Mitt Romney knows how to do a cost-benefit analysis, and he’s determined that it’s better to be dogged by reporters for failing to release his tax returns for the duration of the 2012 campaign than it is to make the documents public. Never mind that a majority of Americans – and a third of Republicans – think he should come clean. It’s beyond obvious that whatever’s in those returns must be enough to do serious damage to Romney, or even sink his candidacy completely.
Esquire’s James Wolcott doesn’t think there’s any there there. Sure, Romney’s tax returns would provide an object lesson in how the ultra-rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes, but everyone already knows that those at the top of the pile game the system. For Wolcott, the issue comes down to Romney refusing to bow to the little people on principle.
It is helpful always to remind yourself that, in the mind of Willard Romney, there are only two kinds of people — himself and his family, and the Help. Throughout his career, and especially throughout his brief political career, Romney has treated the Help with a kind of lordly disdain…
The Help has no right to go pawing through the family books, giggling at the obvious loopholes and tax dodges, running amok through all the tax shelters, and probably getting their chocolate-y fingerprints all over the pages of the Romney family ledger. And, certainly, those members of the Help in the employ of the president of the United States, who is also part of the Help, have no right to use the nearly comically ostentatious wealth of the Romney as some sort of scrimey political weapon. He does not have to answer to the Help. I mean, jeepers, he’s running for office.
This isn’t stubbornness. That’s often an acquired trait. What this is, fundamentally, is contempt. Contempt for the process, and contempt for the people who make their living in that process, and contempt for the people whose lives depend on that process. There are rules for the Help with which Willard Romney never has had to abide, and he has no intention of starting now. My dear young fellow, this simply is not done.