Do Republicans Want Romney To Lose?
Is the Fix In?
Sun Aug 5th, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, Think Progress put together a list of 20 prominent Republicans who think that Mitt Romney should release more tax records. The list included a mix of politicians, writers, and operatives. There were people like columnist George Will, former RNC heads Haley Barbour and Michael Steele, the current head of the RNCC, the governor of Alabama, and Sen. Chuck Grassley. The criticism of Romney has come from a wide swath of the Republican Party. This morning, Ed Rollins became the latest in a growing list of campaign strategists to join the choir.
"I think at this point of time it's going to dog him all the way and he needs to get it behind him," Rollins said. "I think he needs to release more taxes. Absolutely." Rollins, who managed the presidential campaigns of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and President Ronald Reagan, said he would have released records from “five or six years" much sooner.
"I would not put out 20 years and I obviously wouldn't respond to anything Harry Reid states," he said. "At the end of the day you come to the point where you basically give a little bit more and you move forward. And he's going to do that. Two years is not enough, obviously."
Maybe Romney is going to do it, but I kind of doubt it. What I find more interesting is this spectacle of the usually quite disciplined Mighty Right-Wing Wurlitzer bellowing smoke and emitting clunking sounds. When Brit Hume and Bill Kristol are stomping on Romney's rationale for not releasing his taxes, you know that something has gone amiss. So, what is it? Is the fix in? Are conservatives openly sabotaging Romney's chances? Or do these ruthless operators actually have a point beyond which they won't go in defending the indefensible?
Let's remember these people's behavior during the Iraq War, shall we? These are the type of people who will tell you that a little torture is no big deal as long as someone is served chicken with rice pilaf and two kinds of fruit. Moral qualms and truthfulness are not things we normally associate with these folks. But they are not willing to do something much less difficult than glossing over torture and murder. They won't go on television and say that it's no one's business what Romney pays in taxes. They refuse to have his back on this.
Maybe a couple of them are simply offering sincere advice. They think Romney is making a strategic error and that nothing in his taxes is so bad that it would justify taking this much heat to avoid disclosure. But we're talking about more than 20 people now. And some of these people really ought to expect a chance to work for the Romney administration.
Romney isn't putting fear into anyone. He isn't earning any loyalty. He's not even getting much in the way of brown-nosing.
It really makes me wonder if the fix is in, and what that might mean for how the congressional elections play out. You can't throw half an election, after all.
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