Ever since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the Senate floor to tell the world that former Massachusetts governor and likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had not paid his taxes, I received a number of tips from confidential sources who chose to remain anonymous about Reid himself.
Among the more interesting are these:
Now journalistic standards and my own personal integrity typically would require me to check these rumors out, starting with a phone call to Reid's office, to see if there is any truth to these allegations before publishing them. Given that Reid has changed the rules, however, it is apparently now OK to share them in a column and leave it to the Senate's leading Democrat to prove that any or all of them are not true once they have become public.
What Reid did is despicable, a tactic worthy of the late Wisconsin Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy who, history records, repeatedly accused government workers of being Communist sympathizers or Soviet agents on the basis of little if any truth, destroying careers and reputations in the process. It is even more so because he did it under cover of the U.S. Constitution which, in its "speech and debate" clause, protects members of the House and Senate from being sued for anything they might say on the chamber floor in the course of their official duties.
It is abundantly clear that the Democrats, who have no record of accomplishment to speak of over the last four years, believe the only way they can retain control of the White House is be assassinating Romney's character, to make him so unlikeable that the American people will reject him out of hand and give Obama a second term by default. This is no way to run a railroad.
The media solons who routinely denounce negative campaigning have been largely silent about what Reid did. They've failed to criticize him for stating as fact that Romney is a tax cheat, a charge designed to distort the ebb and flow of the current presidential campaign. The Democrats want Romney's tax records—need Romney's tax records—as they want to manufacture a campaign based on class hatred and envy because, under their leadership, things in America have only gotten worse.
So what if unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months? Romney needs to release a decades worth of tax returns. Is Obamacare causing people to lose their employer-based health insurance? No matter—where are Romney's tax returns? Is Obama selling out Israel? Not as important as getting a peek at Romney's tax returns. But, because the former governor is standing strong and refusing to give in to their demands, they have taken—in Reid's case any way—to accusing him of tax evasion and insisting the only way he can prove his innocence is to turn over the documents they want, documents they intend to pick through to launch even more unfounded, untruthful allegations so desperate are they to find a winning campaign strategy.
The late Senator McCarthy would be proud of the way Reid employed tactics he invented to smear Romney. It's proven at least a little bit effective, given that it's planted a small seed of doubt in the minds of many Americans. By challenging Romney to prove his innocence, Reid has turned the traditional American standard of "innocent until proven otherwise" on its head, just like McCarthy did. Any Democrat possessing an ounce of political courage or a scintilla of personal integrity would have already denounced him but, so far, all we hear is the sound of crickets. We should tell us all a lot about the state of America's two major political parties.