Romney Agonistes

Et tu, NRO?

Romney may feel impatience with requirements that the political culture imposes on a presidential candidate that he feels are pointless (and inconvenient). But he’s a politician running for the highest office in the land, and his current posture is probably unsustainable. In all likelihood, he won’t be able to maintain a position that looks secretive and is a departure from campaign conventions. The only question is whether he releases more returns now, or later — after playing more defense on the issue and sustaining more hits. There will surely be a press feeding frenzy over new returns, but better to weather it in the middle of July.

This is such obvious advice that the real question becomes: what on earth could be so damaging that Romney would risk this agonizing twist in the wind? Did he pay no taxes at all in 2009? Or in some other year? Meanwhile, TP has listed 15 prominent Republicans calling for the release of the returns – including Ron Paul, George Will, Haley Barbour, Brit Hume and Michael Steele. This crack in the ranks means that some kind of release is all but inevitable – the Palin strategy is not going to work here. But I'd note some ferocious pushback in the comments at NRO. Money quotes:

Romney should release as many tax returns as the Secretary of the Treasury has – and only as soon as Obama releases all his college records and signs a waiver allowing Hawaii to release the original long form birth certificate.

NR Editors to Romney: Capitulate

If you are going to insist that Romney release more tax records, how come you are not all day, every day insisting that Obama release his college and health records?

No. No. No. He never should have released any tax returns. No politician ever should. What business is it of anyone's what his tax returns look like?


There are some saner voices as well – but I wouldn't be surprised if Romney's refusal to release his returns becomes a cause celebre on the crazy right, an emblem of his hostility to the MSM. Malkin is quiet all of a sudden, but wingnut Dan Riehl is off to the races:

Here's a thought. Next time you opt to stab a GOP candidate in the back, how about having the balls to put your name on it? I don't think that's too much to ask.

I really, really want to play nice with everyone on our side, but when I see this high minded BS from people who've never even run for anything, it smokes my butt. Hey, that's a thought. Why don't "the editors" get off their fat ass and do something besides act like they know anything, or anyone really gives a damn what they think.

The trouble is: it cannot be populist to hide most of your tax returns when you are running for president. Even Hannity is going to have a hard time justifying that one. Sure you can rail against the MSM. But in this case, the MSM includes Bill Kristol, Haley Barbour and National Review.