From TPM Reader JEH …
I’m seeing a common theme in various aspects of the Republicans’ new defense of secrecy. Remember how McConnell (I think) argued that requiring disclosure of big donors was an attack on free (money) speech, because people might stop doing business with their companies and harm their business? Mitt’s defense of his secrecy seems to be much the same thing — “If I release my tax returns, Democrats will use them to be mean to me, so I can’t do that.”
In either case, the idea that it might be important for voters to evaluate a candidate doesn’t even merit a hint of a mention. All that matters is how it affects them. Really, this ought to be classed with Romney’s earlier “If I told people what I’m going to do, they might not vote for me”; in both cases, he willfully ignores whether they might be legitimate reasons for people not to vote for him, and the only thing that matters is whether it gets in the way of Romney getting what he wants.
The issue of Romney’s taxes is a bit different. Certainly as a citizen Romney’s taxes are private. And he has every right to keep them that way. Whether he can get that argument past voters evaluating him for the presidency is quite another matter. But the idea that super-high-dollar political contributors need to be protected from some sort of persecution is becoming a very commonplace argument on the right.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.