Thursday, June 01, 2023
Aug 20

Written by: Diana West
Monday, August 20, 2012 4:42 AM 

Posting wasn't just "light" for the past couple of weeks, it was non-existent. This was due to finding myself blissfully "off the grid" -- the only way to R & R in the 21st century.

I wasn't in a total news vaccuum, however. In fact, I probably absorbed the same basic bulletins that the average news consumer with better things to do picked up during the same span. Through the occasional blast of cable news and wafting newspaper headlines I learned that Mitt Romney hasn't released the past ten years of his tax returns (didn't pay a cent, according to Harry Reid's "secret source"), that Paul Ryan is the GOP veep nominee, that our Afghan "allies" murdered more and more Americans "inside the wire," and that Romney hasn't released the past ten years of his tax returns. Oh, and did I mention that Romney hasn't released the past ten years of his tax returns?

Through constant repetition by Obama officials, through serial discussion on chat shows, through side debates set off by Dirty Harry, through follow-up articles and posts in the media, a Campaign Issue was hatched. It has legs. It is currently part the lore of 2012: Romney won't release his tax records; what's he hiding?

Romney has released his 2010 tax return and has announced he will be releasing his 2011 tax return in October. (I think the delay is due to his having filed for an extension but am not sure.) The story now turns on whether that is sufficient (conditioned response: "no") as the electorate is primed to wonder why Romney won't release the other eight tax returns that the Obama campaign has been demanding. On Friday, the Obama campaign faux-magnanimously reduced that demand from ten to five Romney tax returns, which, would come to three more tax returns than Romney already plans to have released.

This is a story? Better to call it a "narrative," a rote lesson prepared by Team Obama and disseminated by the slavish media. To wit:

"The Obama folks clearly know they've found some traction on this tax return issue with Romney," said NBC's Lester Holt. "And then of course late in the week comes this challenge--'give us a little more and we won't complain anymore.' Has this issue come to the point it's jumped the shark?"

"I think the press still likes this story a lot, the media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants, which is to focus on this," said [Mark] Halperin.

It is the tightness of that media focus, from Left to Right (Fox), that hides completely all of the hypocrisy, gall and abuse of transparancy on display in Barack Obama for pushing the issue.

It's all very well to demand additional personal financial information from Romney, but how about demanding that Obama make public just one of a life history's wortth of personal records? A free media would ask such a question. They would report on Romney's refusal to release a decade's worth of personal tax returns and the fact that the demand comes from a president who has himself displayed an inordinate and inexplicable secretiveness about his own documents, failing to have made public his most basic identity papers (with the exception of what appears to be a computerized illustration/forgery of a birth certificate posted at the White House website). But we don't have a free media. Our media place a block against context, against honesty itself, turning themselves into the most servile of propagandists. They have accepted and, in effect, agreed to promote strict parameters on speech and inquiry. Their idea of following up on a story is only to ensure that the Obama guidelines are still in force.

Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace is no exception as his interview with the Obama campaign's Robert Gibbs demonstrates. Wallace brought up the ten, now five years' worth of personal tax returns the Obama campaign is asking Mitt Romney to make public, and asked whether, with so many important issues blah blah the nation, this wasn't just a "distraction." No, no, explained Gibbs before opening up himself and his candidate to utter and complete devastation.


Look, Mitt Romney is a highly educated man. Clearly, he has made the decision that what is in those tax returns is far more damagaing to him than to do what every presidential candidate has done which is show the American people your personal finances.

Fantasy rejoinder:

Fair enough, Robert.

By the same logic, we must assume that your candidate, Barack Obama, has made the exact same decision regarding a life history's worth of documentation he not only refuses to make public, but has hired a small army of lawyers to ensure remains secret.

I refer to Mr. Obama's sealed records, including his baptism record, adoption record, law client list, records with Illinois State Bar Association, records of his Illinois State Senate career. Then there are the records that he won't release. These include the record of his repatriation as a US citizen from Indonesia, record of his name change from Barry Sotero to BHO, his elementary school records, his high school records (including financial aid records), his Occidental College records (SATs, GPA, and financial aid records which, for example, an Obama lawyer quashed a subpoena for), Columbia College records (senior thesis, too), LSATs, Harvard Law School records, medical records and passport records.

Now, Robert, Barack Hussein Obama, too, is a highly educated man. Clearly, he has made the decision that what is in all of those records is far more damaging to him than to do what every presidential candidate has done and show just some shred of paper to establish his identity for the American people.

Robert! Robert, are you all right down there?!

But no. Wallace's apples-to-oranges reply was to say that if the president is so interested in transparency why has he only given one press conference this year, and why hasn't he released to Congress the Operation Fast and Furious documents.

It isn't that such questions aren't worth asking; they are. But in this particularly crucial instance they not only miss the point; they deny its existence.



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Copyright 2012 by Diana West