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Joe McCarthy
Speculating on what's in Romney's tax returns
is exactly like doing what this bully did. Riiiiiiight.
Mitt Romney's campaign staff wants desperately to make their candidate's failure to release his tax returns about something—anything—other than his failure to release his tax returns.

So in the never-ending quest to change the subject, senior adviser and chief bully Eric Fehrnstrom has now turned to linking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with noted Republican bully and witch-hunter Sen. Joe McCarthy. Reid attracted Fehrnstorm's ire for saying that a Bain investor (who he would not name) has told him that Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years.

Outrageous, Fehrnstrom told Fox News.

“This reminds me of the McCarthy hearings back in the 1950s,” Eric Fehrnstrom said on Fox News. “And it was another son from Massachusetts, Joseph Welch, who finally asked the question that should be asked of Harry Reid, which is, ‘Have you no sense of decency, sir?’ Is there nothing that you won’t do in the name of dirty politics? I think it’s just shameful.” [...]

“I’m telling you, authoritatively, speaking on behalf of the governor, that those charges are untrue,” said Fehrnstrom, a longtime Romney aide. “They’re baseless.”

Fehrnstrom hasn't yet appended the McCarthyism label to the growing list of Republicans calling upon Romney to release his tax returns, a list that includes the editors of the right-wing National Review Online. Maybe that's because the latter would not be upset to be called McCarthyists since the publication's founding editor, the late William F. Buckley Jr., staunchly defended the senator for his destructive attacks on political dissidents.

The bullying has not sent Sen. Reid into retreat. Again Thursday, without naming names, he told reporters in a phone call:

I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination. I have had a number of people tell me that. [...]

I don't think the burden should be on me. The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn't he release his tax returns?

Bingo.

Team Romney should stop treating these requests as persecution. Next thing you know, Fehrnstrom will be invoking Torquemada. Abu Ghraib. Gitmo.

Romney has presented a lot of simple answers to complex questions. Fix the economy by cutting taxes. Maintain national security by adding a couple of trillion dollars to military spending. Deal with the federal budget by axing social programs. In the case of defusing all the talk about what is in his tax returns, however, there really is a simple answer: Let us all see them. Why should John McCain be the only one who gets that privilege?

The campaign should view the matter positively. Make a big splash. Releasing the returns now could actually help Romney. After all, what's in them surely couldn't contain anything worse than the possibility Reid has already injected into the public's mind.

Or could they?

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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