“Eight years was awesome. I was famous and I was powerful.”
Those words of (thankfully) former President George W. Bush encapsulate the two reasons why Willard Mitt Romney seeks the presidency? To better his fellow Americans? To solve the problems of a country increasingly polarized and fragmenting? No, Romney likes the famous and powerful part. He wants to be the Savior of the business class, delivering his people from their chains of regulation and taxation to the promised land of the federal government-subsidized-and-protected global free market. The battle cry of the oppressed corporate masses is “We want the world and we want it now.” And Romney intends to lead them to victory.
From Romney’s history as sole owner of Bain Capital, concern about people other than his investors has never been primary in any of his business transactions. Companies were spun off and dissolved, American jobs shipped overseas, retirement funds raided, lives were irrevocably ruined, and Romney went on to the next deal.
It is true that Romney has been very active in the Mormon church and he and wife Ann are active in charitable causes and donate to those and others. So, they are not entirely heartless and self-absorbed people, and charitable donations are tax deductible.
Romney has contended he left Bain Capital in 1999 to take the helm of running the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. He did a tremendous job in whipping the already scandal-ridden Olympics into shape, and the whip he used was $410 million in federal taxpayer money. The Romney campaign claims that that only represented 18% of the Olympics budget—and that was spent on security. That 18% from federal funds is the highest amount ever paid by taxpayers to put on the Olympic Games. The highest before that was 11% for the 1996 games in Atlanta and 4% for the 1984 games in L.A. However, when these funds are combined with $1.1 billion in federal funds that were rushed to Salt Lake City for infrastructure construction, the total taxpayer tab for the SLC games was $1.5 billion. I could put on the Olympic Games if I was handed $1.5 billion, and I could do it part-time.
Which is maybe how Romney did it. According to a 2001 CSPAN2 video that has recently surfaced, Romney is introduced thusly: “He IS (emphasis mine) the founder and CEO of Bain Capital…” as young Mitt looks down and writes out a note. But didn’t Romney claim in 1999 and is continuing to claim he left Bain Capital in 1999? And isn’t there all that nasty business the Boston Globe uncovered about his SEC filings that list Romney as CEO of Bain until 2002? His senior advisor, Ed Gillespie, claims Romney “retroactively retired” which means that if Romney actually didn’t retire in 1999 but then in 2002 he decided that he had. Except that when someone retires from a company, after the retirement date they are no longer actively connected with that company. No, what Romney did was take a leave of absence while continuing to sign off on or personally handle deals and transactions between 1999-2002. How do I know this? Because those SEC filings claim Romney was still sole owner of Bain Capital during that time. If Bain succeeded or failed, it was his and his money only at work and at risk; hundreds of millions of dollars of his own accumulated and inherited money. This was not a case of “I’m taking off for Salt Lake City for the next three years—you mind the store”. One-quarter billionaires do not become one-quartrer billionaires by entrusting their fortunes to their employees.
The Romney campaign demands an apology for all these spurious and libelous charges from the Obama campaign and just about everyone else. But in real life, one does not apologize for telling a lie if it has not been proven it was a lie. And since Romney refuses to release his tax returns—except for his 2010 and partial 2011—then it’s just Obama’s accusation against Romney’s denial. Except for the fact that Obama has those darn SEC filings to substantiate his charge that Romney never left Bain during the time it outsourced all those jobs and invested in Stericycle, a company that specialized in disposing of aborted fetuses Romney may be against abortion but he supports making a profit from it).
When Romney wanted to be semi-famous and non-powerful as Vice-President in 2008, he gave the John McCain campaign 23 years’ worth of tax returns. McCain looked at those returns and promptly chose Sarah Palin as being “better qualified”. It’s that kind of executive judgment that lost McCain the presidency, and his credibility.
So, those returns are still sitting in some 24/7 storage shed, already collated, already sorted chronologically. Just need to open up the boxes and get to readin’. So, why does Ann Romney say, “We’ve given all you people need to know”? So, John McCain ISN’T people, my friend because he got to look at 23 years’ worth? He isn’t a corporation so I guess he isn’t a people.
But here is the Mitt Romney’s problem: he is checkmated by Obama. If he continues to refuse to release his returns, the American people will think he’s hiding something them people must not see and will not vote for him. If he releases his returns and them people see that he has been lying since 1999 about Bain Capital and can be held directly responsible for the losses of American companies and American jobs, them people will not vote for him. A possibility is that the returns would exonerate him by proving everything is a kosher as it can be with a Mormon. But if so, why hasn’t he released his returns, even with the Republican Party and a couple of straying-from-the-reservation Fox people calling for it?
Because Mitt Romney doesn’t back down to anybody; not if they’re a defenseless gay prep school student trying to make a personal statement through his haircut, or pseudo political pundit George Will. It’s like he’s tied his tax returns inside a cage on the roof of the car and will keep them there until he arrives at the White House on January 20, 2013. Except he’s got to make that stop on November 6 to hose down the cage. Except that it may very well be Romney who gets hosed on that day by the unhappy returns of the election kind—all going for Barack Obama.