ALL DAY today I’ve been listening to talking heads on cable regurgitate the insider media talking point that “faux outrage has turned to real outrage,” especially where Mitt Romney is concerned. For the first time we get an example of what the media was talking about, but it’s neither Mitt Romney or Barack Obama we’re seeing display the anger.
In the “Rock Center” interview, which will be aired in full tomorrow night on NBC, Ann Romney is clearly pissed and it’s not pretty. It never is when a woman digs in and gets defensive for her husband, no matter who the woman may be.
The other point that should be noted is that she’s correct. No matter what the Romneys release they’ll never be able to win the argument.
But as Mitt Romney said himself earlier this year when he was filleting fellow Republicans, there’s no whining in politics, or at least there shouldn’t be. Everyone knows the game in the new media age, so accept it or don’t play.
What I’ve found curious about the Romney tax return issue is that they decided to make an argument against transparency and releasing more tax returns, choosing the defensive posture of offering what’s required by law, but nothing else. Add in Mrs. Romney’s new excuse, which is the more they release, the more they’re attacked, so no more returns, and it doesn’t settle anything and makes them both look worse.
The Romneys had a positive way to pursue the course they chose.
If I was Mitt Romney and didn’t want to share more financial information, I’d argue privacy for not offering anything beyond the legal requirements. Those requirements for candidates are set, to which the Romneys have complied. Just because other candidates have chosen fuller disclosure doesn’t mean it should be the standard. Where is the zone of financial privacy for a political candidate? They’re not elected yet, plus the Romney’s are rich, with most wealthy people very close to the vest on what they earn. It’s a private citizen’s prerogative and a presidential nominee shouldn’t be excluded, as long as he (or she) complies with the law.
The Romneys have made a real error in choosing defense instead of an offensive posture based on privacy. There is a powerful argument to be made that the American public nor anyone else is entitled to anything more from a presidential nominee than what’s required by law.
It may not make everyone happy, but it at least has a grain of principle that some people could understand and even appreciate, even if the real reason is something else.