Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tricky Mittens

This post is not about those vexing infant and toddler sized hand coverings, though I admit to crying tears of frustration at least once, whilst attempting to wrangle the Grape's tiny fingers and thumbs into their proper slots in well-padded winter gear.

Nope, this post is about why, when presumptive GOP presidential nominee Willard Mitt Romney appears on the Nightly News, I feel alright about telling the Grape, "That's a bad man."

The Grape, like many thinking people, finds Bad Man Mitt very frightening. The other night, he pointed to the TV in near panic. "Mamma, the Bad Man is holding a baby!"

I assured the Grape that the infant in question appeared likely to survive its ordeal.

I figure if every mother invented by the folks at Disney deserves the moniker "evil," Mitt more than qualifies as "bad." Rotten to his soulless core, I suspect. And while I make no apologies about my politics, my disgust for Mitt Romney is unlike anything I've ever felt for any candidate for high office.

Let's take George W. Bush. I disagreed vehemently with most of his policies. Like Mittens, W was born on third base believing he'd hit a triple.

Yet I understood W's appeal. I bet he'd make an excellent neighbor, a fun participant in a group outing or double date situation, or a popular Little League coach. I suspect W was, in many respects, pushed into a job he never truly wanted by his hyper-ambitious mother (Disney people- are you paying attention?), and perhaps felt over his head during his tenure.

Mittens, on the other hand, makes Richard Nixon seem likable. I cannot name one positive thing about him, in terms of politics or character. Mittens is smarmy and inarticulate during his best moments. His wife, whom he by all accounts adores, is an oblivious twit. Together, hawkish draft dodger Mitt and his wife have raised five sons, none of whom has given a day of his life to any type of national service. Mitt has shown, time and time again, his willingness to say anything to get elected, to throw women and gay people under the bus to pander to the right wing, and to refuse to correct his wife when she whines, "It's our turn [to be the nominee]." (!?)

Here is more on Mitt's lack of character and unfortunate stands on some important social issues.

None of this would be worth re-visiting in this space, but for Mitt's refusal to release several years of tax returns.

Indeed, Mitt's behavior on this issue is so distasteful  that respected conservative columnists like Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol and George Will  have joined every other educated person in America in demanding that Mittens release several years of his tax returns.

John McCain, the only person to have seen Mitt's returns, picked a political novice and college dropout as his running mate. Over Governor Romney and all his business experience.

I bet there's something damning - maybe career ending - in those returns. Something that will show the world Mitt's true colors.

Reasonable minds may conclude his refusal to release returns is due to at least one, and quite probably more than one, of the following reasons. The longer he sits on the returns, the longer the parlor game guessing can go on. Here are some of the most compelling theories:

1. Mitt's tax returns from 1999-2002 likely show income from Bain, from which he purported to retire before that time.

2. Because 2009 was a disastrous year for many investors, Mitt probably paid ZERO U.S. income tax during that year. Meanwhile, average Americans were losing their homes, and truly self made small business owners took their lumps and still paid income taxes to Uncle Sam, many at a marginal rate of 35 per cent.

3. Mitt has a hundred million dollars in an offshore IRA. This isn't normal. His tax returns might shed light on how that account grew to such an eye-popping size.

4. Mitt has money in blind trusts, which aren't truly blind. By his own admission, in 1994 when the trusts were established, he "gave rules" to the blind trusts, and explained to reporters that "they're not really blind." The returns might show the blind trusts are actually just a little myopic.

5. Mitt's returns might show evidence of felonious money laundering through shell corporations in Bermuda, the Caymans, and/or elsewhere.

6. Mitt's returns might show that he established offshore shell corporations so that he could avoid U.S. taxes by posing as a foreign corporation. I.e. Mitt forms XYZ Corporation in Bermuda. XYZ Corporation, now a foreign investor out of reach of the IRS, makes investments in the U.S. with Mitt's money.

7. The entire rationale for Mitt's campaign is that because he was a successful businessman, he is qualified to manage the economy. If the returns show Mitt cheated the Treasury, that argument falls like a house of cards.

8. Maybe Mitt (and his wife) give nothing to charity. It's not illegal to be a self-absorbed stingy person, but it doesn't look good. Aside: The Mormon Church, to which Mitt claims to tithe ten percent of his income, should not be a charity. It spends a fortune on political activities, e.g., the referendum on California's Proposition 8. But then, what can we expect from a "church" that preaches that its male members will get planets to rule when they die - to be populated by their wives. Sounds a lot like that 76 virgins bit to me, but I digress.

9. Mitt released his 2010 tax return earlier this year, and it turns out that one measly snapshot wasn't even complete. Obviously he can afford competent accountants who would never omit a section while preparing a client's taxes. Reasonable conclusion: He's hiding something in the missing pages.

10. The returns might show Mitt is a lot richer than he claims. Which is a big deal, not because he has all that money, but because he's lied about it, both in conversations with the public and on financial disclosure forms while serving in Massachusetts.

11. Perhaps Mitt claimed amnesty for tax evasion through Swiss accounts during 2009.

12. The returns may show something so beyond the pale it defies even the most active imaginations.

George Will nailed the crux of many conservatives' disgust with their man this past weekend. He said that Mitt knew, the minute McCain lost in 2008, that he would be a candidate for president in 2012. Wouldn't a smart person have taken that opportunity to set his financial house in order? Perhaps Mitt isn't so smart after all. Perhaps he's an idiot savant: he excels at one thing (managing leveraged buy outs) but thinks like a simpleton about everything else.

Either that or he's playing the population for fools.  Not smart, Mitt.

Self made business owners who play by the rules and pay their fair share, even if they do so with a bit of grumbling, don't like cheats.

I figure Mitt should have paid, over the years, at least 15 to 35 per cent of every dollar in taxes. By dodging the IRS, he's been able to reinvest the money he should have paid, over and over again. If he so badly wants to be president, let him dip into his own money. Because he's gamed the IRS over the years, he has more than he should.

The way I see it, anyone worth a few million dollars, or heck, even a few dozen million dollars, who gives Mitt Romney a red cent of his or her hard earned cash is a total idiot.

It's not good to be an idiot. But, as the Grape already knows, it's even worse to be a Bad Man.


  1. I don't follow polls too closely but closely enough to get who is leading who. I literally cringed when I heard on the radio this morning that one recent poll had Bad Man slightly ahead. Magic underwearing Bad Man. I can barely stand it. We have gotten so off track, are so misguided, with such distorted facts (or no facts at all) backing baseless claims.

    The other side had better rally come election day. Had.better.

  2. Agree. National polls don't matter as much as state by state polls, to either candidate. It's all about electoral votes. I think it's important to push on the tax returns because the segment of the population that's educated but usually apolitical needs to know that, whatever his politics, the bottom line is that Mitt Romney is a crook.

  3. Every politician is a crook, no matter if they're Democrat or Republican.

    1. I know that's a popular sentiment, but I am (possibly foolishly) an optimist. I think some of them are stand up citizens.

      Mitt Romney, however, leaves me cold, since there's a reasonable articulable suspicion that he's done something very, very wrong.

      As his own father said, any politician who won't release several years of tax returns is hiding something.

  4. I'm not a fan of him, either. But I cannot in good conscience vote for Obama, not after the last four years we've had. Plus, his arrogant attitude and ineptitude on foreign affairs, economic policy, and just about everything else turn me off completely.

  5. Interesting. I don't find the president arrogant in the least, although he's not a warm and fuzzy, yuck it up type either.
    I think he's been better than average in foreign affairs, which
    is a huge part of the job of president. I think #romneyshambles, as the British press dubbed him, would be a train wreck in the diplomacy arena. He's likely to start an expensive and unnecessary war with Iran.
    Not sure where you live, but Romney was a terrible governor here in Massachusetts. He left office after one term with bottom of the barrel approval numbers, in a state with a fondness for GOP governors. He's shown time and time again that he's only interested in himself (he's done nothing but run for office for decades and won only once) and he personifies arrogance and smarminess. His economic proposals are vague, and when pushed for detail, it's obvious they would not benefit the majority of working folks.

    But all of the above is academic to me, ultimately. Regular readers know I will never vote for any candidate who gives an inch on the right to choose. Nor will I support a candidate who wants to relegate gay Americans to second class citizenship.