Lanny Davis, On The Cutting Edge of Centrist False Equivalency
Here's a fun little Twitter theory from our good friend Lanny Davis, the hot-shot DC lawyer, Democratic party insider, Clinton campaign interference-runner, and lobbyist type to most of the world's worst people. What is he even talking about? Did you know that if you've been suspicious about what's inside Mitt Romney's unreleased tax returns -- suspicious, again, because he'd prefer to take withering criticism from across the political spectrum instead of simply showing what he's got -- then you are the same thing as Michele Bachmann hallucinating about Muslim infiltration? We thought Cory Booker's famous "Bain attacks = Jeremiah Wright attacks" pairing was pretty unbeatable, but, well, "Wondering what the thing Mitt Romney is obviously hiding in his tax returns is = Michele Bachmann arbitrarily accusing people of terrorism" is a step above. Holy potatoes, you guys.
Your Wonkette thanked Davis for this historic push into virgin false equivalence territory, leading him to tweet later, "I see no equivalency to reckless Bachmann attack on Huma. I do want my fellow Ds to stick to facts and avoid innuendo." Got that? "Isn't this same as reckless Bachmann McCarthyism?" did not imply that he considered them the "same." Stick to the facts, and the fact is that Mitt Romney won't release his tax returns, against all political odds, and it would be improper to try and figure out why.
From what we've seen, anyway, most of the speculation about what Romney's hiding falls into two camps. The first is that his capital loss was so deep in 2009 that he carried it forward to 2010, and, between that and his perennially long list of itemized deductions, he may have ended up paying an insanely low tax rate -- probably not 0%, but possibly somewhere around 5%. And that wouldn't go over well with The Normals, with their pathetic "wage income," who pay 20% or so in income taxes no matter what. This doesn't reveal illegality, of course -- just a horribly regressive tax code that Romney and a Republican Congress would make worse. The other theory suggests that Romney may have taken part in a Treasury amnesty program in 2009 for those who'd been stashing cash in Switzerland to avoid taxes. That was illegal, but then there was an amnesty, so there is no fresh crime to hide or further charges that could come out. But it would probably kill off his election hopes if revealed.
None of this pundit speculation seems tacky, to us libtards at least, or even the many conservatives who also have been trying to figure out what he's hiding. Mitt Romney, by the way, could end all of this speculation by releasing the tax returns in question. Huma Abedin cannot end rumors directed at her about being a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist because there was no reason for these rumors to begin with and she wasn't hiding anything; Michele Bachmann just shared a conspiracy theory she was working on.
Your Wonkette then asked Davis, on Twitter, about this other weird thing he posted: "To repeat: I wrote it would be hypocritical for Dems to criticize Romney for not paying more taxes than he is legally required to pay." Sure, but if Dems thought his rate was too low under current law, and Mitt Romney was proposing to lower taxes even further instead of bringing them into line with the rest of the country's, than that is a valid, perhaps even important, criticism to levy against him during the campaign. "The point is he does not intend to bring wealthy egregious rates back up. He would cut taxes, unimaginably, further," we said to him. His response: "did Dems make major effort to pass tax reform in 06-08 or even try closing all tax loopholes? We didn't - and we should have." Huh? What? Hmm? Again, people wouldn't criticize him for paying obscene rates available to him under current law; they'd criticize him for thinking that those obscene rates are only bad in that they're not low enough! But apparently Democrats are weasels for... not trying to negotiate a tax reform package with George W. Bush, who was so open to adding thick slobs of progressivity to the tax code.