Stuck With Harry Reid

By Jeffrey Page

A late note on Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, who is an idiot. Of this there can be no doubt. It was Reid, after all, the supposedly distinguished gentleman from Nevada, who said Barack Obama has “no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.” That was not in the Stone Age of American politics, but just two years ago. He also chided Obama for his different vocal inflections when speaking before the NAACP and less formal gatherings.

Negro dialect?” In 2010? (Reid also noted for anyone who cared to listen, that Obama was a “light-skinned” black person.

And now, along comes Harry Reid jumping into the fray over whether Mitt Romney has paid any income tax for the last decade or so. He has not, Reid said. He asserted this on the floor of the Senate, where members can’t be sued for what they say. Someone who worked at Romney’s Bain Capital slipped Reid this juicy bit of information, he said. But alas, it was a confidential tip so Harry was unable to reveal the source’s identity.

And there it hangs: The belief that Romney paid no taxes. Clearly, Reid accomplished what he set out to do.

Meanwhile, some of Romney’s defenders don’t sound very helpful when they go into attack mode against Reid.

First up was Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who called Reid “a dirty liar” on national TV.

There are problems with Priebus’s logic. If Romney’s tax affairs are Romney’s business and no one else’s, as he and his allies insist, how could Priebus conclude that Reid was lying? He never backed up his “dirty liar” assertion by saying Romney showed him his 1040s. I think Priebus knows as much about Romney’s taxes as I do. Which is nothing at all.

Then there was Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. discussing Reid on television: “I think he’s lying about his statement of knowing something about Romney. I think he has created an issue here. I think he’s making things up.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Romney and his relationship with the Internal Revenue Service. Graham thinks Reid is lying, thinks Reid has created an issue, thinks Reid is making things up. If you’re waiting for Graham to say something for certain, let me know when it comes. In the meantime, his use of think needs a little work. Because if I say I think he’s a dolt it means I can’t be sure.

Interesting part of this contretemps is that, unless I’m seriously mistaken, that was about the extent of the defense of Mitt and his tax habits. The Messrs. Paul, Gingrich, Perry, Cain, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Santorum, and Ms. Bachmann, all of whom had plenty to say (mostly negative) about Romney before he crushed them, have been uncharacteristically silent in their presumed outrage over Reid’s charge against their presumed nominee.

Finally there was Romney himself. In a campaign stop in Nevada, he declared: “Let me also say categorically: I have paid taxes every year. A lot of taxes. A lot of taxes.”

So have I, so have I, Mitt. So has everybody else in this country. We pay sales tax, county tax, village tax, school tax, gasoline tax, and, oh yes, federal and state income taxes.

Here are the questions that apparently will not be answered and thus will not go away. Which taxes do you pay, Mitt? A lot, you say? What’s a lot, Mitt? How much in flat dollars? And how much as a percentage of your adjusted gross income?

Obama’s man David Axelrod put it plainly: Mitt Romney ought to take 10 seconds and release his tax returns. “Why don’t they just put it to rest?” Axlerod said. “What is it that he is hiding?”

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3 Responses to “Stuck With Harry Reid”

  1. Carole Howard Says:

    Indeed! And maybe he should release his birth certificate, too. The long form of course.

  2. Kwalabatu Says:

    Maybe he’s atoning for his previous neanderthal attitude: he certainly has put the screws on R and made the taxes question clear and vivid. As I’ve noted before, it is a move of political genius.

  3. Marshall Rubin Says:

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that Romney will ever release more of his tax returns. Romney’s advisers probably told Mitt that it’s better that some people THINK he’s a tax-dodger, than everyone KNOW that he is.

    I believe that Reid actually was told by a Romney insider that Mitt paid no taxes for ten years, but without verification, Reid’s claim is nothing more than heresay, and it’s Reid who might come off as the liar. The burden of proof is on Reid, the accuser, and NOT Romney!

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