Yesterday, I linked Victor Davis Hanson’s piece about “selective transparency” where that historian reminded us that “neither Jimmy Carter nor Ronald Reagan released more than one year’s [tax] returns. The reformist John McCain released just two“:
True, the 2004 Democratic candidate, John Kerry, offered some 20 years of returns; but that gesture meant almost nothing because his billionaire wife, Teresa, supplied the vast majority of the funds that fueled Kerry’s opulent recreational lifestyle — and she kept largely quiet about where her money was banked and invested.
So, when your Democratic and independent friends parrot the Obama campaign talking point, ask them whether they were calling for Mrs. Kerry to come clean about her taxes — and if they speculated what her husband might have been hiding in his wife’s returns.
And also ask them if they were aware of how long the Obama team had been clamoring for Mitt Romney to release his, not so much because they wanted the presumptive Republican nominee to be open about his finances, but because they wanted to find little details they could use against their partisan rival. “Soon after Obama For America opened its campaign headquarters at One Prudential Plaza in Chicago in the spring of 2011,” reports BuzzFeed’s Michael Hastings:
journalists from most major news outlets were invited in to look around. What they saw was a (mostly) empty sixth floor office space; what they heard was more important — a hint at how the campaign planned to attack the man they’d eventually have as an opponent, Governor Mitt Romney.
“Last year, at tax time, we were having conversations with reporters — ‘When are you going to ask him if he’s going to release his tax returns?’” recalls a senior campaign official in Chicago. “It took a sustained amount of conversation and continuous sort of drumbeat of ‘You gotta ask him what’s in there, you gotta ask him what’s in there.’
It’s all about fodder for the Democrat’s attack campaign. How far Mr. Obama has fallen, from the lofty heights of hope and change to the new strategy of demonize and destroy. “Barack Obama began his presidency expecting to be the next Abraham Lincoln“, quips Paul Mirengoff. “Now, he hopes he can be George W. Bush.”
The big difference is that Mr. Bush did not attack Mr. Kerry as much as the Obama team has taken on Mitt Romney. And they focused primarily on Mr. Kerry’s politics, not his background. And the Bush team did tout the then-incumbent’s record. And promote his plans for a second term.
ADDENDUM: Contrary to claims of the Obama team, the Democrat’s attempts to demonize Mr. Romney have had little effect on the popular perception of the Republican. Over at RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende found that Obama’s Spending Blitz Brings Little Change in Race:
On average, the polls have moved two-tenths of a point toward the president during this time period. That’s net movement, by the way, meaning that he’s moved up a tenth of a point and Romney has moved down a tenth of a point, on average. Looking at state polls only, we see marginal movement toward Romney. If we look at only the swingiest of swing states — Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia — we see about two-thirds of a point movement toward Obama. That’s not much bang for the buck.
Via Jim Geraghty.