First, let’s trot out the whole, “Throw a rock into a pack of dogs…” trope.
So we have Republicans going apoplectic because they’re getting a taste of their own medicine, political dirty tricks. Sure, G-Dubya got elected having Karl Rove whisper into voters ears about John McCain’s illegitimate black baby (his adopted Indian child, mind you). Sure, Mitt Romney is basing his campaign on a premise he doesn’t believe (see my last entry). Sure, Mitt Romney is churning out his best ads by cutting and snipping Obama speeches, and Republicans are cheering. Sure, Mitt Romney is cutting new ads every day that don’t even try to adhere to the remotest truth. But now, ZOMFG, YOU DESPICABLE DIRTY LIAR HARRY REID…
Anybody on the left worth their salt should be sniffing that blood in the water, snorting it hard. Mitt Romney saying “Put up or shut up”??? OH YES PLEASE MITT ROMNEY. Yes please. More of that, sir! Put up or shut up, indeed:)
Oh, tsk tsk, Harry Reid, but ROFLZ!
And there go the fact-checkerz, Politifact and Glenn Kessler, neither of whom has a bloody idea what Mitt Romney paid in taxes or what Harry Reid was told but SHAME ON YOU HARRY REID IZ NOT TRUE PANTZZZZZZZZ ON FIRE!!! Did you already figure out these guys are occasionally useful turds who are completely beholden to the standard Beltway tropes? Good for you. Fact-checking is a narrow pursuit in the world of politics, and to succeed one should stick to facts, and not start trying to be psychic.
Was Harry Reid told by a Romney confidante about Romney’s taxes? NONE of them know, period.
Weak-ass Democrats, flailing about? Check.
And yet, there are the wise ones. The ones who can see what’s plainly in front of their nose: Mitt Romney has every tool in his power to squash this. He can prove, tomorrow, that Harry Reid is just a gossiping old hen (and by any standard, Harry Reid is gossiping, but that doesn’t make him wrong). And make no mistake, if Mitt Romney paid one percent in taxes, the Beltway will come galloping to his defense. Here’s the groundwork, predicted rather than laid down by Michael Tomasky:
That is, maybe the information in the returns is embarrassing but no more than that, and Romney is just stringing everyone along. Say they reveal that Romney paid 11 percent or 9 percent or even 7 percent some years. That’s bad for him politically, but it’s not a nuclear bomb. And indeed, given how dark the speculation is right now about how whatever is in there must be terrible, this would be a pretty brilliant strategy: Let everything build to a fever pitch, with melodramatic speculation, and then, if the released returns reveal anything less serious than Reid’s charge (no taxes for a number of years), the media will decide that the Democrats overhyped the story.
Okay, so he’s laying the ground. Chin up, Tomasky, ya little ponce! If Mitt Romney really only paid about seven percent taxes, it’s completely devastating for Romney. Granted, at some point it may be damage control to release that information, but it’s not at that point right now because still, still, Mitt Romney thinks he is gaining something by continuing to hide. Seven percent would still qualify as insane for somebody that wealthy. Seven percent would still qualify as the embodiment of a system that is rigged in favor of those who can afford to buy the votes. Seven percent is half of the one tax revelation we did manage to squeeze out of Romney. Okay, it puts some egg on Harry Reid’s face, but who cares? He’s just the guy who accused his neighbor of murdering a dozen when his neighbor only murdered half a dozen. Yes, the Beltway is prepared to give it all a pass, but there’s no reason for anybody else to get out their voucher books. Michelle Goldberg:
When it comes to making wild, unsubstantiated allegations, the GOP benefits from the soft bigotry of low expectations—at this point, few people can bring themselves to get that worked up about insane Republican mudslinging. Yet when a Democrat even tiptoes in that direction it’s news, and a chance for pundits to demonstrate the bipartisan bona fides so valued in the Beltway.
Harry Reid may be in for a faceplant soon, but nobody knows, except perhaps Mitt Romney and his team of accountants, and they aren’t (substantively) speaking. Until they do, nobody really has much ground to lobby attacks at Reid. Certainly not Mitt Romney ensconced in his secrecy and hypocrisy, certainly not 99% of the Republican Party running on an entirely fictitious campaign against President Obama, and certainly not the false-equivalence monkeys running D.C. who call themselves fact-checkers until the moment comes where they need to show some balls.
Release your tax returns, Mitt Romney. Put us plebes in our place, as you are wont to do.
UPDATE: Oh, I forgot that just a day or two ago we were dealing with this massive, massive lie from the Romney campaign. So maybe when we’re done flopping out of our chairs over Harry Reid saying what somebody told him, we can deal with the Romney campaign telling us things that are obvious, falsifiable, verifiable lies that could only be spun by deliberate liars?
UPDATE II: A TPM reader points out that we must always listen to Romney’s precise words, because Romney is a professional liar who pays very close attention to his words when he can. If it is finally revealed that Mitt Romney paid minuscule percentages of taxes, expect NRO and other reliable reliables to harp on about how much Mitt Romney paid in other, non-income taxes.