Romney and the War Over Tax Returns

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson says that Mitt Romney's secrecy about his taxes is a cross Republicans will bear until Election Day, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why the candidate is keeping the information a secret.

Apoplexy is not the tone politicians generally seek to project. Yet there was GOP chief Reince Priebus on ABC's "This Week," calling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a "dirty liar" for his claim about how little Romney may have paid in taxes. There was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CNN's "State of the Union," saying of Reid, "I think he's lying." There was Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) on CBS' "Face the Nation," decrying a "reckless and slanderous charge by Harry Reid."

It was a coordinated Sunday morning display of righteous indignation, a pageant of scenery-chewing. But in making such a show of denouncing Dirty Harry's foul calumny, all Republicans succeeded in doing was draw attention to Romney's stubborn refusal to release more than a year's worth of tax returns (okay, one year and sort of a second) — and guarantee more coverage of Reid's claims.

The fact that he won't — even when continued secrecy clearly hurts the campaign, if only by diverting attention from other issues Romney would rather be talking about — clearly means there's something embarrassing, inappropriate or just plain ugly in there.

You don't need a secret source to tell you that. Common sense will do.

Read Eugene Robinson's entire piece at the Washington Post.

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