Romney’s sudden loss of flexibility

The fury over Mitt Romney’s failure to release more tax returns may be typical politics, but it’s tough not to wonder what is in them.
One of Romney’s most distinctive characteristics during the campaign has been his flexibility when pursuing votes. He has Etch-a-Sketched dramatic turnarounds in his positions on health care, immigration, taxes and energy. With each flip, he has shrewdly calculated the cost in votes of changing his position versus the gains of adopting the views of his base.
No such flexibility is evident when it comes to releasing his tax returns, a lengthy tradition among presidential candidates since Romney’s father released 12 years of returns in his failed bid for the 1968 Republican nomination.
Romney is the target of bipartisan skepticism, so his lack of transparency is costing him votes. He apparently is making a judgment that releasing the tax returns would cause him more harm than good.
Everyone knows he made lots of money — indeed, his business success is one of his most impressive presidential qualifications — so that cannot be the reason for his attack of shyness. What mysteries is he hiding? Is he correct in his conclusion that the cost of secrecy in his presidential campaign is lower than the cost of drawing back the curtain on his financial past?


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Filed under Election 2012, Romney

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