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Mitt Romney split screen image—Romney grimacing at Romney
Secrets and lies are these two men's campaign staple.
Back in July, David Axelrod, senior campaign adviser for the Obama campaign, called Mitt Romney "the most secretive candidate we've seen probably since Richard Nixon."

Pretty scary considering what we do know. Romney has, of course, only released two years of tax returns, won't talk about the details of his time at Bain and Bain Capital, his dealings with China or his Swiss and Cayman bank accounts. Most of all he won't explain what he really has in mind when it comes to spending or taxing or how it all fits together logically and logistically.

Then there are the secrets kept concealed by the relentless lying. Romney even lies about his lying.

Brian Beutler writes:

“I think the comparison to Nixon is not a very good one, because … Nixon may have been a shadier character in some respects—the Southern strategy, laundering campaign money—but he abided by the norms of the time in terms of disclosure,” said Norm Ornstein, a political scientist at the American Enterprise Institute. [...]

“I think there’s nobody like Romney,” [said] Ornstein. “Romney is like the Michael Phelps of presidential candidates. if you’re looking for gold medals in terms of audacious lying, and adamant refusal to turn over personal information, nobody comes close. I’m sure others would’ve liked to have done it, but the culture in the past was one where lying attracted some level of approbation and shame.”

Other historians cited by Beutler don't think Romney is that far out of the ordinary at some levels. For instance, presidential historian H.W. Brands the University of Texas-Austin notes that we know far more about Romney's personal life than we did about Jack Kennedy's 52 years ago when the Massachusetts senator was a candidate.

But, although Kennedy played the politicians' usual games with campaign trickery like the non-existent "missile gap" and his personal life had, let us say, some major moral lapses, there was never much doubt where he stood on the issues of the day. Romney, on the other hand, has made himself into an enigma by taking a stand on just about every side of every issue over the past decade. Whether it's gay rights, abortion, immigration, health care, renewable energy, environmental regulations ... the list is interminable.

Two things about Romney, however, are not secret. He will do what it takes to make money the lazy man's way—by demolishing other people's jobs. And he will pretend to be whatever the latest audience wants him to be in order to squirm his way into the White House. If he gets there, the secrets he will keep will be far more consequential than whatever he's hiding in those unreleased tax returns.

Now is our chance to put better Democrats in to the House and Senate. Can't do it without your help.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Oct 29, 2012 at 08:43 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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