‘No whining in politics’

    OK, here we go: Even Mitt Romney’s fellow Republicans are starting to demand that he behave like all other contemporary candidates and release multiple years of his tax returns.It’s important to remember that they – not the Democrats – raised this issue in the first place. Last winter, during one of the Republican debates, Rick Perry at one point spoke with rare coherence:

    “My income taxes have been out every year. Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money. I think that’s a fair thing. As Republicans, we cannot fire our nominee in September. We need to know now. So I hope you’ll put your tax records out there so the people…can take a look and decide if we have a flawed candidate or not.”

    Romney, as we all know, has since grudgingly released only one full year (2010) and one partial estimate (2011) – as opposed to, say, his own father, a presidential candidate who released 12 years of tax returns back in 1967 – because he is clearly uncomfortable with the kind of scrutiny that befits a presidential candidate. As he remarked last winter, even before he released anything, “I sort of feel like we are showing a lot of exposure at this point.” And his current refusal to share has only exacerbated the unanswered questions about his offshore multi-millions and the Bain Capital largesse that he garnered during his so-called “retroactive retirement.”But now, even some of his political allies are fed up with his stonewalling – on Friday, he told CNN that he’ll release only 2010 and 2011 because “that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances” – and they’re speaking out. It’s not good news for Romney when the demand for transparency becomes bipartisan.Former Bush pollster Matt Dowd, on ABC News yesterday:

    “There’s obviously something there (in the tax returns), because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it.’ So there’s obviously something there that compromises what he said in the past about something. But I think the bigger thing is, (his decision to stonewall) is arrogance….If he had 20 years of ‘great, clean, everything’s fine,’ it’d all be out there, but it’s arrogance.”

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    Robert Bently, the Republican governor of crimson-red Alabama, on Friday: “The best thing to do is get everything out in the open….If you have things to hide, then maybe you’re doing things wrong. I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people.”Republican strategist Ana Navarro, on Thursday: “I feel like we are watching a rerun of an episode from the Republican primary with the return of the releasing of taxes issue….I wish he’d hurry up and release more tax returns so this distraction would go away. He should just release the stupid taxes.”Chip Saltsman, former Mike Huckabee ’08 campaign manager, on Thursday: “(Romney) needs to get way out in front of it, explain it with detail No. 1 to 100. It festers, because in today’s world an attack that doesn’t have a response, no matter how ridiculous it starts to sound, people will start to believe it.”Bill Kristol, tainted neoconservative cheerleader, on Fox News yesterday: “Here’s what he should do. He should release the tax returns tomorrow. This is crazy….You’ve got to release six, eight, ten years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two.”George Will, conservative commentator and frequent bellwether of establishment Republican thinking, on ABC News yesterday: “If something is going to come out, get it out in a hurry.” Indeed, “the Republicans have nominated someone from the financial sector at a time when the financial sector is in extremely bad odor” – and that alone makes it imperative that Romney open up his books.What’s most amusing is that Romney continues to pretend that all the heat – about Bain, about the non-release of tax returns – is being generated by the Obama camp. Hence his Friday “demand” that Obama “apologize” for being so mean to him. (All that whining, from a guy who has systematically lied about Obama all along, falsely claiming that the president circles the globe apologizing for America; that the president has supposedly failed to propose a jobs plan; that the president supposedly plans to slash $1 trillion from defense spending – whereas, in reality, at least 60 percent of that money stems from a budget deal forged last summer with Republican leaders. And so on.)But here’s a fresh response to Romney: “There is no whining in politics. Stop demanding an apology, release your tax returns.”So says John Weaver, the veteran Republican strategist. Thanks, John, I couldn’t have said it better.——-Follow me on Twitter, @dickpolman1

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