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Mitt Romney: The Gated Candidate

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The wealthiest Americans often choose to live in gated communities, designed to shield them from the intrusion of those Ann Romney calls "you people."

Now, Mitt Romney is applying that same notion to his campaign for the presidency. He's offering Americans a gated candidate, with whole areas of his record walled off to keep "you people" from knowing about them.

The scope of information gated off is striking and unprecedented in modern presidential politics. Romney insured that records on his stint as Governor and as CEO of the Olympics were scrubbed. He walls off access to his history at Bain, the company he led. Romney refuses to reveal his tax returns. He walls off information about the bundlers who are raising the money for the campaign to whom he will be deeply indebted. Not surprisingly, he stayed mum as Republican Senators torpedoed the legislation to require disclosure of corporate and individual contributors who give more than $10,000 to non-profits now poisoning the airwaves with attack ads.

He is as Maureen Dowd concludes, "hiding in plain sight."

This isn't a partisan concern. Joining a growing roster of Republican leaders, even the reactionary Manchester Union Leader editorialists call on him to reveal his tax returns, saying "maintaining the secrecy creates the impression, justly or not, that there is something to hide." Surely, the editorial goes on to say, Romney "could not have arrogantly believed that he could withstand any storm that developed by bluffing his way through?"

But Romney has chosen to "bluff his way through" not only on his taxes, but on his record and his donors. He clearly has made a calculated cost-benefit analysis, as befits a man from Bain. He believes the benefits of letting Americans know his background are outweighed by the costs likely to be suffered by a wealthy Wall Street predator who pays a lower tax rate than the cops who patrol his streets, is running on a platform that denounces what he did as Governor, has a campaign funded largely by hedge fund operators and Wall Street bankers, and knows what scrutiny of his management of Bain or the Olympics will reveal.

Already, we know from the scrubbed tax returns that by using available tax dodges and off shore tax havens, he pays a lower tax rate than middle income Americans. Already we're learning that Romney's Olympics team outsourced supply of US Olympic uniforms to the brutal dictatorship of Burma (Myanmar).

No wonder Romney figures he loses fewer votes by walling off his record than by revealing it.

He is the perfect tribune of the 1%. The gated candidate.