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Romney’s Tax Returns and Republican Self-Exclusivity

As an independent, I’m fairly upset over the recent uproar in D.C., where Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of not having paid taxes in ten years, adding another weight onto growing pressures for Romney to release his tax returns.

I agree with Senator John McCain when he remarked that Reid had “gone over the line”. We would like to know about a candidate’s character, sure, but this sounds like something for federal investigators to dig up, not for politicians to use as conjecture. After all, it’s not like the Republicans are asking for Obama’s tax returns, or marriage certificate, or birth certificate…

…Oh, wait

As disgusted as I want to be with Reid’s actions, I can’t quite bring myself to really feel appalled. I’m still upset, but this has more to do with Reid refusing to “be the better man”. What I’m far more upset with is this sense of self-exclusivity that Republicans seem to have, that they are free to accuse others but are immune to accusations themselves. After all, let us not forget that Republican politicians including Richard Shelby, Roy Blunt, Jean Schmidt, Nathan Deal, David Vitter, Andy Martin, and Mike Coffman either demanded for Obama’s birth certificate or poured fuel on the speculation. In case you think that they are small-name Republican politicians that no one has heard about, let’s not forget Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Michelle Bachmann, Donald Trump, and Joe Arpaio were also complicit. And few in the Republican Party ever called out their own when demands were being made for Obama’s birth certificate. (To their credit, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Mike Castle refused to get on the bandwagon and rejected claims that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii; this cost Castle Republican support, and he lost the House of Representatives election in Delaware to Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell.) Where was the Republican outrage over their own demanding for Obama’s birth certificate, the kind of outrage that is being displayed over Romney’s tax returns now?

Obama released his birth certificate in 2008 (and then released the long-form birth certificate in 2011 after accusations continued to pile despite the fact that various different organizations vetted and authenticated the original birth certificate). I personally do not believe Romney has to reciprocate the gesture and release his tax returns (although it’d be quite noble of him to do so), at least not unless he’s being investigated by the authorities; his personal records are his own business. Silliness does not beget silliness. But the Republican outrage over the tax returns issue is a blatant display of double standards that, quite frankly, makes the GOP look far more disgusting than what Reid had done.

It’s time for Republicans to get off their high horse.

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Categories: Politics and Society
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