Vanishing Points

Time was when the phrase The Great Skedaddle referred to the July 21, 1861 disorganized Union Army retreat after the first Battle of Bull Run.  However, it might be plausibly updated to include the rapid distancing of down ticket candidates like Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) from the comments by Presidential candidate  Mitt Romney:   “Keep in mind, I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic. My mother was a school cook. I have a very different view of the world,” Heller said. “And as United States Senator, I think I represent everyone, and every vote’s important. Every vote’s important in this race. I don’t write off anybody.” [HuffPo]

And then there are those “vanished” tax returns — former Governor Romney has released part of one year, promises some of another, and is generally behaving as though the entire matter will vanish from human consciousness.  Not if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has a breath left:

“For all we know, Mitt Romney could be one of those who have paid no federal income taxes. Thousands of families making more than $1 million pay nothing in federal income taxes each year. Is Mitt Romney among them?

We’ll never know, since he refuses to release tax returns from the years before he was running for president. But from the one return we have seen, we know Mitt Romney pays a lower tax rate than middle class families thanks to Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island tax shelters.

And we can only imagine what new secrets would be revealed if he showed the American people a dozen years of tax returns, like his father did.”

(Senator Reid’s comments available in full at Real Clear Politics.)

Former Governor Romney has a track record of making things vanish, like the records from his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts:

“When Romney left the governorship of Massachusetts, 11 of his aides bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for themselves. Also before he left office, the governor’s staff had emails and other electronic communications by Romney’s administration wiped from state servers, state officials say.

Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney’s four-year tenure as governor, which ended in January 2007. Precisely what information was erased is unclear.

Republican and Democratic opponents of Romney say the scrubbing of emails – and a claim by Romney that paper records of his governorship are not subject to public disclosure – hinder efforts to assess his performance as a politician and elected official.”  [Reuters] (Dec. 2011)

There was nothing strictly illegal about scrubbing all the e-mail and items from the hard drives and servers, precisely as there is nothing illegal about stashing income in the Cayman Islands, or as there is nothing illegal about paying only those taxes required by law — and availing oneself of every loophole and “blocker” scheme conceivable by man.

Governor Romney is proud of his accomplishments in regard to the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics — just not so proud as to allow the release of the ALL the records of it.

“More than a decade has passed since Mitt Romney presided over the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but the archival records from those games that were donated to the University of Utah to provide an unprecedented level of transparency about the historic event, remain off limits to the public. And some of the documents that may have shed the most light on Romney’s stewardship of the Games were likely destroyed by Salt Lake Olympic officials, ABC News has learned.

The archivists involved in preparing the documents for public review told ABC News that financial documents, contracts, appointment calendars, emails and correspondence are likely not included in the 1,100 boxes of Olympic records, and will not be part of the collection that will ultimately be made public.”  [ABC]

The Romney campaign assures us that they have no problem with the archival material being released — a cynic might say “Of Course Not” it’s already sanitized, as the Massachusetts records were tidied up immediately after the Governor.

What appears to be vanishing at this point is any enthusiasm for the Romney/Ryan Campaign?

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