Conventional wisdom says 2012 will be a close presidential election, and it probably will be. But the fact of the matter is that Mitt Romney has already lost.
The race is close for one reason and one reason only: Mitt Romney is not Barack Obama. President Obama appears to be in trouble because … well, because he is Barack Obama.
If President Obama was a White incumbent, who passed a health care reform law that none of the previous presidents going back to Teddy Roosevelt could get passed, and which was upheld by the Supreme Court; AND who managed to take out America’s arch-enemy Osama bin-Laden, who had eluded his immediate predecessor for seven and a half years, then he would already be a shoo-in for re-election. But I digress.
Mitt Romney’s greatest liability is his own success as a predatory, vulture capitalist. Mitt Romney’s greatest nemesis is his own father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney.
“When his father was a candidate for president in 1968, his father released 12 years of tax returns, because he said — and I quote — ‘One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show,’ end of quote,” Vice President Joe Biden said in remarks July 10 at the annual conference of the National Council of La Raza. “That was his father. His son has released only one year of his tax returns, making a lie of the old adage, ‘Like father, like son.’ He wants you to show your papers, but he won’t show us his,” the vice president continued, referring to Romney’s support of hostile, anti-immigrant legislation targeting Latinos throughout the Southwest.
For his part, Mitt Romney said: “We have of course released all of the financial statements that are required by law and then released two years of tax returns.” Well, he’s actually only released his 2010 tax return, and he’s promised he’ll release the 2011 return sometime in the sweet bye and bye.
Why is this at all important? Everybody knows the guy’s a multi-millionaire. Well, there’s another tiny detail which figures into this campaign and his tax returns: Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, the company he founded and owned.
Gov. Romney says his experience in the private sector at Bain would make him better as a job creating president than President Obama has been. Unemployment rates are hovering above 8 percent, and no Democrat has been elected with unemployment rates that high. The president says “Romney’s not the solution. He’s the problem.” That his track record at Bain Capital is that of an outsourcer of jobs, who sent American jobs to foreign shores, and who profited from the demise of companies in which his company, Bain invested.
The governor says he left Bain Capital in 1999 to work for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah. A report by The Boston Globe says Romney signed reports filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] and with the state of Massachusetts in 2000 and 2001 stating that he was still the owner, the only stockholder, the CEO, and chief bottle-washer at Bain. The governor says he was not chief bottle-washer; he left that chore to others, who just paid him in accordance with contractual agreements. It’s complicated…
What the release of Romney’s tax returns will reveal, is just how much money he was paid, when he was paid it, by whom, for what, and where he banked it. When he released his 2010 tax return for example, observers discovered that he had a Swiss bank account, that he stashed money and owned a company in Bermuda, and that he stashed more cash in the Cayman Islands, countries well known for being tax havens where the wealthy hide their money to avoid paying higher taxes in this country – taxes that Ordinary Joes cannot avoid. So a more complete disclosure of his tax returns might very well expose other, similar chinks in Gov. Romney’s I’m-a-successful-capitalist-which-is-why-you-should-elect-me-president, political armor.
My guess is that when Gov. Romney is forced by public pressure, and by down-ballot Republicans to stop whining and to “man-up” and release his tax returns going back to the disputed years on his Bain Capital résumé, that will spell the beginning of the final unraveling of his campaign – his Bain-pain will be the bane of his campaign, and he can thank his own father, Gov. George Romney, for setting the trap from which he the son, Gov. Mitt Romney cannot escape.