Harry Reid Is Vilified by a Press Corps That Tolerates Much Worse From the Right
DAILY BEAST Op Ed: … Obama released his birth certificate, but Republicans insisted on insinuating that it was a fake. For the birther analogy to make sense, Romney would have to release his tax returns, and Democrats would have to accuse him of forging them. But Romney, to the bafflement of many in his own party, is breaking with a campaign tradition established by his own father and keeping his returns secret. He is demonstrably hiding something. It is not beyond the pale for political players to speculate about what that is.
What really seems to be going on here is that a Democrat is successfully engaged in the sort of hardball tactics that Republicans usually have a monopoly on, and the media don’t quite know what to make of it. When it comes to making wild, unsubstantiated allegations, the GOP benefits from the soft bigotry of low expectations—at this point, few people can bring themselves to get that worked up about insane Republican mudslinging. Yet when a Democrat even tiptoes in that direction it’s news, and a chance for pundits to demonstrate the bipartisan bona fides so valued in the Beltway. It’s not balance, though, to equate the toughest rhetoric coming from each side when they’re saying such radically different things.
Yet somehow, after years in which calumnies against the president and his administration have become so routine as to be unremarkable, Harry Reid’s suggestion that Romney might have avoided paying taxes has roused establishment pundits to fits of pearl-clutching horror. On Sunday’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, ABC News’s Jonathan Karl called Reid’s statements “one of the most outrageous charges that I’ve ever seen actually made on the Senate floor.” On Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer compared Reid’s charges with McCarthyism, an analogy that The Washington Post’s Richard Cohen reported on Monday: “The soaring rhetoric that Obama used in his first campaign has come to ground in the mud of Harry Reid’s latter-day McCarthyism.” On Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune ran an editorial headlined, “Harry Reid, Birther… (more)
EDITOR: Is it conceivable that Romney is refusing to release his tax returns for any other reason than he has a lot to conceal? It isn’t that he failed to file or that he committed obvious fraud. Much of his dealings were likely obscured through foreign sources which will not look good to voters. Some treatments of earnings may be in the ‘gray’ area and possibly disallowed by the IRA, but not a felony.
His and his supporters great fear must be that the returns will leak during the last weeks of the campaign.