Of Ankle Biting And Tax Returns
It's tough to defeat a sitting President. In fact, it's only happened three times during my lifetime: Ford in 1976 (who wasn't elected in the first place), Carter in 1980 and Bush in 1992. As such, the odds would seem to favor President Obama winning re-election in November.
That said, the body language of the campaigns seem to suggest that momentum is currently on the side of the challenger, Mitt Romney - and that should make for an interesting next two months.
When I say "momentum", I'm not just talking about the polls (although the polls most certainly show a very tight race). I'm also referring to the issues the campaigns are discussing.
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are talking about the issues that will affect the future of the country: the solvency of Social Security and Medicare; the debt bomb that is the current (and continuing) Federal deficit; the economy; taxes; and on and on.
What are Democrats talking about? Whether Mitt Romney and (in Wisconsin) Tommy Thompson should release their tax returns? Seriously! Tax returns!
Talk about a campaign of big ideas and big issues versus ankle biting.
Mitt Romney has had a very successful career in the private sector and has presumably earned a lot of money. Since leaving public office, Tommy Thompson has also had a very successful career in the private sector and has presumably made a lot of money. Both have complied with all financial disclosure rules that are applicable to the offices they now seek.
Romney says that he will release the last two years of his tax returns. Thompson says he won't release any recent tax returns. I say good for them!
Tax returns are private. If a candidate chooses to make their returns public, that's certainly okay - but it shouldn't be a requirement. If Congress thinks it's important for candidates to make their tax returns public, Congress is free to amend the financial disclosure laws to make disclosure mandatory. Until that happens though, I say "nothing to see here".
On Wednesday, in a serious lapse of judgment, The Milwaukee Journal Editorial Board (which has become substantially less kooky since the previous editor headed south) called on Thompson to release his tax returns in order to "dispel doubts" about where he made his money. What doubts? Who outside the failing Tammy Baldwin campaign has doubts?
I love it when people say that candidates who don't release their tax returns "must be hiding something". Why? Isn't it simply possible that the candidate feels that their tax return is nobody else's business? I know that's how I'd feel.
It was absolutely outstanding when Thompson told a reporter who had asked him the same tax return question three times, "What part of N-O don't you understand". In other words, pound sand buddy - and move on to things that people really care about. Amen!
The 2012 election is about the future of the country. The fact that Republicans are talking about the big issues and Democrats (and their allies in the mainstream media) are ankle biting about trivia tells you which side is winning!