The demand is growing for Mitt Romney to disclose the 23 still-secret tax returns he turned over to the McCain campaign in 2008. Don't worry. If the unpleasant details aren't released by Romney soon, they will almost certainly be bannered as "breaking news" by a leading newspaper or television network, sourced from "well-placed Republicans" who supported McCain in 2008.
The Romney campaign raises profound questions for voters and the media. Voters do not like or trust Mitt Romney. Political commentators should thoughtfully consider why. The presidency is the most important job in the world. Commentators should question whether Romney's career suggests that he possesses the qualifications of political integrity, compassion for all Americans, and decisiveness of command to be president and commander in chief.
Jon Huntsman called him the well-lubricated weathervane. Rick Perry, among others, has called him a vulture. More than one senior figure in his party has accused him of lying. Several GOP primary opponents said he cheated in dirty campaign ads. A growing list of Republicans have called on him to disclose his tax returns. Primary opponents warned he could be hiding harmful truths therein. His own staff called him the Etch A Sketch candidate. These are serious charges. They come from Republicans.
The matter of Romney's youthful bullying is important, not because of his youthful indiscretions but because of the lessons he might have learned from the episode that are reflected in his public life. What kind of bully needs a group of pals to pin down the victim while he imposes his cruelty?
Why was Romney not more severely punished by his exclusive school? Did he learn that if you have a rich and powerful father, you play by special rules for those with money, and that the only thing that matters is to say and do anything to get what you want?
Mitt Romney's brief governorship is no qualification for the presidency. He was one of the worst job-creating governors in the nation. His health care law, which he celebrated alongside Ted Kennedy, was a model for the Obama program. Now Romney runs away from his health care law faster than an Olympic sprinter. He did not run for reelection. He would probably have been defeated by a Democrat.
In business, we know Romney made handsome profit from firms that outsourced American jobs. We know he exploited offshore opportunities in Swiss banks, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. We know Romney has disclosed fewer tax returns than any presidential candidate in decades. He plays by special rules. What is he hiding?
The presidency is different. Any politician can say the president should not kill bin Laden in Pakistan. But with America facing great danger, only the commander in chief can push the button to order the kill. President Obama did. Mitt Romney would not have, if he believed what he proposed.
The presidency is different. Obama made the big call to save the auto industry and countless jobs in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa and other states. Romney denounced him. When it worked brilliantly, Romney deceitfully claimed credit.
Romney was for abortion rights. Now he would overturn Roe. Romney was for gay rights. Now he is against. Romney claimed credit for the mandate. Then he denounced it. Romney said it was not a tax. Now he says it is. Except when Romney does it. Then it isn't.
Romney said he was to the left of Ted Kennedy. Then he was to the right of Newt Gingrich. Romney slandered Rick Perry when Perry was humane about immigration. Now Romney hugs Marco Rubio. But he does not support the Rubio proposal. Even Rubio no longer champions the Rubio proposal. Cowardice is contagious.
On the matter of whether women should receive equal pay, Romney takes both sides in the same sentence!
I rest my case.
A version of this column was originally published at The Hill.
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