For days we've been reading that the Bain attacks are working, so it's no wonder that, despite Romney's demand for an apology (which would apparently remove forever the possibility of Obama being called a "great" president), the Obama campaign is not backing down. I was worried when I saw Krugman's VSPs (Very Serious People) again missing the forest for the trees.
A lot of people inside the Beltway are tut-tutting about the recent campaign focus on Mitt Romney’s personal history — his record of profiting even as workers suffered, his mysterious was-he-or-wasn’t-he role at Bain Capital after 1999, his equally mysterious refusal to release any tax returns from before 2010. Some of the tut-tutters are upset at any suggestion that this election is about the rich versus the rest. Others decry the personalization: why can’t we just discuss policy?About those tax returns:
And neither group is living in the real world.
And I especially liked this one:
Why is Romney refusing to release more than his most recent tax returns? I've come up with four possible explanations, though I expect there are more.
He's hiding something that would be very bad for his campaign. The most obvious explanation, though even Krugman couches it with an adverb: "[Romney is] evidently afraid to let voters see his tax returns." Let's call it the Willie Sutton defense.If the reason he's reluctant to release the tax returns is related to the Candide or Obama's Birth Certificate defense, we should expect them to be released fairly soon. He's taking a beating.
He's hiding something that would be injurious to himself in the business world, by either tipping his hand on investments or showing himself to be duplicitous to his partners or others: the Unregulated Business defense. Since Romney has already released his 2010 tax returns, the "tipping his hand" part seems unlikely.
He strongly believes his personal privacy is very important, and should not be compromised in order to run for political office. Let's call this one the Candide defense.
There's nothing there. He's just waiting for the attacks to peak, then he'll release his tax returns to show that his detractors are just a bunch of fruit cakes. The Obama's Birth Certificate defense.
If the reason he's holding back is either the Willie Sutton or Unregulated Business defense, we'll probably never see them.
Can you think of another reason he won't release his tax returns? Let me know if you can, but be sure to give the defense a name.