The Trouble With Harry

This morning’s Reid story is that he’s officially the biggest liar who ever lied, now that Glenn Kessler has followed the other fact-checking lemmings off the cliff by assigning 4 Pinnochios to Reid’s claim, using the time-proven fact checking method called pure speculation and conjecture:

We use a reasonable person standard here. Without seeing Romney’s taxes, we cannot definitively prove Reid incorrect. But tax experts say his claim is highly improbable. Reid also has made no effort to explain why his unnamed source would be credible. So, in the absence of more information, it appears he has no basis to make his incendiary claim.
Moreover, Reid holds a position of great authority in the U.S. Congress. He should hold himself to a high standard of accuracy when making claims about political opponents.

Setting aside the fact that Reid said that his source was closely tied to Bain, I wonder how “tax experts” explain Romney’s IRA, which is valued between $21 and $102 million? Since, like Glenn, we’re just speculating here, wouldn’t you think that a guy who could amass that kind of fortune using a savings tool that’s limited to a few thousand dollars a year might have engaged in some really massive fuckery to avoid paying other taxes?

Here’s another question that’s been floating around for the last couple of days: has anyone who’s actually seen Romney’s tax returns (i.e., McCain and his staffers) called Reid or Reid’s source a liar with the same vehemence as Reince Preibus or some other designated stooge? I believe they’ve been fairly quiet about it, maybe because they know that Romney didn’t pay a hell of a lot of tax for a few of the 23 years they saw.

163 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    Harry Reid obviously doesn’t give a shit what anyone, including a self-appointed fact checker, has to say about his claim. But it’s still pretty ridiculous for the WaPo to reward Romney for withholding his tax returns by preemptively declaring that there’s probably nothing bad in them.

  2. 2
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    As some folks in earlier threads observed, a man who is terrified of releasing his tax returns is a man who is vulnerable to blackmail. Is this a man who you want to be sitting in the Oval Office?

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    Whatever. Reid is keeping the question of Romney’s taxes on the front page. And if Romney just happens to be stretching the truth a teeny little bit (sure, sales taxes are taxes, so Romney has, in fact, paid tax every year) this guarantees that the Mittster’s Federal returns will never be released.

  4. 4
    Cassidy says:

    Everytime I hear a Republican refer to an expert they consulted, all I see is the guy from Plants vs. Zombies with the pan on his head.

  5. 5
    NotMax says:

    This needs to be repeated over and over into every TV camera and microphone:

           Gov. Romney, tear down that wall of secrecy.

  6. 6
    satby says:

    The Village is spinning as fast as it can but they can’t cover Romney Hood on this one. People want to know why they have to cough up more tax returns for lots of transactions than he thinks he has to for the most important job in the world.

  7. 7
    4tehlulz says:

    Mitt’s gone to the ZOMG OBAMA PIMP DADDY WELFARE attack.

    “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” says the narrator of a new ad from both the Romney campaign and the RNC. “They just send you your welfare check.”

    Keep that shit up Harry; force Mitt into saying something so unacceptable that even Clint Eastwood will vote for Obama.

  8. 8
    Steve in Iowa says:

    What terrifies me is that Romney’s tax issue is playing out exactly like the Bush National Guard issue. It will go away because Romney will release forms that say he paid 5% or so every year and instead of saying that is horribly unfair they will obliterate Reid because it wasn’t 0% on his federal taxes or some such BS.

  9. 9
    jayboat says:

    I am convinced we will never hit peak wingnut without deployment of nuclear weapons.

  10. 10
    Waynski says:

    @MattF: And as someone pointed out a day or two ago, a man of his wealth would undoubtedly be paying estimated taxes throughout the year, so it is almost impossible that he “paid no taxes”. The question is what the government got to keep, i.e., Romney’s effective rate after deductions and chicanery.

    And yes, this keeps this in the news which is all for the good.

  11. 11
    cathyx says:

    From Digby about Romney’s burden of proof:

    At law, if a person in control of evidence refuses to produce the evidence, then the jury is instructed that there is a presumption that the evidence would be against the party failing to produce. It is called the “Missing Evidence” instruction.

    The missing evidence is in Romney’s grasp, yet he insists that he will never produce it. Does anyone need instruction from a judge to make the correct inference.

  12. 12
    liberal says:

    @Steve in Iowa:

    It will go away because Romney will release forms that say he paid 5% or so every year and instead of saying that is horribly unfair they will obliterate Reid because it wasn’t 0% on his federal taxes or some such BS.

    I have to differ. If Romney paid 5% on average over the last decade, he’s toast.

  13. 13
    General Stuck says:

    This whole episode is so far over the top via republican response, they have surprised me with the stratospheric butthurt. From Allahpundit, once a relatively sane wingnut. Relatively speaking, of course.

    Politico reiterated today, in the course of a story about Reid’s aide calling Republicans “cowards” for daring to object to his McCarthyism,

    I understand this, at least for democrats, is somewhat hardball tactics, from their past thumb suck politicking, but I don’t get attaching the “McCarthyism” label. I mean what could that be, ‘have you now or ever been a member of the tax cheat party?’, and doubly a head scratcher due to the long running fact that many, if not most wingnuts actually thought Senator McCarthy was spot on with his ranting and raving about liberal commies under every government rock. I personally think they have lost their minds, what was found of that to begin with.

    And then there is the gall of it all, these same assholes egging on The Swiftboaters to lie like the dogs they were and still are for smearing John Kerry’s war record. You go Harry!!

  14. 14
    Figs says:

    @Steve in Iowa:

    See, if that’s the case, I think Reid takes the hit for the exaggeration, Obama disowns it, and then goes to town hammering Romney on the 5%.

    Here’s what I often wonder: how much money do these people spend on their shady setups to avoid paying taxes? That is, there’s the effective tax rate paid to the government, and then there’s the amount of money they’re willing to spend to avoid taxes lumped on top of that. So there’s some amount of money they’re more than willing to part with, just so long as it doesn’t go to the government, for some reason.

  15. 15
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I love the public argument about Romney’s taxes. Reid is definitely engaging in rumor mongering but he probably isn’t lying. If Team Romney were smart, they’d pretty much ignore the issue and let it run its course as a 9-day wonder.

    But the MSM is doing a wonderful job of keeping the question alive. They say, “Harry Reid is a liar.” And then previously unengaged people think, “Oh? What did he lie about? Must have been a big lie because there is so much fuss about it.” So the rumor infects another person.

    The Dems are getting tons of really cheap publicity on this issue.

  16. 16
    mai naem says:

    @Waynski: I don’t understand why you would be paying estimated taxes just because you are super wealthy. If he’s gone through all these procedures to save taxes, then he sure as heck is not going to pay taxes any earlier than the day they are actually due i.e. April 15th. He may do the estimated taxes on April 15th and not turn the return in till October but that’s about it.

  17. 17
    NotMax says:

    @mai naem

    Wealth has but little to do with it. Nearly all business owners (and Romney’s corporations and partnerships are businesses) pays quarterly estimated taxes or else pays the penalty on the final return for not filing the estimated taxes.

  18. 18
    The Thin Black Duke says:

    After years of obediently grabbing their ankles for the GOP, it’s exhilarating to finally see the Democrats bringing thermonuclear missiles to a gunfight. Please sir, may I have some more?

  19. 19
    chopper says:

    We use a reasonable person standard here.

    this is brilliant. you find a ‘reasonable person’ and try to explain the complicated shenanigans that romney’s accountants used to cram 100 million into an IRA and said ‘reasonable person’s eyes will glaze over and he’ll tell you to stop.

    we’re talking about olympic-level tax fuckery here. if these douchebags can figure out how to stuff 100 million in an IRA, what the fuck can’t they pull off?

  20. 20
    f space that says:

    Forget for the moment about Rmoney stopping the conversation over his taxes and what has been filed with the IRS. When has the Republican party ever passed up a chance to destroy a Democrat? If Rmoney has nothing to hide, he could, by releasing the returns do great damage to the Majority leader of the Senate. This would also damage Democrats in general as well. To me, this is just as telling as any of the other aspects at play. I suspect he will use the ” fact chuckers” as cover, coupled with Villager spin and eventually this will go away, unless new evidence comes to light.

  21. 21
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @Steve in Iowa: I must admit, I think about this as well.

    But my real question is whether Reid and Pelosi would allow themselves to become the lightning rods on this issue, especially if Reid simply told Pelosi, “Trust me, this is solid”.

    I have to believe that there is something more than ephemeral about Rmoney’s returns. In the end, does this hurt or help if we find out that he paid ~15% for most of the years, but he actually took tax amnesty in 2009–which is what I think is really behind the curtain here.

  22. 22
    BGK says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Mitt’s gone to the ZOMG OBAMA PIMP DADDY WELFARE attack.

    Yes, and here in a swingin’ part of swing-state Florida, we’ve been carpet-bombed via the teevee machine with ads pounding this point. Also too, it’s, rather laughably so, trying to drive a wedge against those “Clinton Democrats” by saying Lenin Obama has betrayed Clinton’s accomplishments of welfare reform and welfare-to-work.

    I nearly fell off the damned treadmill when I first saw this at the gym this morning.

  23. 23
    danielx says:

    All this controversy could have been shut off at its inception by the release of some information, just as presidential candidates have been accustomed to in the recent past. Gosh, whatever could be the problem? Aside from Mittens being an asshole who feels the rules don’t apply to him, of course.

  24. 24
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @MattF: Except, as someone on GOS pointed out during Mitt’s grocery/hardware shopping photo-op, they don’t have a sales or income tax in New Hampshire where he went shopping.

  25. 25
    BGK says:

    @mai naem:

    I don’t understand why you would be paying estimated taxes just because you are super wealthy.

    It’s not really because he’s super wealthy, but because most of his income comes from sources where’s there’s no withholding. The IRS gets grumpy and dings you with a penalty if what you have to pay at return time is too large a percentage of your total tax owed. Even my retired mother, who has a quite modest pension, pays quarterly estimated tax because she’s too stubborn (I know, I don’t get it either, I just deal with it) to talk to the pension administrator to increase the withholding.

  26. 26
    Flying Squirrel Girl says:

    @f space that: This. If they could hurt Reid and Democrats by releasing the returns they would surely jump on that chance. What’s in there hurts Rmoney more than it would hurt Reid/Dems, IMO.

  27. 27
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Steve in Iowa: Except, wait until enough people find out that he only paid 5% income tax. This isn’t just a “did he or did he not participate in the national guard.” This is about his contributing to the government at the same rate as everyone else. Now, if it were 15%, then the debate could shift to whether or not its fair for the wealthy to pay such a small percentage compared to the rest of us. If it were <= 5%, though, then Mitt will have to explain why he feels the wealthy need a further tax cut.

  28. 28
    eric says:

    @mai naem: There is NO WAY he pays estimated taxes and let’s the government get the time value of his money

  29. 29
    Rob in Buffalo says:

    Reid should apologize right after Rmoney apologizes for claiming that Obama is trying to disenfranchise military voters in Ohio. Maybe.

  30. 30
    Gopher2b says:

    Romney has no wage income, so he doesn’t pay w-2 taxes. He doesn’t have to pay capital gains taxes unless he sells the underling asset. If he can figure out a way to avoid taxes on dividends (not hard for a private equity guy) he doesn’t pay any taxes. How does he live, a bank gives him a very generous line of credit with a low rate (far lower than the tax rates).

    It’s entirely possible he didn’t pay any taxes.

    P.S. I’ve been waiting on McCain to come out and say he paid substantial federal income taxes, and he hasn’t. He’s said everything but that….

  31. 31
    eric says:

    @BGK: The mistake here is to use “ordinary” experience to analyze Mitt and his taxes. Remember, he hired a LOBBYIST to fight for a property tax reduction and he has approximately $100M in an IRA– those are so far out of the ordinary box, that you just can’t rely on your ordinary experience and intuitions dealing with this guy. That is why Polifuct is all wrong here.

  32. 32
    cmorenc says:

    My last several attempts to post to BJ appear to have disappeared into the same black hole as Romney’s tax returns and liabilities over the 1999-2009 period. But not this one!

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Rmoney can PROVE Harry Reid’s source is lying.

    All he has to do is cough up the tax returns.

    But he won’t.

    So, Harry Reid’s source can’t be proved to be lying, even though it’s within Rmoney’s grasp IF Rmoney is being truthful about his tax returns.

    Note the if. It’s a huge one.

    He’s fucked. AGAIN. Caught in his own lies, deceit, and greed.

  34. 34
    General Stuck says:

    Doug Powers, filling in for Michelle, who is having her brain serviced at the local bullshit factory.

    If anything, the cumulative effect of all this might be that Romney is now less likely to release his taxes because Reid and now Pelosi continue to beclown themselves over it, and that may well be what Harry and Nancy want. It’s not as if they’re eager to talk about the economy, debt, passing a budget or anything like that.

    The sound of wingnut hamsters running on fumes.

  35. 35
    Steve says:

    @eric: As others have explained, paying your estimated taxes quarterly is not just an option, it’s the law. You pay a big penalty if you don’t.

  36. 36
    Culture of Truth says:

    Reid must name names or he is guilty of McCarthyism.

  37. 37
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @eric: You don’t know anything about federal income taxes, do you?

  38. 38
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @General Stuck: The problem for Romney is that he’s given Obama another out on the economy: We can discuss another tax cut for the wealthy and cuts in entitlements for those who are not wealthy, and we can discuss the Republicans preventing things like jobs bills from being passed.

  39. 39
    Lee says:

    @BGK:

    You are making the assumption that his tax burden at the end of the year is a non-zero number.

    If his tax burden is zero at the end of the year, then quarterly it would still be zero.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    I love that Harry Reid if fucking with their minds like this. He’s so mild mannered that him finding his inner badass is confusing them

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA

  41. 41
    Chyron HR says:

    @General Stuck:

    NANNY PELOSAY Y U NO PASS BUDGET IN HOUSE?

  42. 42
    eric says:

    @Gin & Tonic: let me say this again….none of you have any reference point for how romney’s finances work. I dont care what you think should be the case, you simply dont know. My point is that Romney will do everything in his power to avoid paying taxes — that is clear.

    So, for example, how does he have $100M in an IRA? It is clearly not a common occurrence or it would not now be an issue. He has been VERY aggressive in his financial strategies…heck he cant even go to Italy because of his business practices.

  43. 43
    redshirt says:

    FSM let this story keep going week after week! Go Harry!

    Stupid ass Rethuglicans, running Monopoly guy in this political environment. Delicious! But what choice did they have? Little?

    Apropos, have y’all see Sister Sarah lately? Seems like she’s found her niche – reality TV star (without actually doing any more shows though of course – work is hard!). It says much about the Repuglicans and the state of our political system that she would still be taken seriously by some (not many, but enough). She doesn’t want to be a politician – she just wants power, money, and attention.

    Like many other Rethugs I reckon.

  44. 44
    cathyx says:

    I’ll bet Reid actually saw or has copies of his tax returns.

  45. 45
    victory says:

    The reason why Republicans are so upset is that, in the words of Frank Costanza, “THAT’S MY MOVE!!!!”. And this is why Democrats aren’t going all in but are golf clapping instead. Democrats see what Reid did, make a claim using an anonymous/unsubstantiated source, and they aren’t a big fan of it because they see Republicans use this tactic day in and day out. But, because Reid has applied a political tactic which Republicans use ALL THE TIME, Democrats are enjoying the amusement seeing the shoe on the other foot.

    A good example is just yesterday, Republican Larry Pittman said, “My sources tell me that 75 percent of [Planned Parenthood’s] income comes through abortions” That is the exact same this as Reid saying, “A Bain investor(i.e.”My Sources”) told me Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.”

    Republican’s constantly make unsubstantiated claims which force democrats to rebut. And democrats don’t like that. What they do like is seeing the shoe on the other foot and watching it squirm….and that’s what we have here.

    Romney could do what Democrats do all the time (see John “Not intended to be a factual statement” Kyle) and say to Reid, “No, we have evidence right here that says he did….see?” But that would mean releasing his tax returns which, because of the box Romney is in, he can’t do.

    And this just adds to the republican’s frustration. Either, what Reid said is a fact, and they know they can’t do anything but yell, “Liar Liar Liar!”, or it isn’t true, but they are helpless because they can’t release Mitt’s tax returns and all they can do is yell, “Liar Liar Liar!”.

    TL;DR: Reid used a Republican political tactic to trap Romney is a box he cannot get out of.

  46. 46
    dmsilev says:

    @eric:

    There is NO WAY he pays estimated taxes and let’s the government get the time value of his money

    Only if he has a moron for an accountant. As noted above, the IRS charges a penalty if you try and pay your entire year’s tax bill right at the end. Specifically, they note

    The United States income tax is a pay-as-you-go tax, which means that tax must be paid as you earn or receive your income during the year. You can either do this through withholding or by making estimated tax payments. If you do not pay your tax through withholding, or do not pay enough tax that way, you might also have to pay estimated taxes. If you did not pay enough tax throughout the year, either through withholding or by making estimated tax payments, you may have to pay a penalty for underpayment of estimated tax. Generally, most taxpayers will avoid this penalty if they owe less than $1,000 in tax after subtracting their withholdings and credits, or if they paid at least 90% of the tax for the current year, or 100% of the tax shown on the return for the prior year, whichever is smaller.

    So, if your withholding/estimated tax payments end up being more than 10% under your actual tax bill, you’re on the hook for an additional penalty.

  47. 47

    Look at the comments in this The Hill piece

    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-.....-questions

    All the wingnuts are screaming “Obumma should release his college transcripts! He was a foreign student! Argle Bargle” They have to do this of course because Obama has released his tax returns, so they have to turn to some totally irrelevant bullshit to counter it. They also know that Romney’s returns are more than likely toxic, hell Romney even admitted that is the reason he will not release them.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    This is because the Rmoney plan for the economy is more tax cuts for parasites like Rmoney.

    He has no other plan than that.

    These people really, really, really want tumbrel rides.

  49. 49
    japa21 says:

    If, in fact, someone did tell Reid that Romney paid no taxes, than Reid cannot be lying. He went out of his way not to accuse Romney of paying no taxes and, indeed said, in effect, that he coudln’t really say whether or not Romney paid no taxes, but that is what someone told him.

    The panic from the GOP on this is fun to watch.

  50. 50
    eric says:

    @dmsilev: I know the law. That is not my point. My point is that I would never bet on Romney doing things the way ordinary people do. Plus, it is possible that his estimated taxes for capital gains could be based on a prior year that was close to zero, so that his estimate would be close to zero. he could have massive “losses” to carry forward. I dont know. I am simply saying that it is a mistake to anticipate that he would do anything “ordinary” if the unusual meant paying less taxes. that is clear from his refusal to release his taxes

  51. 51
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @cathyx: I think this is the least likely scenario, outside of my own sugar-coated fantasies.

    I highly doubt that there would be a chance that Reid would allow himself to be caught with papers that make him a felon. Imagine the shite storm if it were shown that copies were on an aide’s computers.

    Naw, there is some serious psyops going on, but I think the GOP is far more in the dark about what Romney is trying to hide than everyone else, because they have to invent scenarios in their own mind as to why he won’t release them that doesn’t make him look shady. We can all pretty much assume the worst.

  52. 52

    @Arm The Homeless:

    I agree, and that is why the “blackmail” angle is so strong. Do we want a guy who is so secretive about his personal life that he will not release evidence to prove Harry Reid a liar with his fingers on the nuclear codes?

  53. 53
    NotMax says:

    @Arm The Homeless

    but he actually took tax amnesty in 2009—which is what I think is really behind the curtain here.

    Could be, but while that is debiltating it is the kind of thing that would blow over on a gale of half-truths in a week or so, IMHO, as it involves reporting too deep into tangled tax code weeds for the vast bulk of the media.

    My hunch is that there is something tinier and grittier that can produce a pearl of perfidy from the tax return oyster, something which smacks of real collusion and corruption.

    (Wildly speculating with zero evidence here, merely to provide a hypothetical example of what I’m referring to.)

    Like Mitt’s having coveniently, time-wise, invested in the Burmese company that made the Olympic uniforms, then steering the contract to them and selling back his interest afterwards.

    (End wild speculation.)

    The story currently bubbling up about Bain screwing over Italy’s fiscal posture is similarly condemning and may well, as they say in the industry, have legs.

  54. 54
    ericblair says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    As some folks in earlier threads observed, a man who is terrified of releasing his tax returns is a man who is vulnerable to blackmail. Is this a man who you want to be sitting in the Oval Office?

    If you’re an average schmuck, just try applying for a national security clearance when you’ve got a substantial percentage of your assets in opaque foreign investments and won’t reveal details. First off, you WILL have to cough up the details, and second, you will likely have to move the money or you will be denied. You’re assumed to be vulnerable to any foreign power who can threaten your investments, and also could have foreign interests that are inconsistent with US national security.

    The President and Congress do not have to go through the security clearance process to have access to classified information, because they are assumed to have been vetted through the election process. I guess, then, it’s our duty as voters to do the security vetting for anybody who wants any of these elected positions. So, um, let’s see the returns, dude.

  55. 55
    Kirbster says:

    Harry’s not lying about anything. He’s factually stating that someone told him something about Romney’s taxes.

    As for the IRA, I’m guessing that Romney rolled the bulk of a pre-IRA era company retirement or profit-sharing plan from Bain into an IRA after he quit in 1999 or 2000 or 2001.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    I agree. All Reid is doing is saying that he was told Rmoney paid no taxes. He saying, more or less “I don’t know if this is true or not, this is just what I was told by someone in a position to know if it’s true.”

    It puts the thought out there. Given Rmoney’s dogged reluctance to release the tax returns and demonstrate that Reid’s source is misinformed, one has to wonder what the fuck is Rmoney’s major malfunction here.

    As an obscure Republican politician of the latter 20th century once said to Mikhail Gorbachev, “trust, but verify.”

    Rmoney is afraid to allow verification.

    If you seek to earn trust, you allow verification.

    Rmoney is doing nothing to earn trust. He’s doing everything to confirm suspicion.

  57. 57
    Trakker says:

    I’m beside myself with glee to see the Dems finally take off the gloves. Granted, we’re not good at this and I think Harry’s claim was clunky and hard for most intelligent voters to believe, but they aren’t the target.

    You have to be bold and outrageous these days, and Harry has kept Romney’s refusal to release his taxes front and center. Yay!

  58. 58
    Punchy says:

    Without seeing Romney’s taxes, we cannot definitively prove Reid incorrect.

    But we’ll call him a liar nonetheless. This is about the weakest sauce I’ve ever seen.

  59. 59
    Ash Can says:

    Glenn Kessler? Isn’t he the guy who wouldn’t know the truth if it hit him smack in the face with a frying pan?

    Actually, I’m exaggerating. I’m sure he does recognize the truth — but he has to pimp for Romney or lose his job.

  60. 60

    @victory:

    Republican Larry Pittman said, “My sources tell me that 75 percent of [Planned Parenthood’s] income comes through abortions” That is the exact same this as Reid saying, “A Bain investor(i.e.”My Sources”) told me Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years.

    No, it’s not. One is an easily disproven fact. The other is an unproven rumor, with the context that it’s highly relevant to the central issues of the presidential campaign, is actually very plausible because of the bizarrity of what we know about Romney’s finances already, and Romney’s secrecy on the subject is in utter defiance of the traditional standards for presidential nominees.

  61. 61
    Lee says:

    @dmsilev:

    So, if your withholding/estimated tax payments end up being more than 10% under your actual tax bill, you’re on the hook for an additional penalty.

    What is 10% of zero?

  62. 62
    SatanicPanic says:

    Relating wild rumors is not the same as lying and any elementary school student could tell you that.

  63. 63
    Hal says:

    If the media cannot prove Harry Reid is wrong, then how do they know he is lying?

    Reid said his source told him Romney had not paid taxes, his source, not Harry Reid himself. So while Reid may have gotten it wrong, it’s not a lie.

  64. 64
    bago says:

    Romney’s height of entitlement interferes with the orbit of the moon. Perhaps if someone made a 3 P.M. phone call ad, as a play off of the Hillary ad.

    If Romney can’t trust the American People with his taxes, can America trust him with our armies?

  65. 65
    Punchy says:

    Harry’s not lying about anything. He’s factually stating that someone told him something about Romney’s taxes.

    Yes, but this is a ugly and dangerous precedent to start. If this is allowed to continue, anyone could say anything about anyone (“Obama raped 3 women, my sources told me!”) under the cover of “I’m just repeating what someone told me”.

    I suspect this is exactly what Romney will begin doing…character assissination under the guise of “maybe it’s true, who knows?”

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Now that I think about it some more, you could make a boffo campaign ad with nothing more than a clip of this:

    As an obscure Republican politician of the latter 20th century once said to Mikhail Gorbachev, “trust, but verify.”

    The Rethugs would scream with such volume so that the inhabitants of the Klingon Empire would hear it.

  67. 67
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @NotMax:

    My hunch is that there is something tinier and grittier that can produce a pearl of perfidy from the tax return oyster, something which smacks of real collusion and corruption.

    I want to marry this sentence and have its genetically modified super-Sharia babies.

    @Litlebritdifrnt: This has become my bumpersticker response when the wingnuts in my office get snippy about something. It’s a reasonable shiv to the gut.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Rmoney is afraid to allow verification. If you seek to earn trust, you allow verification. Rmoney is doing nothing to earn trust. He’s doing everything to confirm suspicion.

    This is why I am convinced that the Media is going to lag on actually getting to this story. Obama has been preparing this particular battlefield for a while. Romney is going to have to give up those tax-returns

  68. 68
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @Rob in Buffalo: Seriously. The “fact checkers” (if any group ever deserved irony quotes they do) always make a big deal out of “lies” from democrats but let Romney get away with whoppers all the time. Or they will use some logical contortion to make Romney’s lie “mostly true”.

  69. 69
    patrick II says:

    The part from John’s post yesterday about the Bain Italian leveraged buyout that is relevant to this post is that after taking that huge profit in Italy from the Italian government, he switched the profits to Luxembourg to avoid paying taxes. We can’t see how Bain or Romney paid taxes most of the time, but here we can, and it seems probable that his modus operandi is tax avoidance by moving money to foreign bank accounts.

    It seems unlikely that the one deal we know about is the only time he has used that tactic.

  70. 70
    redford says:

    The large IRA is easily explained. Romney probably had a huge 401(k)at Bain and he rolled it into an IRA when he left.

    Bigger question for Romney is his exclamation that he wasn’t employed by and had nothing to do with Bain but at the same time he supposedly received $100k in wages (W-2).

    Either Romney is lying or he commited fraud because Wages represent compensation for “services rendered”. It’s fraud if he knowingly took funds for no services rendered and he signed a tax return under penalties of perjury.

  71. 71
    xian says:

    @Steve: not if it turns out you didn’t owe anything

  72. 72
    eric says:

    @Punchy: You mean like saying that someone told me that Obama was educated in a Madrassa…..no one would ever do that ;)

  73. 73
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Capt. Kirk: How close will we come to Sir Mitten’s tax returns if we continue on our present course?
    Chekov: Ah, one parsec, sir. Close enough to smell them.
    [grins broadly]
    Spock: That is illogical, Ensign. Odors cannot travel through the vacuum of space.
    Chekov: I was making a little joke, sir.
    Spock: Extremely little, Ensign.

  74. 74
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    O/T

    RIP, Marvin Hamlisch. Age 68.

  75. 75
    nwithers says:

    @Punchy: After nearly four years of major lights in the republican party being “birther-curious” I think that ship has sailed long ago. The “ugly and dangerous precedent” is already here, the Republicans are screaming because they never thought the Democrats would use it.

  76. 76

    @Punchy:
    Except that this is not a ‘wild’ rumor. Tax rates for the wealthy are a major campaign issue, Romney’s finances are already bizarre enough that this speculation does not come out of nowhere, and most importantly they’re a response to Romney refusing to do what is standard for every Presidential nominee. Romney opened this can of worms.

    Oh, and the Republicans aren’t going to start spreading rumors like this, they’re going to lie about obvious verifiable facts under the assumption that major media will treat those as unverifiable. It’s already the cornerstone of their campaign. The wild rumors are for email chain letters.

  77. 77
    xian says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: i love watching them talk about college transcripts because (a) nobody outside of the wingnutosphere gives a shit about that, (b) they got nothing, and (c) their chatter keeps the story going

  78. 78
    bago says:

    Alternately: Romney wants access to America’s nuclear missile codes, yet won’t release his tax records. Any Questions?

  79. 79
    PeakVT says:

    David Cay Johnston explains how the rich can get away with paying *no* taxes in section 4 of this article.

  80. 80
    victory says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Yes, they are the same. They are both easily proven/disproven factual claims.

    Just because one party says, “You are wrong, here is the proof.” and the other party says, “You are wrong, here is the proof….which I am not going to show you.” doesn’t differentiate either claim.

  81. 81
    jwb says:

    @Punchy: “I suspect this is exactly what Romney will begin doing…character assissination under the guise of ‘maybe it’s true, who knows?'” You mean, like mooslim soshulist from Kenya. Killing Vince Foster, etc. GOP has been pulling that shit for forever.

  82. 82
    Cassidy says:

    @Punchy: Dude? They’ve already been doing this shit. They’ve been doing it since the ni(clang) became a possible POTUS. Horrible precedent my ass. The only precedent being set by reid is that yes, Dems can fight back, and yes, Dems can make these fuckers wet themselves.

  83. 83
    russell says:

    I wonder how “tax experts” explain Romney’s IRA, which is valued between $21 and $102 million? Since, like Glenn, we’re just speculating here, wouldn’t you think that a guy who could amass that kind of fortune using a savings tool that’s limited to a few thousand dollars a year might have engaged in some really massive fuckery to avoid paying other taxes?

    There’s no mystery there.

    He took a couple thousand bucks, and then retroactively went back 1,000 years and put it in his IRA.

    Compound interest did the rest.

    Easy peasy.

  84. 84

    @Punchy:

    The RWNJ’s have been doing that for four years, see birth certificate, whitey tape, foreign student.

    Look we all know that Romney loves to make money, he adores it, it is what he lives for. I have no doubt in my mind that he was chatting with an investor at a cocktail party or on the golf course and during the conversation the investor said

    “yeah it sounds great Mitt but how much will I have to pay in taxes on that profit?”

    and Mitt responded

    “that is the beauty of it, I can hook you up with my accountant and tax attorney and you won’t have to pay anything, I’ve got their card in my car, I’ve been making 20 mil a year for ten years and haven’t paid ANY taxes, its great man.”

    Who here doesn’t think that scenario is not only likely but that Romney is the kind of guy who actually WOULD brag to a fellow 1%er that he doesn’t pay taxes.

  85. 85
    xian says:

    @NotMax: I don’t think it would blow over. The story would have several juicy components: using offshore tax havens to hide income from the US. confessing to the crime by accepting an amnesty.

    there is also the theory that because of the downturn Romney paid zero taxes in 2009. McCain saw tax returns up through 2007-2008, Romney has shown most of ’10 and an estimate of ’11. Nobody has (officially) seen ’09.

    personally I like the idea that for nearly 10 years Romney may have paid close to zero in federal income tax via his IRA shenanigans.

    I’m sure McCain will come forward soon to defend him. /snark

  86. 86
    redshirt says:

    LOL. Seeing Dems growing spines is hilarious. Oh noes! If we’re not nice to the Rethugs they’ll be extra mean to us! Heaven forfend!

  87. 87
    mechwarrior online says:

    One of the things that’s always amazed me is the incredulity with which some politicians react to releasing information most government workers are required to. As someone that’s worked for three letter government departments directly or as a contractor it’s comedic. Anybody working for the DOD, FBI, CIA, STATE, has their background looked into for very real national security issues. It’s a monumental invasion of privacy and a huge pain in the ass but it’s part of the job.

    If you’re unable or unwilling to release the sort of information that’s part of most background investigations of generals, intelligence agents, diplomats, you really have no business in the role of their commander.

    Put up or shut up. If you’re finances are so messed up or twisted you couldn’t obtain a security clearance we need to know that.

    The Democrats need to frame this as a national security issue. Could the information there be used to blackmail or influence Romney? Has he heavily invested in our enemies or rivals? Is their evidence of intentional or unintentional law breaking? All of these are important issues even for grunt agents and military officers, to say nothing of the higher positions in government. In matters of defense, intelligence, and diplomatic functions the higher up you are on the food chain the more stringent the requirements imposed on you are. As the President the public does have a right to know.

    @eric:

    It’s more than that. When the markets crashed a lot of people wrote off the losses. Rich people don’t pay taxes when things go to shit, they pay almost nothing when things are doing good, and there is almost always a way to write things off.

    It’s quiet possible Mitt has multiple years where his “losses” were enough to offset paying taxes on his earnings and yet he still came out massively ahead. It’s also possible that, just like GE, Mitt actually got money back from the government for several years through accounting tricks.

  88. 88
    SenyorDave says:

    Kessler’s a f’ing joke, only the modern WAPO would employ him. But if you employ Jennifer Rubin, your bar is offically below sea level.

  89. 89
    Lee says:

    @xian:

    Also the ’09 returns would have that Swiss amnesty thing in them

  90. 90
    terraformer says:

    They are completely dumbstruck to discover a Democrat with a spine.

    As are we all, I’d imagine.

  91. 91
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @xian: Besides which have they even stopped to consider whether Romney has released his college transcripts?

  92. 92

    @victory:
    Yes, actually. It differentiates them hugely, especially given the context above. One party is saying ‘Here is something I know to be false.’ One party is saying ‘Here is something I believe to be true that you are normally required to disprove anyway, but have refused to.’ Those aren’t even close to the same.

    EDIT – A direct analogy would be one person accusing someone who he knows has a license, of driving without it, compared to a cop accusing someone of the same thing when he’s pulled them over for speeding and they refuse to show him their license. One is reasonable. One is not.

  93. 93
    gelfling545 says:

    @Punchy: To prove Reid incorrect they would have to prove that no one told him that Romney paid no taxes, not that Romney paid taxes. Reid has already stated that he has no idea if the story is accurate but that he has reason to consider the source reliable. I don’t see how this could be called a lie or disproved in any way.

  94. 94

    Mitt Romney has never explicitly denied the allegation.

    Mitt Romney could say, “I have paid federal income taxes every year since I left Bain Capital. At the lowest I paid $XXX,000.”

    To the average person this would sound pretty reasonable.

    Why hasn’t he said it?

    It does seem far fetched for Glenn Kessler to claim that Reid is lying when Romney hasn’t explicitly contradicted the allegation.

    It sorta seems like Kessler sees his job as being a spin meister for the Romney campaign.

  95. 95

    @Punchy:

    Yes, but this is a ugly and dangerous precedent to start. If this is allowed to continue, anyone could say anything about anyone (“Obama raped 3 women, my sources told me!”) under the cover of “I’m just repeating what someone told me”.

    It’s not really the same to make allegations that can’t be dis-proven as it is to make those that can be dis-proven.

    Romney has it in his power to disprove Reid. He chooses not to.

    And, in fact, the Right has made allegations about Obama having gay sex with a guy who appeared developmentally disabled.

  96. 96
    Emma says:

    @Punchy: AH… Vince Forster. Clinton’s supposed drug deals. Obama’s birth certificate. Obama’s whatever-the-hell-this-week.

    The precedent was set by Republicans.

  97. 97
    Keith G says:

    A whole army of GOP talking heads can hurl at Reid an endless stream of the worst names known to man, but it does not matter. Reid has already won. As long as this story line is near the top of the news, its a crummy day for Team Romney.

    Thus, there is not much need to dig into the details. The story itself is a win.

    Edit

    @Punchy: I Agree that the GOP will return fire x 1000. That is certain. We better get ready for epic ugliness. Its how they roll.

  98. 98
    hitchhiker says:

    @danielx:

    Yep. Also too, “the rules don’t apply to him” is a very good meme for framing all sorts of Romney issues.

    Didn’t have to go to Vietnam
    Didn’t have to work his way up in any business
    Didn’t have to worry about getting into trouble for bullying
    Thinks a year in France trying to talk people into joining his church is foreign policy experience
    Thinks living off your wife’s trust fund is scrimping

    The regular rules just don’t apply to W. Mitt Romney.

    And by the way, we should be saying his name that way . . . it’s his actual name, and it reminds people of the other W.

  99. 99

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    As some folks in earlier threads observed, a man who is terrified of releasing his tax returns is a man who is vulnerable to blackmail. Is this a man who you want to be sitting in the Oval Office?

    When you apply for a security clearance, financial disclosure is required for exactly this reason (among others). Presidential candidates are generally screened and given clearances after their convention (so that they can start being kept in the loop by advisors, so they’re ready to take the reins in January should they win).

    So here’s a funny thing: Mitt Romney couldn’t even get a security clearance without releasing tax info, yet he wants to be President and Commander in Chief of the United States.

    Somebody who people actually listen to needs to spread this meme.

    (Please… it’s important).

  100. 100
    Cassidy says:

    @Keith G: They were going to anyway. All Reid has done is give more ammo for the “both sides do it” asshats and they’re a lost cause anyway.

  101. 101

    @mechwarrior online:

    As someone that’s worked for three letter government departments directly or as a contractor it’s comedic. Anybody working for the DOD, FBI, CIA, STATE, has their background looked into for very real national security issues. It’s a monumental invasion of privacy and a huge pain in the ass but it’s part of the job. If you’re unable or unwilling to release the sort of information that’s part of most background investigations of generals, intelligence agents, diplomats, you really have no business in the role of their commander.

    Here’s how I put it on my FB page:

    Without releasing his past tax returns Mitt Romney probably wouldn’t qualify to be a janitor at the CIA, FBI, State Department or in the federal courts.

  102. 102
    hitchhiker says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” says the narrator of a new ad from both the Romney campaign and the RNC. “They just send you your welfare check.

    Maybe someone could ask W. Mitt Romney how that’s different from collecting money off business deals that involved shutting companies down instead of growing them? You don’t have to work, you don’t have to train, you just hang out until you collect the checks.

    Except your checks are really, really awesomesauce big.

  103. 103
    hitchhiker says:

    @4tehlulz:

    Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job,” says the narrator of a new ad from both the Romney campaign and the RNC. “They just send you your welfare check.

    Maybe someone could ask W. Mitt Romney how that’s different from collecting money off business deals that involved shutting companies down instead of growing them? You don’t have to work, you don’t have to train, you just hang out until you collect the checks.

    Except your checks are really, really awesomesauce big.

  104. 104
    Cassidy says:

    Step one: Light torches, sharpen guillotines

    Step two: Storm 1% compounds

    Step three: Divide their money amongst everyone who isn’t a conservative. Fuck them.

    Step four: Yay! First round is on me.

  105. 105
    James K. Polk, Esq. says:

    @Punchy:

    Yes, but this is a ugly and dangerous precedent to start.

    LOL, start.

  106. 106
    victory says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Incorrect.

    Both parties (Reid and Pittman) are saying the exact same thing, “Someone told me this fact.”

    Pittman was, “My sources told me…”

    Reid, “A former Bain investor told me…”

    Both are participating in hearsay.

    Both facts are easily provable/disporven. Just because Romney refuses to give said proof does not make the hearsay different.

  107. 107
    Cassidy says:

    @Cassidy: Aw hell. Wrong thread.

  108. 108
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    @Arm The Homeless:
    “Romney is going to have to give up those tax-returns”

    Did Sarah Palin ever release (or allow a look at) her medical records in 2008?

    You know, the ones that showed that she had at an abortion back during the days when she was flunking out of one college after another?

    Unless the tax records are leaked or subpoenaed, I bet we never get to see them…or Romney’s huge tax deduction for his “sex with goats” ranch hidden in southeast Utah.

  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Punchy:

    If this is allowed to continue, anyone could say anything about anyone (“Obama raped 3 women, my sources told me!”) under the cover of “I’m just repeating what someone told me”.

    Yes, it’s a good thing Republicans have never accused a sitting president of rape. That would be totally unprecedented.

  110. 110
    Keith G says:

    @Cassidy: Precisely.

    And since, unfortunately, our politics has become war by other means, I hope that the GOP possible responses are being gamed out. In the past, the good guys have seemed slow to respond. Flat out lies were given time to take root (as in death panels). I hope the Obama campaign already has voices, messages, and methodologies lined up for the increasingly rabid shit-storm to come.

  111. 111
    f space that says:

    @Emma:

    Go read Pierce today for more on this exact point, and bonus very funny Ann Coulter reference.

  112. 112
    Brian R. says:

    If any of you have a Twitter account, please do the rest of us a favor and tell that attention whore Kessler that he’s a fucking moron.

    Thank you.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @victory:

    Both facts are easily provable/disporven. Just because Romney refuses to give said proof does not make the hearsay different.

    As cathyx pointed out @ #11, if you’re in court and you refuse to produce a piece of evidence that is readily available to you, the jury is instructed to assume that that piece of evidence goes against your case.

    Same thing here. If Romney claims that he can prove Reid wrong but refuses to do it, the presumption is that he can’t disprove it. The reason that it’s not the same as the Planned Parenthood claim is that PP showed their records and disproved the claim.

    “Trust me” is not the same as showing the evidence.

  114. 114
    Brian R. says:

    @Punchy:

    If this is allowed to continue, anyone could say anything about anyone (“Obama raped 3 women, my sources told me!”) under the cover of “I’m just repeating what someone told me”.

    Sorry, were you in a coma from 1992-2000, and then again from 2008-this morning?

    Conservatives have accused sitting Democratic presidents of rape, drug-running, assassinations, etc. etc. This is par for the course for them, and no one in D.C. gets the vapors over that.

    Reid has said something that’s entirely plausible, and moreover, easily refuted if it’s not true. This is nothing like an accusation of rape. Romney has the proof, but the fact that he refuses to release it is damning.

  115. 115
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: In fairness to the GOP (something I hope to never type again), it seems that Juanita Broaddrick told a false story of being rapped by WJC. AFAIK, to this day Broaddrick has not backed off her claim that she was assaulted.

  116. 116
    Cassidy says:

    @Keith G: I think they’ve learned their lesson. They are consistently out in front of the news cycle. Add to that, It really look sot me that our POTUS has finally resigned himself to the reality that he can’t work with these fools. He may have been the last optimist on gov’t.

  117. 117
    TheF79 says:

    WTF. Fact-checking should be about, you know, the facts. Not whether “[Reid] should hold himself to a high standard of accuracy when making claims about political opponents.”

    I mean:

    Without seeing Romney’s taxes, we cannot definitively prove Reid incorrect

    FIGURING THAT OUT IS PRECISELY YOUR JOB, YOU CLOWN!

  118. 118
    KJD says:

    So a claim thatncannot be proven incorrect gets 4 Pinnochios?

    Does that mean a claim that is demonstrablely false gets more?

    Cutting taxes, especially for the wealthy, but claiming the cuts to be revenue neutral due to the closure of loopholes? Demonstrably false.

    Global warming is not caused by burning fossil fuels? Demonstrably false.

    The current unemployment crisis was 1) caused bymand 2) made worse by Obama adminstration policies? Demonstrably false.

    Excessive government debt caused the worldwide economic crisis? Demonstrably false.

    On and on and on. Pointing out such lies requires a dedication to truth. Soft-pedaling such lies belies a dedication to “centrism”.

  119. 119
    hmd says:

    What gets me is where Kessler and his buddies will use the “reasonable person” standard here to declare that Reid is lying. But when it comes to questions about Romney and Bain, they just accept Romney’s version at face value without question.

    Reid’s claim seems unlikely. So a reasonable person might conclude that Reid is probably lying. But by the same standard, a reasonable person would conclude that Romney (at least passively) approved of the actions of Bain Capital at a time when he was the CEO and sole shareholder.

    I guess Kessler doesn’t see it that way. Funny, that.

  120. 120
    Yutsano says:

    @TheF79: Well no. Kessler’s job is to make his bosses happy. And his bosses have decided they want Willard in office. Therefore Kessler must shill for Willard. All else is commentary.

  121. 121
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @TheF79:

    No, his job is to create content that sells papers, which in turn attracts advertisers who want as many people as possible to see their advertisements.

    If there is any truth involved, it’s a happy coincidence.

  122. 122
    Arm The Homeless says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: Yeah, but you can get away with not publicly releasing health records. Personally, someone in their forties running for office isn’t going to make me question their health, but someone in their 60s or 70s, yeah, definitely. Is that equitable? No, but I bet a lot of people feel that way too. YMMV

    Everyone pays taxes. Everyone knows that becoming president allows someone to guide policies that would help them become rich. Everyone understands the motivation to acquire more wealth, especially when it comes to politicians.

    I really believe that Romney will release something, probably executive summaries of taxes paid, and he will try to call it a day. But once he gives an inch, it will be catnip to the media to find out what else they can find behind the opaque screen. Plus, there is the added benefit that Reid is willing to make this his swan-song; The Honey Badger gambit, if you will.

  123. 123
    El Cid says:

    Experts tell me that very, very few Americans have a significant media commentating position, so I find the charge that Glenn Kessler writes for some major media institution very, very questionable.

    I award Kessler Four Karaokes.

  124. 124

    I had a science teacher who would ask questions like “If the specific mass of Gas1 is 3 times as the specific mass of Gas2, what is my shoe size?” He frequently mentioned his size 12-and-a-half shoes, but “12 and a half” was *wrong*. The only right answer was something akin to “there’s not enough information given to make any determination.”

    I wish our famous fact checkers would figure that out.

    It might be ugly and nasty for Reid to make these accusations (and I will grant Stewart the line about his dad being ashamed of him was *massively* uncalled for), but the only fact checking one should do is to say “we don’t have any facts; we only have Reid’s word and it’s not falsifiable.”

  125. 125
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @LongHairedWeirdo:

    There you go, bringing those atheist critical thinking skills into the conversation.

    Why do you hate the baby Jesus?

  126. 126
    TheF79 says:

    Yutsano, VDE, those are good reasons why Kessler might do a lousy job of fact-checking. But the point is not that Kessler did a poor job of fact-checking, but that he didn’t do it all! Saying “Without seeing Romney’s taxes, we cannot definitively prove Reid incorrect” is functionally equivalent to a movie critic saying “I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I give it two stars.”

    LongHairedWeirdo has it exactly right, “there’s not enough information given to make any determination.”

  127. 127
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @TheF79:

    Yeah, but that’s using critical thinking skills, which are banned in the Village because shut up, that’s why!

  128. 128
    Yutsano says:

    @TheF79: If you look at it from the perspective that Kessler is pushing a narrative (Willard good, Obummer bad) then it all comes together nicely. Kessler is not fact checking. He’s putting his thumb on the scale and doing so in a rather hacktastic fashion.

  129. 129
    gene108 says:

    @The Thin Black Duke:

    After years of obediently grabbing their ankles for the GOP, it’s exhilarating to finally see the Democrats bringing thermonuclear missiles to a gunfight. Please sir, may I have some more?

    If Dems were doing this right, every single one of them on TV or Democratic surrogate on TV – Ed Rendell (hard to think of others, there are so few) – would be carpet bombing the airwaves with the line Romney paid no taxes, until it didn’t matter if he did or did not pay taxes.

    The reality would be shaped that he cheated on his taxes in the minds of the American people.

  130. 130
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Punchy: The Republicans have already accused Obama of raping his own daughters.

  131. 131
    Cassidy says:

    dad being ashamed of him was massively uncalled for

    See, I odn’t have a problem with this. Anything that gets them riled up to the point where they start flailing and whining with butthurt is good. Hell, I’m ready for someone to say they wish Mrs. Romney had been pro-choice or some other such not so nice things. I want this shitheel mad and all his shitkicker voters mad, because that’s when they fuck up.

  132. 132
    yours truly says:

    Question: How can a “fact checker” check “facts” that are not in evidence?

    Telepathy?

    This Kessler has turned out to be more of a “fact creator” than a “fact checker” . . . it seems his job is to make the world appear as he would prefer it to be.

    Of course, as has been pointed out before, the whole need to create the position of “fact checker” is the final nail in the newstainment industries coffin.

  133. 133
    Keith G says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques: That one slipped by me. What GOP official? When?

  134. 134
    LanceThruster says:

    I think it’s fair to say that Rmoney’s great-great-great grandfather’s wives are ashamed of him. I heard it from a credible source that they want to posthumously unbaptize him (The Willard Mechanism is dead, right? – i.e. in a non-living state of being).

  135. 135

    @Punchy: “Yes, but this is a ugly and dangerous precedent to start”

    You say that as though other instances of this are practically unheard of.

    See Fox news and it’s “some people say” recipe for lies. They employ this REGULARLY.

    By implication, it sounds like you’d like Democratic politicians to just roll-over and die (like they usually do).

    Fuck that concern troll bullshit. You don’t play nice with people that have repeatedly demonstrated they are all about playing dirty.

  136. 136
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Keith G:

    That one slipped by me. What GOP official? When?

    It was more Redstate slander during 2008. Apparently there was a convicted child molester in the neighborhood Obama grew up in, so in fine conservative logic they concluded Obama had been sexually abused by him so it conservatively logically follows that Obama is raping his daughters.

    http://www.blackdigest.com/?p=411

  137. 137
    Heliopause says:

    First, please keep in mind that Journalism is a fundamentalist religion. They’ve created a rubric; the Reid situation doesn’t really fit into this rubric but, by Jove, they’re going to fit it in anyway. And like any successful religion it must be comprehensible to an eight year old, hence “pinnochios” and “pants on fire.”

    Second, that said, I was uncomfortable with this Reid story from the start for the very reason that it provided a tremendous opportunity for pushback. We now have even the liberal factcheckers and even the liberal Jon Stewart rounding on Reid. So you have the ten-year-no-tax idea and the Dems-are-liars idea fighting for the upper hand in the hive mind. Really, there were less risky ways of keeping the doubts about Romney’s taxes in the public consciousness.

    I hope that more info on Romney’s taxes does come out, regardless of what it is it’s certain to be injurious to him, but Reid’s gambit was unnecessarily risky even if that happens.

  138. 138
    JGabriel says:

    @Trakker:

    Granted, we’re not good at this and I think Harry’s claim was clunky …

    When it comes to RMoney’s taxes and wealth, I think bluntness is a better weapon than subtlety.

    YMMV.

    .

  139. 139

    @Punchy:

    Yes, but this is a ugly and dangerous precedent to start. If this is allowed to continue, anyone could say anything about anyone (“Obama raped 3 women, my sources told me!”) under the cover of “I’m just repeating what someone told me”.

    This isn’t equivalent to what Reid’s claiming, in fact quite the opposite.

    The problem with accusation through hearsay is that you can’t logically prove a negative: Prove to me you’ve NEVER read War and Peace. Prove to me you’re NOT a secret Mormon. Prove to me that you DIDN’T commit rape. It just can’t be done, logically, with evidence.

    Reid is making a POSITIVE claim, that he heard a former Bain investor tell him that Mitt Romney paid no income tax for those 10 years. I’m probably the twenty-millionth person to point out that there’s a simple way to disprove this: Release the tax forms, problem solved.

    Apples, Oranges.

    I’ve been pondering the emotional responses to Reid from different quarters. IMO, what’s really pissing the journalists off is that only they get to have ‘anonymous sources’. If this story were true, why hasn’t this source been talking to them? Therefore Reid must be lying, QED.

    As for the Libertarians, I suspect it’s a mix of factors. For one thing, they just don’t like it when Dems fight back– to your typical glibertarian, politics has no more significance than pro-wrestling, and the order of things dictates that the Dems must always be the chumps. Reid’s going off Script. This offends them. (They probably don’t know why). But Reid’s also subtly rejecting the one of the unwritten laws of Libertarianism: Deference to Money. Romney’s rich, why are his finances Your Business, Punk?

    Good on Reid for taking one for the team.

  140. 140

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God: This, also too. =)

    Which is why Fehrnstrom, Krauthammer and Schieffer are fucking morons of the first order.

  141. 141
    piratedan says:

    this is quite humorous from the same group that has demanded the birth certificates, the school records, grades, proof of insurance and hat size from the current administration…..

  142. 142
    Tonal Crow says:

    If Kessler reported than a highly-placed anonymous source in the White House told him that Obama eats Wheaties for breakfast, would he also award himself 4 “Pinnochios” for reporting it?

    If not, why not?

  143. 143
    Tone In DC says:

    @PeakVT:

    Thanks for that article. In a way, it’s a bit nauseating. Johnston shows how many times Rethugs have raised taxes (on working and poor people) in the last 30 years.

  144. 144
    staci says:

    @Gopher2b: I think Harry Reid got his information from one of the folks that worked McCain’s campaign. I would guess that no fewer than three people saw the 20 years Mitt submitted to them, and we all know it’s only a secret until you tell somebody. It’s probably impossible for three people to sit on a secret in DC that has nothing to do with them personally.

  145. 145
    chopper says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God:

    as has been pointed out, reid is also sticking his neck out and daring romney to chop it off. romney could easily disprove reid’s source’s statement and get a hell of a scalp (majority leader!) in the process. but mittens refuses to. why is that? why wouldn’t mittens take such an easy win?

  146. 146
    karen says:

    @4tehlulz:

    How much closer to Ni-Clang do we have to get?

  147. 147
    grandpa john says:

    After reading the thread I observed a problem in peoples attention while reading about this. That is, Reid did NOT
    make a specific claim, he made a statement of what someone had told him. He specifically said that he did not know if it was true or not. If I were Reid, I would really stir the pot by demanding a retraction from these supposed fact checkers, since they have deliberately chosen to misquote what he said in order to justify their false claims.

  148. 148
    wrb says:

    To me it seems that Romney’s non-disclosure disclosure is an admission that Reid is in substantial part correct.

    Why doesn’t Romney say “I paid a substantial amount of US Federal Income Tax” every year for the past fifteen.”

    Or better, “I paid more than $1,000,000 of US Federal Income Tax” every year for the past fifteen.”

    He could.

    Instead he weaseled.

    The only reason I can see to not refute the charge unambiguously is because it would be a lie.

    Romney deserves 5 Ps for his deceptive answer.

  149. 149
    LanceThruster says:

    Liar, liar, mom jeans on fire.

  150. 150
    Tom65 says:

    I have to believe that Reid knows that there is something so horrible, so odious in Romney’s returns that Romney would never EVER provide them to the public. The $100M IRA is just the tip of the iceberg.

  151. 151
    danielx says:

    Totally shameless blogwhoring, but I wrote this a month ago…

    We must all remember that Mittens presumably heard/saw that Bill Kristol advice to release his returns and “take the hit for a day or two”.

    Say what you will about the Marquis, he’s not a stupid man. Handicapped by ego, hubris and a self-awareness deficit of epic proportions, perhaps, but not stupid. If Mittens is aware of Bloody Bill’s record at prognostication, and it would be difficult to miss, he’ll give burnt offerings to Satan in front of the Temple in Salt Lake City before he’ll release those returns.

    Just thinking out loud, but again, he’s not stupid and he’s fully aware of the “what’s he got to hide?” syndrome. The answer to that question, of course, is a shit ton of stuff that looks very, very bad to the average ignorant voter with less than a seven figure net worth and who doesn’t have anything with which to take advantage of that wonderful 15% tax rate on capital gains. You know, the proles who fail to understand why it’s good for the economy – and him or her – for him or her to get to get assfucked by Mittens and his compatriots every so often, like for the last, oh, thirty years or so and most especially in the last ten.

  152. 152
    wrb says:

    @Tom65:

    I have to believe that Reid knows that there is something so horrible, so odious in Romney’s returns that Romney would never EVER provide them to the public.

    I don’t think that he has to know, in the sense of knowing any specifics, but he knows because he knows that there will be something very bad in the returns of someone who has shown Romney’s business ethics, especially if they have found reason to offshore their money in places chosen because they don’t report..

  153. 153

    @chopper:
    There’s another potential code/subtext in here, also, too: Reid’s essentially calling out a fellow Mormon in public. That has to have some kind of significance to this that outsiders aren’t going to get.

    I know little of Mormon culture, and I’m not close to any real Mormons so I can’t ask them, so I have no way of knowing for sure.

  154. 154
  155. 155
    Ben Cisco says:

    @SenyorDave: That’s no low bar, that’s the Marianas Trench!

  156. 156
    NotMax says:

    @Judas Escargot, Acerbic Prophet of the Mighty Potato God

    Ah, but Reid converted to Mormonism, so there will always be that niggling, exploitable doubt about his bona fides and his commitment among those born into it and reared within its cocoon.

  157. 157

    @NotMax:
    Is that the mindset? I wouldn’t know. I do know from personal experience that Catholicism is the exact opposite: The converts (Gingrich, Douchehat, etc) tend to be much more militant than those accidentally born into it.

    Perhaps Mormonism is different.

  158. 158
    LanceThruster says:

    @wrb:

    It is rather remarkable in this age of Repubs covering for their fellow miscreants (11th Commandment variant?), that McCain has not made any sort of statement that of the 23? years of Will-LIAR-d returns he viewed, “there is nothing to see…move along please.”

    Just sayin’.

  159. 159
    xian says:

    @staci: well, do you think McCain himself, for that matter, really wants to see Mitt Romney defeat the man who defeated him? How close are McCain and Reid?

  160. 160
    xian says:

    @Heliopause: i don’t see the risk. this is a different story than winning the beltway conversation. not only are these journalistic constructs ill-equipped to address what Reid is doing, but in fact they are incredibly vulnerable to accusations of hypocrisy given that their entire business model today is predicated on reporting what they’ve heard from anonymous sources.

  161. 161
    Heliopause says:

    @xian:

    i don’t see the risk

    Here’s the thing; the tax attacks were working before Harry Reid opened his mouth. Romney was completely on the defensive, conservatives were bickering amongst themselves over whether he should release the returns. Now they’re united in opposition to Reid’s claim and lefties are the ones bickering amongst themselves, and poor Zandar has added another ostensible ally to his shit list. It was a risky move with a potential downside and with the Dems already thoroughly dominating this talking point it simply wasn’t necessary.

    There is also the possibility that this is a rope-a-dope by Romney, he releases some returns showing he paid some quantity of tax, and makes Dems look foolish and like dirty politicians. Not that I think Romney is that clever, or that this in itself wouldn’t entail further risks for Romney, but it’s at least a possibility.

    Again, the landscape on this issue was highly favorable to Dems, there was no need to alter it.

  162. 162
    Intercalation says:

    @Heliopause: I don’t see it that way. Reid’s comments kept the topic of Romney’s taxes in the public spotlight, so I think he’s been enormously effective in this matter. And I really don’t think there’s even a scintilla of a chance that Romney releasing his returns ends up making the Dems look foolish. If the returns were benign and unobjectionable, then they’d have been released already. We know his prior returns show some combination of Romney paying a lower rate than he did in 2010 and/or he took the 2009 amnesty for illegally offshoring his money and/or something even more damaging to his electoral prospects. If Romney releases his returns and they show that he did pay some taxes but one or more of the above are true, then the media focus will be on the toxic nature of Romney’s returns whereas the Reid angle vanishes after he puts a quick “Aww shucks, I guess I was misinformed” out there. At this point I really don’t doubt Reid’s source, though. It’s not exactly unheard of for someone in the finance sector finding ways to completely avoid paying any federal income taxes.

  163. 163
    Montarvillois says:

    The extraordinary value of Romney’s 401(K) alone makes it obvious that there is a whole lotta monkey business going on.

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