The American People Can Handle the Truth
Romney needs to release his tax returns and let any fallout quickly become old news
July 18, 2012
Mitt Romney is not wrong in saying that given the weak state of the economy, all President Barack Obama can do is attack him. As Charlie Cook noted this week, "the fundamentals are pulling strongly in favor of Mitt Romney," and that's got the president's team firing on all cylinders.
But Romney's naive if he thinks Obama's going to stop his attacks when Romney's offering up such powerful ammunition: minimal past income taxes, confusing Bain records, and shredded gubernatorial documents—all from a candidate running on his private sector success and his management credentials.
It's no wonder Obama has not only dismissed Romney's calls to apologize, but he's also double-downed with an advertisement in Pennsylvania, designed to prod voters into asking the most damaging question that exists: "Can you really trust him?" While undecided voters are not yet ready to answer this question—it is only July and most know there is much more water that has to flow under the bridge before they need to answer it in November—Romney's team should be concerned about the currents they're letting Obama's campaign direct.
Romney's best strategy, as many have already noted, is for him to get it all out and get it over as fast as possible. Of course, Romney's campaign is concerned about possibly revealing more offshore investments, accounting gimmicks, and religious tithing. Still, nothing inoculates like the truth because once it's out, it rapidly becomes "old news," or just "history."
Further and contrary to what many elites believe, Americans can handle the truth. What they can't handle are the manipulative strategies, the shady dodges, and the false promises of ambitious politicians. Americans' trust in a multitude of institutions is at record lows and it's because leaders from nearly every sector in the last few years have proven short-sighted, self-interested, and generally craven.
If Romney doesn't want to end up on this list, then he needs to show he's different from other politicians. By offering more transparency, he'd not only demonstrate his personal courage and leadership abilities, but he'd also reveal his faith in the American people. Now, that would really foster "hope" and signify "change."