Mona Charen
Scurrilous would be a step up for Harry Reid. If he were a Republican ... you know the drill. The word "McCarthyite" would be on everyone's lips and the thoroughly contemptible accusation -- based (ha!) on an anonymous "investor" who supposedly phoned Reid -- would be the story of the day. Reid's fetid slander, and not Romney's response, would preoccupy everyone interested in politics.

For Romney to release his tax returns now would seem to reward this sort of disgraceful tactic. And yet, it may be worth doing anyway.

Romney has resisted releasing more than two years' worth of tax returns -- presumably because he knows that an army of Democratic operatives would pore over them, plucking out details and holding them between tweezers for all to see. "Look, Romney has holdings in companies doing business in (fill in the blank) the Philippines, Russia, China, South Africa, Singapore. Did you know that you could be arrested for spitting on the street in Singapore? Romney has described Russia as 'our No. 1 adversary' in the world, and yet he had stock in company X that sold widgets to St. Petersburg's water authority! What a hypocrite. What a traitor."

For a few days, there is no doubt, we'd hear nothing but repetitions about Romney's great wealth, including in-depth examinations of his various holdings, whatever they are, and a lurid emphasis on anything -- like expensive dressage horses -- that screams money. That much is a given.

But the recent dust-up over Romney's Swiss bank account illustrates the limits of this sort of strategy for Democrats. Democratic Party Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz unloaded on Romney, saying he needed to release his tax returns "So we can see why he's invested in Swiss bank accounts and accounts in the Cayman Islands. And you know, we also need to know why does -- what is the allure of investments out of the country?"

Wasserman Schultz's indignation rang hollow when the Weekly Standard discovered that through her 401(k), she had investments in foreign drug companies, Swiss banks and the state bank of India. Just as Wasserman Schultz was hoist, so will others be. Everyone is encouraged to diversify his or her portfolios.

Also, there is a limit to how long even our dutiful, Democratic-leaning, lap-dog press can persist with the Romney-is-still-rich meme. After a few days, even they will feel constrained to change topics.


Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
 
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