Harry Reid Should Be Condemned, Not Lauded

Harry Reid is a scoundrel, not a hero.

Harry Reid continues to double, triple and quadruple down on the allegation he made last week that some unidentified person had called him up out of the blue and told him that Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes for the past ten years. While the White House is distancing itself from Reid’s comments, no doubt while cheering him on behind the scenes, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is backing Reid up even though there’s no possible way she could know if what he’s saying is true. Republicans are understandable upset about the whole thing, and with few exceptions, there are not many people on the left who seem to be the least bit bothered by what Reid is doing.  Meanwhile, Reid got a “Pants on Fire” rating from Politifact:

Reid has said Romney paid no taxes for 10 years. It was no slip of the tongue. He repeated the claim on at least two more occasions, at one point saying that “the word is out” when in fact it was only Reid who put that “word” out.

Reid has produced no evidence to back up his claim other than attribution to a shadowy anonymous source. Romney has denied the claim, and tax experts back him up, saying that the nature of Romney’s investments in Bain make it highly unlikely he would have been able to avoid paying taxes altogether — especially for 10 years.

Reid has made an extreme claim with nothing solid to back it up. Pants on Fire!

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gives Reid four Pinocchios and points out just how implausible it is that Reid’s story could be true:

Romney’s 2010 return and his estimated 2011 return do show that he paid substantial taxes in those years. In 2010, he earned nearly $22 million, including $3 million in taxable interest, nearly $5 million in dividends and more than $12 million in capital gains. He reduced his taxes by giving $3 million in charitable contributions (much of it in appreciated stock, which shielded him from paying additional capital gains.)

In other words, this tax return shows a portfolio that is not structured to yield zero taxes. We spoke to a number of tax experts, all of whom said that, given Romney’s current portfolio, it was highly improbable for Romney to have had 10 years with tax-free returns — though there could have been one or two years with little or no taxes.

(…)

Charitable contributions, first of all, could only get Romney so far. Taxpayers cannot eliminate tax liability only through charitable contributions.

Still, Romney at one point could have invested all of his money in tax-exempt bonds, though that is not his investment strategy now. (IRS figures show that 61 percent of high-income returns with no tax liability stemmed from tax-exempt interest.)

Romney also could have timed the sale of stocks or made other investment decisions that would have yielded losses that offset capital gains. Len Burman, a professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, said IRS data show that 5.7 percent of the high-income returns had as a primary reason losses from partnerships and closely-held business. “We know that Governor Romney had a partnership, and it had losses in 2010,” he said. “It’s possible that those partnership losses were large enough to offset taxable income from compensation, rents, interest, dividends, and royalties.”

Romney also could have invested in tax shelters. Edward Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California and former chief of staff at the Joint Committee on Taxation, noted that Romney chaired the audit committee of Marriott International when it engaged in a highly aggressive tax shelterthat was successfully challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.

But none of this appears to add up to 10 years of tax returns with no taxes paid. “It is theoretically possible, but it seems quite improbable in practice given the portfolio in 2010,” Kleinbard said.  “It is improbable that a man of his wealth would have paid no taxes for 10 years.”

The reaction to the Politifact and Kessler pieces on the left has generally been about what you could expect. With typical responses being that neither one can prove that Romney didn’t pay zero taxes, or that Reid didn’t get a telephone call from a Bain investor who gave him this information. That may well be true, but unless Reid identifies his source and that source comes forward there’s no way we can judge the veracity of the information that he is purporting to convey. As I’ve noted before, it’s rather implausible that a Bain investor would have ever had access to any one of Mitt Romney’s personal tax returns not to mention ten years worth of them. Additionally, this investor called Reid in 2012 saying Romney hasn’t paid taxes “for ten years,” that brings us back to 2002 which was the year Romney entered into his final separation with Bain. Why would anyone at Bain have access to tax returns filed after Romney wasn’t even part of the management team anymore. Given the implausibility of this part of Reid’s claim, and the tax matters discussed above, there’s simply no reason to believe that Reid is telling the truth.

Kevin Drum cautions his fellow progressives against jumping on the Reid bandwagon on this issue:

Come on, folks. Reid didn’t say I’ll bet Romney didn’t pay any taxes. He didn’t say he talked to someone familiar with high earners who told him Maybe Romney won’t release his returns because he didn’t pay any taxes. He made a flat statement of fact. He said he has an “extremely credible source,” which in this context means someone with direct knowledge of Romney’s taxes who decided to pick up the phone and dish about it to Harry Reid. Does anyone really believe this? Really? Then, as if that weren’t enough, Reid made his little bluff even less plausible by deciding that Romney didn’t just avoid all taxes for one year, he avoided them for ten years. Yeah, baby, that’s the ticket! Put these two things together with the fact that Reid hasn’t even tried to make his fairy tale sound believable (it’s just some guy he talked to) and this is not a story that a five-year-old would credit. It’s just Reid making stuff up in order to put pressure on Romney, and I think we all know it.

Can I prove this? Of course not. Given the epistemological limits of proof, I can’t prove Barack Obama was born in the United States either. Nevertheless, I feel safe saying that anyone who claims to have an “extremely credible source” that Obama was born elsewhere is either crazy or lying. The same is true for Reid, and Reid isn’t crazy. It’s simply vanishingly unlikely that he’s telling the truth, and no one — not liberal or conservative — would spend even ten seconds on a story so patently far-fetched if it were anybody but Reid and the background were anything but the frenzy of a presidential campaign.

(…)

Take a deep breath, folks. This is contemptible stuff and it’s not just business as usual. We’ve spent too many years berating the tea partiers for getting on bandwagons like this to get sucked into it ourselves the first time it’s convenient. It’s time to quit cheering on Reid and get off this particular bus.

Drum is absolutely correct, of course. Democrats have justifiably been outraged when Republicans such as Michele Bachmann have directed unsubstantiated allegations at the President and other Democrats, or when the brithers such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio have made accusations without providing any credible evidence to back them up. The same goes for the idiotic allegations about Obama’s college years made by people like Wayne Allyn Root. There is on substantial difference between what these people have been doing for years now, and what Reid is doing here. If he has evidence to back up his charge, where is it? If he has the name of this “source,” why hasn’t he named him publicly? And, more importantly, what responsible person goes public in the manner that he has based solely on a single phone call from a person he’s never met who claims to be a Bain investor? Reid’s supporters here in the OTB comment threads and elsewhere have said that this could easily be resolved if Romney would release his tax returns, but that’s deflection. The real question is why they aren’t following Drum’s example and denouncing Reid in this situation regardless of the fact that it allegedly helps the Obama campaign.

Until Reid provides proof for his allegations, the only responsible thing to do is either ignore him completely or assume that he’s lying. Rallying around him just means that you consider his tactics acceptable, and the next time a Republican does this to a Democrat anyone who supported Reid here who expresses outrage will be revealed to be hypocrite.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Taxes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    My respect for Kevin Drum increases. Not that I knew all that much about him in the past.

  2. sam says:

    Ok, I condemn him.

    Now, when will we see Gov. Romney’s tax returns?

  3. Console says:

    I go back and forth on this. I don’t remotely feel sorry for Romney because the fact is, he gave the Mccain campaign 20 years of taxes, but the american people aren’t good enough for that much disclosure?

    At the same time, what Reid did was dirty and little more than high school gossip… but it’s in the service of prodding Romney into more transparency. That’s more important than getting the vapors at some low blows. Reid’s transgression does little more than keep alive an embarrassing story from Romney. That’s on the media. And if you believe Reid, then that’s on you. Romney’s transgressions are on Romney though.

  4. mantis says:

    Democrats have justifiably been outraged when Republicans such as Michele Bachmann have directed unsubstantiated allegations at the President and other Democrats, or when the brithers such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio have made accusations without providing any credible evidence to back them up.

    Yeah, and it hasn’t made a dent. They do it more and more every year. So screw it. Fire with fire.

    Democrats can rise above it and lose, or fight back. Reid is a fighter. Condemn him all you want, but Romney has scarcely spoken a word about Obama that wasn’t a flat out lie. There will be no honorable contest from the likes of him, and the stakes are too high for Democrats to retire as the honorable losers.

  5. Vast Variety says:

    Reid and Pelsoi are off their rockers on this, but then they have been off their rockers since Obama was elected. Reid and Pelsoi have been just as much of a road block to the administration as the Republican House Leadership has.

    That said, I’d still prefer Romney release his tax returns, if only to get people to shut up about them.

  6. David M says:

    Hate the game, not the player. The GOP/Romney in Ohio are actively trying to make it more difficult to vote and lying about it, and I’m supposed to care that Reid may have hurt Romney’s feelings by pointing out how he’s taken advantage of the tax code?

    The GOP does worse than this every time you turn around, and show no signs of stopping. This allegation doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and if the GOP wants to play in the gutter knowing the press will turn a blind eye, the country is better off if the Dems don’t lose elections while clinging to the high road.

  7. mantis says:

    @Vast Variety:

    Reid and Pelsoi have been just as much of a road block to the administration as the Republican House Leadership has.

    Good one. Tell another.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    I missed the disclaimer where you say you are a full-throated Romney supporter and your posts should be judged as such.

    Politifact and Kessler are both wrong…as their track record would predict.

    “…Reid has said Romney paid no taxes for 10 years…”

    That is not what Reid said.
    Reid said someone told him Romney has not paid taxes.
    They have no way of knowing if someone told him or not.
    It is absolutely plausible that someone told him that.
    Could that someone be wrong…sure.

    “…unless Reid identifies his source and that source comes forward there’s no way we can judge the veracity of the information that he is purporting to convey…”

    What kind of lawyer are you??? Knowing the name of Reid’s informant would settle nothing. It’s a red-herring.
    Only releasing the same amount of tax information everyone else does will settle this.
    And in additon to the taxes I wish someone would ask why he feels he is special and should be treated differently than others?

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    @David M:

    Hate the game, not the player.

    Yes, This is right out of Rove’s playbook. The Democrats have finally figured out you can’t take a knife to a gun fight.

  10. stonetools says:

    Give ’em hell, Harry!

    Doug ( and Kevin) somehow believe that if enough people ask Romney nicely to disclose his tax returns, Romney feel the “pressure”, do the right thing, and disclose tax returns which are apparently so toxic that Romney feels it it will cost him the election.
    Now people have been asking Romney nicely for his tax returns for at least 10 years. How many complete tax returns has Romney been ” pressured” to release? Zero.

    Clearly, just asking Romney to release his returns isn’t working and most likely will not work. What’s left? Should the Democrats just bow to the inevitable and allow Romney to get away with not releasing his tax returns? Would the Republicans have done the same, were the situation reversed? I think we all know the answer to that.

    Again, its one thing if the Republicans came to this campaign with clean hands. But…

    Y’know, it’s a bit like saying that the current president is a secret Muslim socialist who lied about his U.S. birth and has a fake Social Security number and is secretly plotting to take away all privately owned guns if he’s reelected, either before or after he finishes the job of deliberately destroying American capitalism. It’s also a bit like saying that the previous Democratic president was a drug dealing serial murderer and rapist whose lesbian wife had her male lover killed when she wasn’t hanging sex toys on the White House Christmas tree.

    It’s almost like that. The difference is that Romney’s not facing an ever-expanding list of accusations, most of them truly grotesque and preposterous, many of them of a felonious or treasonous nature, spread by multiple prominent rumormongers over the course of years, and believed in every particular by roughly a third of the country. Hell, what he’s being charged with isn’t even illegal.

    But still, welcome to our world, Mitt. Now you have a vague sense of how Democrats feel all the time.

    http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/

  11. Rob Prather says:

    A week ago I thought Reid was in the wrong on this, but no more. It only took a couple of more major lies by Romney (on welfare reform, most recently) to make me change my mind. Republicans are playing for keeps and they are fighting dirty; they have been since Obama took office. As someone said above, it’s time to fight fire with fire.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    I think what Reid did was somewhat sleazy.

    That said, he’s the first Democrat to fight back using Republican tactics since Clinton. Basically, since 1968, Democrats, with the notable exceptions of Bobby Kennedy and Bill Clinton, have been passive bystanders while Republicans played hardball and kicked Democratic ass across the country.

  13. Doubter4444 says:

    And who’s “lauding” him?
    I think he’s an ass, and I do not think he should have said it without attribution, but I don’t see major democrats standing up and urging him on.
    The closest (I think) is Nancy Pelosi.
    And she said “I know Reid and he would not lie about this.”

    So don’t confuse what Reid said with whether or not Romney actually paid taxes.

    Because when people say “Reid is a dirty liar”… are they saying that he is just making it up?
    or, are they are saying that it’s a lie that Romney did not pay his taxes?

    There is big difference.
    I personally think Reid’s source is going to come forward some time soon.
    To you Doug: Then what?
    Will all the twisted panties get unbunched?
    Will he be still held to the fire for even bringing it up?
    That the person should have come froward at once, and therefore…. what? Reid had no right mentioning it? Or, that it’s still not true that Harry Reid actually had a source tell him something?

    I’ll grant that it’s a dirt way to act. I don’t like it, nor support it.
    But the pearl cluching is a joke.

    And again will the goal posts be moved by the right to be now – “he should never have said it without bringing the source forward at once!!11”, – rather than simply “it’s not true”…
    because It actually happened, as he said it did?

    By all means let’s have a discussion on that – no problem, and if we do, let’s toss in a shitload of Republicans who have said despicable things to get airtime and call a spade a spade.

  14. C. Clavin says:

    Another thing to note is that when the number of years released came up Steve Schmidt, who is privy to the information in Romney’s returns, said that there was nothing “disqualifying” in them. Strictly speaking zero taxes is legal and not disqualifying.
    But Schmidt has been, to my knowledge, absolutely silent on the zero taxes issue.
    Wouldn’t it be easy for him to say no, that’s wrong? If in fact it is wrong?

  15. J-Dub says:

    Just look at the photo, Reid has a beaming halo for Christ’s sake. How could he be lying?

    Besides, Romney Hood is clearing hiding something. We’ll see how this story turns out and if the ends justified the means. I’ve seen much worse from the Republicans.

  16. David M says:

    To be clear, I view the Reid allegations as a symptom of a larger problem, rather than a stand alone issue. By itself, it’s probably not a “good thing”, but it absolutely cannot be evaluated like that.

    I would be much preferable for the candidates and parties to present their vision for the country, and what their plans actually are, as well as realistic projections of the impact of those plans. It would also be nice if reporters would treat obvious nonsense with the respect it deserves, and refuse to repeat claims by politicians, etc about how opinions differ on the shape of the earth. That’s not the current reality, so Reid should not pretend it is.

  17. Loviatar says:

    Doug,

    John McCain and Steve Schmidt have seen 23 years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns, have they called Harry Reid a liar yet?

  18. J-Dub says:

    And in additon to the taxes I wish someone would ask why he feels he is special and should be treated differently than others?

    Ummm, maybe because he’s been told that he is special his entire life and that the rules that the rest of us are forced to follow do not apply to him.

  19. C. Clavin says:

    “…Reid’s supporters here in the OTB comment threads and elsewhere have said that this could easily be resolved if Romney would release his tax returns, but that’s deflection…”

    What bull-hockey.
    The real issue is Romney’s taxes.
    Calling on Reid to name his source is a deflection. What happens when he does? There is still no proof. Only Romney can settle this…it was going on before Reids comment…and even if Reid revealed his source…it would continue. Reid is just a distraction.

  20. J-Dub says:

    When is Romney going to bet Reid $10,000 that he has paid his taxes?

    “How about it, Harry, $10,000? C’mon, Mr. Las Vegas, put your money where your mouth is?”

    He’s not, because Romney is the one lying.

  21. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Meh.

    Reid’s tactics are off the rails, granted, but I actually admire that degree of ruthlessness. Where I come from you don’t complain if someone fouls you. That’s worse than the foul. You take it like a man. Politics ain’t a game of hearts. I would act the same way as Reid. Hell, I would be even more over the top with unfair attacks. Besides, if the wing nuts in NV hadn’t saddled the GOP with Sharron Angle this all would be a moot point; Reid would be a senior partner in some lobbying firm and already long forgotten as a politico.

    I say Reid neither should be condemned nor lauded. He is what he is. He said what he said. Shit happens. If you’re Romney revenge is a dish best served cold and in politics the way to get revenge simply is to win the election, not to prove a point and certainly not to whine about stuff.

  22. stonetools says:

    I may have missed it, but has Romney categorically denied that he went 10 years without paying federal income tax while at Bain? That speaks volumes to me. (This isn’t court of law , and Romney can’t plead the Fifth.) I think there is definitely something there.

    I’m not convinced by the Kessler-Politifact standard that its unlikely that someone with Romney’s wealth can avoid paying any federal income tax. Romney isn’t the usual taxpayer. What’s reasonable to assume about taxpayers in general may not be reasonable to assume about a man who can hire the best tax experts that money can buy and who can hid his income in overseas tax shelters. Its unlikely that anyone can run 100 meters in under 10.00 seconds- but someone like Ussain Bolt does it all the time, and Mitt Romney could be the Ussain Bolt of tax evaders.

  23. Andy says:

    The politically convenient spinning of such accusations is certainly fun to watch and it’s amusingly ironic to see liberals using birther arguments.

    @Ron Beasley:

    Yes, This is right out of Rove’s playbook. The Democrats have finally figured out you can’t take a knife to a gun fight.

    Reid has some catching up to do if he hopes to be as good as Rove. Reid should have said his source was from the McCain campaign, not Bain – that would add substantially to the low credibility these accusations posses and it would also serve to divide the opposing house as the GoP struggles to find the “leaker.”

  24. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    The real question is why they aren’t following Drum’s example and denouncing Reid in this situation

    You mean the way Mitt denounced Trump’s birtherism?

    Trump and the other birthers are making an accusation much worse than the accusation being made by Reid. They are accusing Obama of lying to us about his citizenship and violating the constitution. It is essentially an accusation of treason. It’s something infinitely worse than legally minimizing taxes. Nevertheless, Mitt leaped into bed with Trump.

    Therefore Mitt is in no position to be outraged when he finds himself the target of a much more benign attack.

  25. wr says:

    Things that bother Doug: Harry Reid being mean to Mitt Romney.

    Things that don’t bother Doug: Tens of thousands of voters in swing states being disenfranchsed simply because the Republicans in charge are afraid they’ll vote for Democrats.

    In short, a little bit of obvious ratf*cking by Democrats is unspeakably terrible, while a conspiracy to steal elections by disenfranchising Americans is just good clean politics.

    Good to know he’s got his priorities straight.

  26. michael reynolds says:

    This is desperate hand-waving Doug. Reid committed a minor sin by Washington standards. Fox News does this 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Mitt Romney does this as often as he opens his mouth. Yes, it’s not a good thing to do. But this much outrage? Spare me.

  27. J-Dub says:

    From Romney’s own mouth: “I have paid taxes every year, and a lot of taxes,” Romney said. “So Harry is simply wrong.”

    Interesting that he did not say income taxes. I’m sure he did pay a lot of sales taxes, etc. , just no Federal income tax.

  28. Woody says:

    Must disagree as well.

    2. Has playing by Marquis of Queensberry rules gotten Democrats anything ever? The GOP has found ample success by playing hardball, right down to calling the President of the United States “unAmerican” on national television.

    1. I think this has been brilliant, in that Mitt’s betting the media will find some other bright shiny object to follow and let the tax returns drop. US politics have a much-underappreciated asymmetry in that the GOP has a completely dedicated media structure, while the Democrats must still operate within the old news paradigm. If the situation were reversed, every moment on Fox/GOP/Rush+dittos would be screaming about this nonstop, and there would be considerable pressure on the Democrat to release. Fox/GOP/Rush+dittos have been comically subdued about Mitt’s taxes – too tough to BS the rubes on this one.

    Reid’s uncharacteristic charge has revived the issue rather well, and he certainly doesn’t mind the whining.

  29. stonetools says:

    @J-Dub:

    The classic non-denial denial. “I’m going to deny what I wasn’t accused of, while passing over in silence what I was accused of, and hope people don’t catch on.”

  30. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Reid’s tactics are off the rails… Where I come from you don’t complain if someone fouls you… . You take it like a man… Politics ain’t a game of hearts… Shit happens… revenge is a dish best served cold… ”

    You seem to be a little off your game. Generally you could stuff at least six or seven more cliches into one post. Are you feeling okay?

  31. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    Again, the fundamental difference is that one is a crime and one is not, one was a legal way to disqualify a President, and one was not.

  32. PD Shaw says:

    @Rob Prather: I gave you a thumbs down. Its sad to see someone give in to passion and the quid pro quo against truth and reason. Whether or not its understandable is one thing, but to applaud it is another.

  33. stonetools says:

    @wr:

    Doug and Kevin would much rather have the Democrats fight clean and lose, than fight a little dirty and win. Well, that game gets old awfully fast. Guess the Democrats have given up on that.

    Has Doug called for legislation and regulations that would prevent all sides from doing this? Or does he just want the Dems to go back to unilateral disarmament and to assume the usual position?

  34. Anderson says:

    So, I’m not sure I understand Doug’s point.

    Suppose that it’s confirmed that a presumably knowledgeable source *did* tell Reid that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years. Say it’s a former business associate of Romney’s who might be expected to know.

    Is Reid still blameworthy then, Doug? Does your answer depend on whether it then turns out that the source lied to Reid? What about if the claim turns out to be true?

  35. @Anderson:

    Tell Harry to name his source then we can find out the answer

  36. C. Clavin says:

    Current…ongoing…bald-faced…Romney Campaign lies:
    They are lying about the “You didn’t build that” comment.
    They are lying about the Ohio voting suit.
    They are lying about the welfare work rules.

    Given the mendacity of this…why should we believe anything Romney says?
    Why is Doug supporting a liar?
    And why is what Reid did…even if, as accused, it is a bald-faced lie…so bad by comparison? Maybe he’s bluffing…trying to get Romney to show his cards. So what?
    Should Democrats really stand around and just say; “…shucks…those guys are lying?”
    John Kerry proved what happens when you take the high road that Doug (a Romney supporter) is advising.

  37. Cycloptichorn says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Romney and the GOP’s position is the one being lauded as ‘truth and reason?’

    C’mon. The above posters are correct. All this pearl-clutching is downright pathetic. You’d think that the GOP never once put their practice team out there against their own offense, they’re so pathetic at responding to the EXACT sorts of attacks that have been very, very useful for them in electoral politics for, oh, my entire lifetime.

    Just to put it plainly: if throwing around repeated accusations are the only way to keep the pressure on Romney to release his taxes, Democrats should keep doing it to the utmost extent possible. Republicans are pissed because it’s working, not because it’s wrong. They could care less about morality or ethics in terms of political tactics. So why should I?

  38. C. Clavin says:

    “…Tell Harry to name his source then we can find out the answer…”

    The answer to what?

  39. Cycloptichorn says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Tell Romney to release his tax returns and we’ll find out the answer.

    Also, are you just too busy to type periods, or what? You rarely if ever respond in complete sentences.

  40. rudderpedals says:

    It’d be irresponsible not to assume there’s dead girl/live boy level stuff in there to justify possibly three more lousy weeks in the runup to Tampa.

  41. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Why should he give up his source? Suppose he gave his source his word that he wouldn’t reveal his identity? Should Reid go back on his word?

    Would you ask journalists to give up their anonymous sources?

  42. Anderson says:

    Tell Harry to name his source then we can find out the answer

    Well, if your position is just purely partisan and not based on any principles, then why didn’t you just say so to begin with.

  43. john personna says:

    @PD Shaw:

    I did not down vote you, but I think you deserved it. Not for anything you did, but because Romney lied about Obama and Welfare, TODAY.

    That isn’t some random guy with a claim. That was from the very pinnacle of his campaign. That was a lie from the would-be President.

  44. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    So, if all’s fair, there won’t be any whining about charges of Harry Reid being a rumored pederast, who’s spreading his lies in defense of the dog-eating Kenyan-born Muslim atheist Marxist?

    I hear politics ain’t whiffleball…

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: You mean Obama DIDN’T get rid of the Clinton-era welfare work requirements by Executive Order? Gosh, I am so verklempt…

  46. Loviatar says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    John McCain and Steve Schmidt have seen 23 years of Mitt Romney’s tax returns, have they called Harry Reid a liar yet?

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Your loyal audience, Doug. Don’t they make you so proud?

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just to step back and get a “political” view on all this:

    HarryR: “That lying sack of sh!t been cheatin’ his taxes for years!”

    Mittens: “Ooooohhhh, he is so mean, he say’s people tell him things, but won’t say who.”

    Harry R:”Fwck you punk, put up or shut up! If I am wrong, you can easily prove me wrong!”

    Mittens: “Ooooohhhh, he is so mean, he say’s people tell him things, but won’t say who.”

    HarryR: “RELEASE THE TAX FORMS YOU GUTLESS WEASEL!”

    Mittens: “Ooooohhhh, he is so mean, he say’s people tell him things, but won’t say who.”

    Do you get it, Doug? Romney…. if he should so choose…. could quite easily prove Reid a liar. But yet…. he does not. What, pray tell, IS in those tax forms? Inquiring minds want to know. And God bless him, Harry Reid may just have the crow bar that will open them. The fact that you find his crow bar distasteful….

    Excuse me but, fwck off. I find Harry’s crow bar distasteful as well. but the fact that this particular SOB (Romney) thinks he is above being vetted by the American electorate, that he will do everything within his power to hide his past….I find even more distasteful. That you don’t… I find telling. Fwck Romney. He could end this all now. He does not.

    Doug, why does this not bother you?

    Ps; To make the political view as clear as possible: Mittens: “I could fight back…. but I might get beat up.” In other words Doug,, Mittens is a pussy. Americans hate pussies. Especially as their CIC.

  49. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You mean Obama DIDN’T get rid of the Clinton-era welfare work requirements by Executive Order?

    So you know Romney’s lying about that, but don’t care?

  50. Aidan says:

    Pointing out that neither Politifact nor Glenn Kessler were actually checking facts is not lauding Harry Reid.

    Politifact’s method of “fact checking” is saying that Reid didn’t provide any solid evidence that somebody told him that Romney didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years. They provide no solid evidence that nobody told Harry Reid that Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years. They say that Harry Reid is guilty of a “pants on fire lie” because Romney said he paid taxes and unnamed tax experts said that it is “highly unlikely he would have been able to avoid paying taxes altogether.” That doesn’t sound like conclusive evidence to me.

    Kessler’s method of fact checking is quoting people saying that it would be “highly improbable,” listing several ways that Romney could have shielded his income from the IRS, and then finishing by quoting somebody saying that it is theoretically possible but highly unlikely that this occurred. At no point in this process were any actual facts actually checked.

    Do I think that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years? No. Do I think that Harry Reid has a source who told him that Romney paid no taxes for 10 years? That’s believable to me, though it’s equally believable that he doesn’t have a source (not that I would believe a source claiming to have seen 10 years of returns). But tell me, what conclusive evidence did Politifact and Kessler uncover? Did they see his tax returns? Of course not, because they aren’t available. Did they uncover Harry Reid’s phone log, revealing that he hasn’t take a phone call in four months? Nope. Were there any facts here that either Politifact or Kessler could check? Well, not unless you consider quoting a secondary source telling you something is theoretically possible but highly improbable is a rock solid fact check.

    Are Glenn Kessler and Politifact very bad at their jobs? Hold on, let me find something solid to back that up.

  51. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    To be honest, I don’t really care much about this claim by Reid – it’s just politics and people can make whatever claims they think they can get away with. You’re right there’s a difference in consequences, but the arguments are essentially the same. It’s obviously an attempt to spin up doubt like the birthers did and force Romney to release his returns (something I think he should do anyway). I’m just amazed at the human ability to rationalize – how, when tables are turned, what was an unjustifiable outrage before is just fine and vice-versa. Then, when this switch is pointed out it’s more rationalization, a lot of it stuff I wouldn’t tolerate from my kids (fight fire with fire, “he did it first” etc.). The hard-core partisans on both sides do this with astonishing regularity.

  52. john personna says:

    If Romney was going to have surrogates attack Reid as a liar, Romney really should have tried to tell the truth that week.

    Concurrent lies actually ruin the effect.

  53. Aidan says:
  54. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    I think the birthers thought they had a qute way to reverse an election, disqualify a President.

  55. Cycloptichorn says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, if all’s fair, there won’t be any whining about charges of Harry Reid being a rumored pederast, who’s spreading his lies in defense of the dog-eating Kenyan-born Muslim atheist Marxist?

    I hear politics ain’t whiffleball…

    I normally stay away from responding to you, because you seem like a real nutjob, and not all that interesting. But this post actually raises an important point.

    Namely, that you should go ahead and spread whatever rumors you want about Reid and Obama. Seriously. I doubt he cares in the slightest, because the things you mention fall into two categories:

    1, crazy junk about Obama that has already been proven to be a liability for the GOP, and

    2, crazy crap about Reid that nobody believes, because there’s no supporting or character evidence to back it up.

    See, the big problem for Romney here is that everyone believes Reid. He may not be exactly right, but he’s probably close to being right. It fits the pattern that Romney has already developed, and his secrecy problems don’t help him here. It’s an extremely effective attack because it’s believable. It confirms what people already think about the guy.

    And, it’s working like a charm, this has been on the front page of pretty much every news site for a week now. I’d be shocked if they don’t continue this all the way to the GOP convention.

    Now, please return to your mouth-breathing…

  56. Stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You miss the point, Jenos. All those Republican lies preceded what Harry Reid did. At most, it’s a long delayed counter attack.

  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Aidan: Reid didn’t put forth anything that could be fact-checked. He said a Bain investor said Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.

    Earlier, I said that it could be literally true, if you counted Romney’s first ten years of life. And that’s about it.

    So you look at the likelihood of what Reid said. A Bain investor (NOT an employee or partner) would have information like that? Not “Romney said he didn’t pay taxes for ten years,” but “Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.” That isn’t the kind of information a simple investor would have.

    Maybe it was the guy who was running Bain after Romney left — the guy who shut down that steel mill, and who’s a top Obama fund-raiser — who gave Reid the tip.

    Or, more likely, Reid made the whole thing up.

    He’s offered NOTHING to back up his allegation, not even offering if he thinks the charge is credible or his source is one he trusts. He’s simply parroting a scurrilous allegation because it benefits his side.

    And this is the elected leaders of the Democrats in the Senate.

    I find myself wishing Romney wins but the Democrats keep the Senate, just to see how these two would deal with each other next year.

  58. Herb says:

    @michael reynolds:

    ” But this much outrage? Spare me.”

    Seriously.

    We all know John Boehner is a bucket of tears, but the rest of the right wing is now too?

    Herm Edwards put it nicely: “You play to win the game.” We all know that Doug would prefer Gary Johnson, be alright with Mitt Romney, and doesn’t want Obama re-elected. Which is why he wants the Dems to play to lose.

    Not this time, buddy. Not this time.

  59. Cycloptichorn says:

    @Andy:

    The hard-core partisans on both sides do this with astonishing regularity.

    Perhaps they do so because of the overwhelming evidence that shows such tactics as being effective?

    If you don’t follow politics closely, having the ‘story’ controlled in this manner is powerful stuff. My mom doesn’t know much about politics, but she ‘knows’ that Romney refuses to disprove allegations against him, scurrilous ones, because he thinks disproving them will hurt him more. That’s definitely bad for team GOP.

  60. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Sorry you missed the whole point, chuckles, but Harry Reid doesn’t give a damn what losers like you say about him. Lie all you want, it’s only going to make him laugh at you.

    And if you think whining that Reid is a big poopy pants is going to help Romney, you’re a bigger dunce than you’ve ever shown. Every word people say about Reid here rebounds right onto Romney — “So all he has to do is release the returns. Why won’t he?”

  61. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stonetools: Congrats. You’ve just forfeited your right to whine about “dishonest attacks.”

  62. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    “…Tell Harry to name his source then we can find out the answer…”

    The answer to what?

    – Answer to the question: “Harry, who is your source?”
    – Predicted result of outing the source: The source would deny that he ever said anything about Romney’s tax avoidance.”

  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    So, if all’s fair, there won’t be any whining about charges of Harry Reid being a rumored pederast

    Consider these two things:

    A) An accusation that is essentially impossible to disprove.

    B) An accusation that can be easily and definitively disproved by releasing documents that all other recent candidates have released.

    You and a lot of other people don’t understand the difference.

  64. Aidan says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Exactly, Harry Reid didn’t say anything that could be fact checked. Therefore it should not have been written about by fact checkers as though he did.

  65. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Shorter Jenos: “Waaaahh!!! Waaaahhh!!! Waaaahhh!!!”

  66. anjin-san says:

    @ Doug

    Tell Harry to name his source then we can find out the answer

    Reid is not asking me to vote for him. Romney is. Sorry, you are looking in the wrong place for the burden of proof.

    As someone mentioned above, McCain knows what is in Romney’s taxes, and he has not come out and called Reid a liar. I still give McCain enough credit for being stand up that I will believe him if he does so. Failing that, his silence speaks volumes…

  67. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Reid didn’t put forth anything that could be fact-checked.

    Please try thinking, even a little. It’s pretty clear that Romney could release his tax returns anytime he wants to show how wrong Harry Reid is. Romney’s taxes can be fact-checked.

  68. C. Clavin says:

    “…You miss the point, Jenos…”

    Well now, there is a comment that could be posted in every single thread…

  69. Andy says:

    @john personna: The birthers can think what they want, reality is something different. If they thought they could actually reverse an election, then they were/are crazy.

  70. jukeboxgrad says:

    Reid’s accusation is plausible because Mitt has a track record of going to extremes to avoid taxation. Notice what Marriott did when he was head of the audit committee (link):

    A federal appeals court invalidated the maneuver in a 2009 ruling, siding with the U.S. Department of Justice, which called Marriott’s transaction and attempted tax benefits “fictitious,” “artificial,” “spectral,” an “illusion” and a “scheme.”

  71. anjin-san says:

    And, it’s working like a charm, this has been on the front page of pretty much every news site for a week now. I’d be shocked if they don’t continue this all the way to the GOP convention.

    Romney is bleeding heavily on this one (and the fact that Harry Reid is punk slapping him is a story unto itself). The chorus of GOP pundits and rainmakers telling him to release the returns is getting louder, and time is getting shorter.

    Yet he won’t budge. The smart money says there is a deal breaker in his tax returns.

  72. LightsOut says:

    @Aidan:

    Shorter fact checkers: Reid is definitely lying because he’s probably lying.

  73. PJ says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Another thing to note is that when the number of years released came up Steve Schmidt, who is privy to the information in Romney’s returns, said that there was nothing “disqualifying” in them. Strictly speaking zero taxes is legal and not disqualifying.
    But Schmidt has been, to my knowledge, absolutely silent on the zero taxes issue.
    Wouldn’t it be easy for him to say no, that’s wrong? If in fact it is wrong?

    Schmidt has recently said that he never saw the returns.

    Those returns are so toxic that very few have actually been allowed to see them.

  74. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “You’ve just forfeited your right to whine about “dishonest attacks.” “

    Please……

    The side who’s been using dishonest attacks for years doesn’t get to decide who forfeits their right to complain about jack$hit. This is not the time to start calling people hypocrites and whining about the unfairness of it all.

    This is the time for you guys to take your medicine and get better candidates. Stop nominating rich, out of touch dudes who’s running for president just like daddy did.

  75. Andy says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    Perhaps they do so because of the overwhelming evidence that shows such tactics as being effective?

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. Did birtherism hurt the President? Is there any evidence that someone was going to vote for him but changed their mind because of the accusation?

    Similarly, is anyone who is currently supporting Romney going to change their minds because of what Reid says?

    I don’t think the evidence is all that overwhelming. In most cases, these accusations just play to the biases of people who are likely already in the tank for one side or another. They have no effect on independent, politically informed people like me. They might sway some low-information independent voters if the accusations become viral enough to reach them.

  76. Robert Levine says:

    I agree it’s a nasty tactic (especially if it’s a lie, which is something we don’t know.) But I think it’s different in its essential nature than the kinds of lies of which Romney has proven to be a serial purveyor.

    First of all, it’s very easy for the target of the lie to disprove it; all Romney has to do is produce his returns. Secondly, Romney’s refusal to show more than one year of returns (2010) is way outside the accepted bipartisan norms of American presidential politics (as criticism of his refusal by fellow Republicans demonstrates).

    The biggest difference is that the kinds of lies that the Romney campaign uses repeatedly (video of Obama saying “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose” without mentioning that Obama was quoting McCain’s campaign talking about itself, attacking Obama for wanting to restrict military voting when the Obama campaign was doing no such thing, etc.) are far more damaging to the political process than is Reid essentially taunting Romney for not having done something that, according to long tradition, he should have done. I find the quoting out of context (and doing it by slickly edited video) especially troubling, because if it becomes acceptable to do so, no politician will ever speak off the cuff, or even utter any combination of words that, cut and pasted together in imaginative ways by a video editor, might be used against him or her. I don’t think that’s the kind of political discourse that we need.

    Harry Reid may have told a lie. But Mitt Romney is sowing salt in what’s left of a healthy field for political discourse.

  77. Cycloptichorn says:

    @Andy:

    Sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires. Did birtherism hurt the President?

    It absolutely did. It was a distraction and an excuse that was used to attack him on a quite base level – for years. And, I should point out, it eventually resulted in him being forced to release the documents in question.

    The big difference in this case is that Obama’s release of the birth certificate didn’t hurt him at all; but Romney certainly can’t say the same about his taxes, which seem extremely likely to hurt his image.

    They might sway some low-information independent voters if the accusations become viral enough to reach them.

    By Jove, I think you’ve finally figured it out!

  78. jukeboxgrad says:

    McCain knows what is in Romney’s taxes

    McCain saw those returns and decided to pick Palin. Mitt probably figures there’s still time for the GOP to do something like that if he releases his returns now.

  79. grumpy realist says:

    Scratch head again. I still don’t get at what Reid thinks he’s doing…..raising this issue and then not following up on it will simply make everyone think that this is a “he-said, she-said” issue. The reporters are going to be distracted by some other bright shiny object and will ignore the issue from here on in, brushing it aside as “that’s already been raised.”

    Henry Reid, what have you been smoking?

  80. jukeboxgrad says:

    andy:

    these accusations just play to the biases of people who are likely already in the tank for one side or another. They have no effect on independent, politically informed people like me.

    “Politically informed people” are not still undecided. But there are some people who are still undecided, and they tend to be not “politically informed,” and current campaign tactics are directed at them, and for good reason.

  81. LightsOut says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Reid didn’t put forth anything that could be fact-checked.

    You seem to have figured out what has thus far eluded Kessler et al.

  82. Stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Actually, I’ve forfeited the right to complain about ONE attack. I can still whine about the 499 other dishonest attacks the Republicns have made just this year. You ‘re welcome for the math lesson.

  83. David M says:

    @LightsOut: I’m not sure the fact checkers should be ignoring that Romney can release his tax returns and put the question to rest at any time, but chooses not to.

  84. C. Clavin says:

    @ PJ…
    Yes, he never actually saw them. But he was privy to them…enough that he could say there was nothing in them that disqualified Romney. But there is a lot of wiggle room in that. Maybe he doesn’t know.

    Again…there is one person who could own up to the accepted norms of Presidential campaigns and end all of this. But he is a pussy.

  85. Aidan says:

    http://twitter.com/politifact/status/232846169699659777

    ‏@politifact
    @mattyglesias We never said “lie.” We said Reid provided no evidence and our reporting found no evidence.

    So Harry Reid is guilty of a pants on fire failure to provide evidence.

  86. C. Clavin says:

    Soory…that was an insult to young kittens.

  87. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: ” I still don’t get at what Reid thinks he’s doing…..raising this issue and then not following up on it will simply make everyone think that this is a “he-said, she-said” issue”

    No. Because there’s one obvious way Romney can stop it from being a he-said, she-said issue. Because he has concrete proof that Reid is lying — if Reid is lying. So then the next question raises itself over and over and over again: Why won’t he just release the returns?

    It’s not about whether or not Romney paid zero income taxes. It’s about why won’t he release the returns — especially when it would now so obviously benefit him… if he’s telling the truth?

    Get it now?

  88. Andy says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    It absolutely did. It was a distraction and an excuse that was used to attack him on a quite base level – for years. And, I should point out, it eventually resulted in him being forced to release the documents in question.

    That it was used to attack him doesn’t mean the attack was politically consequential. Also, he wasn’t “forced” to do anything. Rather, he timed the release to make the birthers look like complete D-bags.

    @jukeboxgrad: “Politically informed people” are not still undecided.

    Well, I’m politically informed and I’m undecided. I know a few others as well. Admittedly, we’re probably in the minority.

    @jukeboxgrad:

    McCain saw those returns and decided to pick Palin.

    Is there any evidence of cause-and-effect? Doesn’t look like it. McCain picked Palin because she was supposedly a “game changer” to reinvigorate his campaign. I’d have to look up the details, but I remember the McCain campaign saying there was nothing in the tax returns that would disqualify Romney as a running mate. Opinions may differ, but I would think that not paying any taxes for ten years would be disqualifying.

  89. Andy says:

    @Cycloptichorn:

    By Jove, I think you’ve finally figured it out!

    I’m not suggesting that such tactics are never effective. I’m disputing your claim that there is overwhelming evidence that they are effective. It remains to be seen whether Reid’s accusations will hurt Romney, help Romney, or do nothing at all.

  90. Andy says:

    PS: It’s annoying when a comment gets tagged for spam when replying to more than one person in a single comment 🙁

  91. LightsOut says:

    @David M:

    I’m not sure the fact checkers should be ignoring that Romney can release his tax returns and put the question to rest at any time, but chooses not to.

    My point is that there are no new facts for them to be checking yet, so it’s not appropriate for them be commenting in that role right now.

    Now, if Romney were to release his returns, or if the person who talked to Reid (if there is one) were to come forward, then that would be the time to weigh in. But why now, when it’s all just conjecture? The rush to pass judgement and assert their authority is seriously damaging their credibility.

  92. jukeboxgrad says:

    politifact:

    We never said “lie.” We said Reid provided no evidence and our reporting found no evidence.

    Politifact is guilty of “pants on fire” for pretending that “pants on fire” is not a synonym for “lie.”

  93. george says:

    @Cycloptichorn: @Cycloptichorn:

    The big difference in this case is that Obama’s release of the birth certificate didn’t hurt him at all; but Romney certainly can’t say the same about his taxes, which seem extremely likely to hurt his image.

    Unless Romney, like Obama, is playing the long ball. Imagine if a few days before the election he releases his tax forms and it turns out he was paying taxes all along. I suspect he’d get a short term bounce.

    I should add I don’t think this is likely in Romney’s case, but it’d be a pretty good tactic for some future candidate to use … get someone to accuse him, hold off releasing until just before the election, and then get the bounce.

    Yeah, I’ve been reading too many summer thrillers.

  94. jukeboxgrad says:

    I remember the McCain campaign saying there was nothing in the tax returns that would disqualify Romney as a running mate

    This is what McCain said:

    there was nothing disqualifying in his tax returns

    He used that word twice. It was carefully chosen. It’s a euphemism for this: ‘illegal.’ That doesn’t mean much. Reducing my tax liability to zero is not “disqualifying” if it’s legal. It means I’ll lose, but it’s not “disqualifying.”

  95. LightsOut says:

    @Aidan:

    Rather than using a scale based on puppet nose length or trouser incendiary status, a more authentic fact checker judgement should ideally yield either True or False. That’s it.

    Though it won’t happen because most of the resulting articles would be boring, and might even (horrors) require some basic math.

  96. Herb says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    “We said Reid provided no evidence and our reporting found no evidence.”

    Remember this golden moldie? “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?” I do…..

    Romney needs to release his tax returns. If he doesn’t want to, he needs to withstand the heat.

  97. Andy says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    He used that word twice. It was carefully chosen. It’s a euphemism for this: ‘illegal.’ That doesn’t mean much. Reducing my tax liability to zero is not “disqualifying” if it’s legal. It means I’ll lose, but it’s not “disqualifying.”

    That’s one interpretation, but VP’s are vetted on much more than that. They can be disqualified for anything that will cause a campaign political problems. That’s the primary reason tax returns are required for vetting – one is unlikely to find illegal activity in a tax return, but one can certainly discover embarrassing facts or other things that would politically damage a campaign.

  98. Latino_in_Boston says:

    No doubt Reid’s claim is probably bs. It seems rather improbable, which is all the more reason for Romney campaign to ignore it.

    To respond this way has only kept the topic of Romney’s tax returns on the news, and making it a bigger deal by the way. Even if Romney never releases his tax returns, Reid has already managed to keep the campaign off topic for a week, a campaign which by all accounts is already floundering. And the way this is going, it’ll just keep going back and forth to the point where Romney might just feel enough pressure to release his tax returns.

  99. C. Clavin says:

    Remember too that Romney was asked by ABC directly if he had ever paid less than a 13.9%tax rate…Romney said he would go back and look…then the Campaign came back and said they weren’t going to answer the question.
    I’ll bet a weeks pay there is at least one year of zero income tax paid.
    In the context of this thread that would make Reid’s source a liar.
    But it would still be toxic for Romney.
    I remember Jan saying the problem with this country is that the sick and the poor and the old paid no taxes…the so-called 47%…they have no skin in the game. My guess is she would be OK with Romney paying zero taxes though. That’s how she rolls.

  100. C. Clavin says:

    @ Latino in Boston…
    I think the longer it goes on…and the longer he can deflect by asking for Reid’s source…the harder it is for him to release them. It will look weak. Which he is…but…

  101. PD Shaw says:

    @Cycloptichorn:”Romney and the GOP’s position is the one being lauded as ‘truth and reason?'”

    No, I did not write that did I? I simply think “the other side does it” is not something to cheer on, even if its true. And even if its been true for over two hundred years.

  102. David M says:

    @Latino_in_Boston: Why does everyone think the claim is BS? Everything we know about Romney/Bain suggests otherwise. Even the fact checkers admit it’s possible as they try and cover for Mitt.

  103. An Interested Party says:

    In other words Doug,, Mittens is a pussy. Americans hate pussies. Especially as their CIC.

    Exactly right…this was baked into the attacks against Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry…now some people who didn’t seem to mind that in those previous times now need the smelling salts and the fainting couches? The poor dears…

  104. john personna says:

    @PD Shaw:

    The “both sides do it” has been looking asymmetrical for years.

    The pattern has been to match high profile lies on the right with obscure ones on the left.

    Reid may be the highest profile suspect on the left to come along, but he does not match lies by a candidate.

    This should not rank anywhere near rhe “you did not build that” video manipulation.

  105. llama says:

    Who knew that Doug Mataconis was an expert in trust and estate law for private equity executives? He’s the guy to hire, because he knows that there’s no way that Romney paid anywhere close to 0% in income taxes, even if ten of millions of dollars of income that we know about from the relevant time period are in a completely income tax free account!

    Just assume half of his income was from Bain Capital (the holding company that Romney was sole shareholder of) shares being sold back to the new owners of Bain Capital. These shares were in his IRA. All gains are tax free. The other half of his income is from regular capital gains. Romney would paying an effective income tax rate of 7.5%. Throw in some vanilla offshore blocker entities, and you’re down to under 5%. Reid is definitely saying some crazy things! Or a lot of people are just talking about things no knows anything about.

  106. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    So, if all’s fair, there won’t be any whining about charges of Harry Reid being a rumored pederast, who’s spreading his lies in defense of the dog-eating Kenyan-born Muslim atheist Marxist?

    This would make more sense if you all hadn’t already been doing this stuff for years.

  107. James in LA says:

    Harry Reid is irrelevant. The tax issue will not be going away, either.

  108. jukeboxgrad says:

    one is unlikely to find illegal activity in a tax return, but one can certainly discover embarrassing facts or other things that would politically damage a campaign

    But that applies to the 2010 return that Mitt (partially) released. Stashing money in places like the Cayman Islands counts as “embarrassing facts or other things that would politically damage a campaign.” We shouldn’t assume this is something Mitt never did before 2010; the batch McCain saw almost certainly included such things. That’s why it’s not logical to assume that your broad definition of “disqualifying” is what McCain had in mind.

  109. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @David M:

    I don’t really know one way or another, but Reid said that he doesn’t know if it’s true or not. That sounds to me like trolling, and the Romney campaign has fallen right into it, in my opinion. Either way, I think Reid is winning the round.

    @C. Clavin:

    You might be right, Clavin, but either way it’s a lose-lose for Romney. Either it makes him look like he’s hiding something, or it makes him look weak.

  110. stonetools says:

    An MSNBC report points to ten years of evasiveness and double dealing by Mitt Romney on taxes. That is why this isn’t BS and why the Republicans are so hot to discredit Reid’s account.
    Taken by itself, Reid’s claim sounds improbable. But if you take it with a decade of dissembling by Mitt Romney about taxes , then it begins to look plausible.

  111. Drew says:

    The verdict is in. The lefty posters here are the most dishonest, hypocritical group I’ve seen.

    Chicago style politics is in. What next, opening divorce records?

    Change you can believe in, snicker. Hopey……changey …..filthy.

  112. Spartacus says:

    Doug wrote: “[U]nless Reid identifies his source and that source comes forward there’s no way we can judge the veracity of the information that he is purporting to convey.”

    There’s no way to judge the veracity? Really?

    First of all, even if Reid does identify his source we still wouldn’t be able to verify whether Romney paid taxes. No, the only way we will be able to verify the veracity of the claim is for Romney to release his tax returns.

    Doug also wrote: “As I’ve noted before, it’s rather implausible that a Bain investor would have ever had access to any one of Mitt Romney’s personal tax returns not to mention ten years worth of them.”

    I’ll simply re-post my previous response:

    The caller claimed to have been an investor in Bain. As such, the caller would have received a copy of Bain’s tax returns, which would have shown the payments to the various investors including Romney. The caller would also know whether the payments to the investors had been structured in such a way as to permit those investors to avoid taxes on them.

  113. wr says:

    @Drew: “The lefty posters here are the most dishonest, hypocritical group I’ve seen.”

    In other words, they’re doing what we’ve been doing for decades. Not fair! Not fair! Waaah!!!

    So speaks the great businessman of the century.

    Another whiny ass titty baby, a bully until he gets punched in the nose, and then he’s desperate for the ref.

    At least be a man, you pathetic loser. Your side has been playing these dirty games for decades. Grow up and fight back or take it. Don’t fall down and start screaming for mommy. Because no one cares.

  114. Ron Beasley says:

    @Drew: No Drew it’s Rove style politics. How can you tell Romney is lying? His lips are moving!

  115. anjin-san says:

    The lefty posters here are the most dishonest

    If we had heard a word of protest from you about “Obama is a Kenyan, Commie, Marxist, Jihadist, America Hater, Terrorist Lover, Success Hater, College Cheater” and so on, and so on, you might have a shred of credibility.

    But you don’t.

  116. Herb says:

    @Drew:

    “The lefty posters here are the most dishonest, hypocritical group I’ve seen.”

    Please…..

    I personally am delighting in seeing all these righties cry over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, and you know what makes it even funnier? This faux-outrage nonsense. I mean, I’d like to believe right-wingers can dish it out but can’t take it, but I think it’s more likely this is all a performance.

    Going back almost ten years now, we lefties had to endure George Bush accusing us of giving comfort to the enemy when we criticized his poorly-conceived wars. Then John Kerry got swiftboated. Sarah Palin winked at the “Real Americans” all the way to the bank, then we had to listen to nonsense about flag pins, birth certificates, terrorist fist bumps, and an almost infinite amount of made-up crap about Obama, which continues to this day. The “Tea Party?” Don’t even get me started.

    But Harry Reid, an established asshole from the old school, spreads a rumor about your mega-rich candidate’s unrevealed tax returns and you guys fall to the ground like professional mourners, eating dirt and wailing. It’s damn hilarious is what it is.

    The bully gets bullied, and discovers that it sucks. Shocker.

  117. al-Ameda says:

    @Drew:

    The verdict is in. The lefty posters here are the most dishonest, hypocritical group I’ve seen.
    Chicago style politics is in. What next, opening divorce records?
    Change you can believe in, snicker. Hopey……changey …..filthy.

    The verdict is in: The right wing posters here are shocked … SHOCKED … that liberals would utilize right wing tactics and engage in hardball campaign tactics.

    By the way, hope and change went out the door with the 2010 mid-term elections that swept the Republicans to power in the House.

  118. dennis says:

    Seems like a classic case of “Tit for tat, you rat,” to me.

  119. First of all, and as others here have said, Harry Reid did not lie. He said a highly credible source told him Romney hasn’t paid taxes for 10 years. That is not a lie — unless there is no such source and Reid is saying this on his own, which we have no reason to believe is true.

    Second, and to my mind more important, however you characterize Reid’s charge on the moral or ethical scale, I find Romney’s refusal to release more than two years worth of returns — which he’s been doing all along, long before this Reid ruckus began — FAR more ethically problematic than Reid’s saying someone told him he hasn’t paid taxes in 10 years. No presidential candidate in this country, ever, has refused to release more than two years worth of returns. It’s outrageous, and that’s what people should be upset about.

  120. michael reynolds says:

    @Drew:

    You’re cute when you panic.

    Your boy is going to have to give up his tax returns or he’s going to lose. He’s going to come clean or go down.

  121. anjin-san says:

    Drew sounds kind of crabby and nervous. All the Republicans do.

    Nate Silver has Obama @ a 72% chance of winning today 🙂

  122. Robert C says:

    @Latino_in_Boston:

    Why does Romney have any more credibility than Reid…Romney poops les…he is a lying machine. Both are LDS…maybe Reid got some info from LDS elders?

    RC

  123. Loviatar says:

    Behind The Steely New Democratic Resolve

    “The biggest thing that changed was there was a major shift in the overall environment when it comes to the tax debate,” the Democratic aide said, crediting the Occupy Wall Street movement for helping make the wealth disparity a national issue. “People increasingly think the system is rigged to benefit those at the top.”