In response to T. Paine's Tax Records Are a Distraction
...the strong possibility also exists that after Romney released more of his records that Obama or his surrogates would demand some other irrelevant demand be met. At what point does it stop?
That is sort of a slippery slope argument, but Obama and friends are not likely to ask for anything that Obama has not revealed about himself. More importantly, we do not all agree that this is an irrelevant demand.
Do you honestly expect him to have done anything illegal or immoral with his taxes since he ran for office in 2008 or governor of Massachusetts before that?
Not illegal, but perhaps immoral, depending on the observer. That is for each voter to decide.
John McCain released only two years of his tax returns before the 2008 elections and nothing was ever said about it in the media. Why is this an issue now when there is nothing to suggest wrong-doing on Romney’s behalf besides the unsubstantiated lies of the dissembling Harry Reid from some 'unnamed source'?
I did not pay much attention to the last election, so I was not aware of that. I can only say that a 10-year record seems like a reasonable requirement for a presidential candidate, regardless of his political affiliation. My stance on this has nothing to do with Reid.
Again, I submit to you that the reason is because Obama cannot run on his record and must therefore deflect attention from it by trying anything he can to discredit his opponent.
Deflecting attention from one's own supposed areas of weakness by focusing on the opposition's supposed areas of weakness is standard fare in politics. Obama is not the first and will not be the last to do so. And Romney is not innocent.
But this seems like a simple issue. Romney ought to release his records so that we can proceed to consider his ideas, at least once he gets around to sharing them with us. I do not understand why a man who wants to be our president is unwilling to share more than two years' worth of his tax records. One forgoes quite a bit of privacy as a matter of course in a campaign like this--as he should.
Moreover, his effective tax rate is particularly relevant because of his platform. We have been hearing that we must reduce taxes (including on those who are most able to pay), that the wealthy are overtaxed, that we have a moral obligation to support our country through taxes, and even that the wealthy should pay more than everyone else. Coming from a very wealthy man who has offshore bank accounts and pays a lower tax rate than many middle class families, such words just seem disingenuous to me. This is part of what makes his taxes a moral issue rather than just a legal one.
The fact that some people are concerned about it instead of his nearly $6 trillion added to the national debt and his consistent unemployment rate north of 8% for the economy for nearly all of his presidency shows that there are those that can be easily distracted and that this is a good political strategy.
People are capable of being concerned about more than one issue at once. Moreover, the government's spending, the unemployment rate, and other problems cannot simply be pinned on Obama. Even if they could be, we could not immediately conclude that Romney is the better candidate. We could, in fact, be worse off than we are now.
In any case, Republicans seem to have no problem with skewering Democrats (and sometimes fellow Republicans) who are involved in sexual scandals even though there are more important issues to address. It is politically opportunistic--but only because the public cares. Politics is full of such "distractions." I wonder if any of them ever distract you.
The difference with Obama’s college records is that there are numerous questions raised that circumstantial evidence highly suggests the possibility of impropriety on Obama’s behalf. Doesn’t that concern you at all, sir?
It might concern me if I accepted that this "circumstantial evidence" raised these "numerous questions," but I do not. There are more reasonable explanations of apparent discrepancies and all manner of data to which we do not and will never have access. I keep my political speculation to a minimum, both because it is speculation and because I might go mad otherwise.
Kudos on your riposte.
The spirit of John Myste was with me.
Ryan is a frequent and honored guest. He also writes for his own site, where political speculation is at a minimum and madness is kept at a distance.
Please visit Secular Ethics.
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You are concerned about Romney's additional tax records not being made public and gave logical reasons for this. I do not share in this concern.
I am concerned about Obama's unwillingness to share his college records with us. I also gave specific reasons for this concern of mine. You do not share this concern.
In the grand scheme of things, you are correct that politicians have and always will use whatever distractions might give them an advantage. Again, I would rather see a substantive debate on important issues like the economy, taxes, unemployment, debt etc. than these foolish side issues though. Perhaps we may still get around to these things before November, but I wouldn't necessarily bet on it.
"Perhaps we may still get around to these things before November, but I wouldn't necessarily bet on it."
If we were serious about debate for the sake of determining the best course of action, then debate moderators would do a much better job and candidates would release their plans long before the election. Both of these problems irritate me greatly. What is the point of a debate if we just hear the same empty (and sometimes uncivil or misleading) rhetoric that we have heard for months or years? What is the point of a debate if no one has enough time to thoroughly analyze a candidate's plans and motivate him to alter them before the election?
I don't think that the concern over Obama's grades is big enough or that Romney is willing to make such a deal. Maybe Obama wouldn't be either.
I also don't think that the two are comparable, since academic records from decades ago are substantially less important (and less meaningful) than one's recent tax records.
The fairest deals, of course, would be grades for grades and tax records for tax records. But I am not looking for deals; I am looking for basic standards for our candidates.
Again, my concern is not with Obama's grades. As Ryan pointed out, good or bad - those grades are thirty years old and irrelevant today. What concerns me is Obama's apparent MIA status throughout his studies at Columbia and the possibility that he applied for scholarships as a foreign student.
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