for the vice presidential nod four years ago, he furnished tax returns spanning more than two decades to the John McCain campaign?

There are two parts to this puzzle. One, of course, is the tantalizing question of what is in those tax returns? The general conclusion at this point is that it must be something really damaging, else why would Romney prefer being criticized for lack of transparency rather than incur whatever criticisms would follow disclosure.

The second part of the puzzle is actually more damaging. As Robinson notes, Romney has been running for President for what seems like forever–surely he and his campaign staff knew he’d be asked to provide tax information that has become a routine and expected part of candidate disclosures. In the decade he’s been running, he surely could have tailored his taxes so as to avoid major issues when they were ultimately made public. This lack of foresight is ultimately more troubling than whatever tax avoidance or other issue might emerge from disclosure of his tax returns.

Among the qualifications for the nation’s highest office, an ability to think strategically–to see the likely long-term consequences of a course of action, and plan accordingly–is vitally important.

If a candidate can’t even think ahead sufficiently to act in his own self-interest, how can we trust him to steer a course for the country?


  1. Eugene is so smart. Love him to death.

    Romney is giving us all the finger. And he thinks it’s a winning strategy. This weekend he said: “We’ve released all we’re going to release.” In other words: I’m rich, get over it, move on.

  2. For me, it’s not his tax returns I want to see. I will continue to support the President’s plan for America.

    I am more interested in getting a new Congress. I’m hoping it will be better than the current one. I want all of these tax loopholes removed. Romney getting a $77k tax deduction for his pet horse is more than I ever made in one year working. We need to rewrite our tax system and we need a congress that will do it.

  3. What kind of bubble does Mitt Romney live in that these kind of completely foreseeable critiques and questions seem to catch him off-guard?

  4. The wealthy in this country live by their own set of rules and laws. Rule No. 1: Ignore all rules and laws which other people must follow. Rule No. 2: When in doubt, refer to Rule No. 1.

  5. If Mitten can present 23 years of IRS returns to Sen McCain as part of his Job Application just 4 years ago, then as part of his Job Application to work for the American People, he should be willing to provide us with the same material he shared with Sen McCain. Otherwise, there is no possible way we can trust this man.
    Also: Attn former John McCain staffers:
    Where are the spicy bits that kept you from selecting Mitten 4 years ago?
    Calling Woodward & Bernstein.

  6. Mitten is smitten…with his own sense of extreme wealth and importance. When I think of him, I think of the old adage: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS.” Got it, Mitten, we totally got it! Just go count your money/houses/dressage horses/yachts/offshore accounts (if you can find them).

  7. With you 100%. How much were both President Obama and former Governor Romney thinking ahead in not sharing the personal records that would be expected of an FBI applicant (versus the most powerful position in the Western world): birth, education, and finances among them.

    If they would both be upfront with all records and allow voters to make our evaluations, we could move on to decide whose experience and policy positions are best suited to fix our problems.

  8. I have enjoyed taxation, without representation for many years now. Perhaps “Mittens” (As other press outlets have suggested) has enjoyed several years of representation without taxation.

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