Earlier this morning, Karl Rove appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss Harry Reid's reckless accusations against Mitt Romney. In case you're just joining this controversy, the Senate Majority Leader has spent the last few days peddling a scurrilous and evidence-free claim that Romney is a serial tax evader. Rove wondered aloud why our fraudulent post-partisan prince of a president hasn't denounced Reid:
There's a pretty straightforward answer to this question. Obama isn't lifting a finger to put an end to this slanderous side-show because his campaign specifically gave Reid the green light to launch these baseless attacks. Politico reports:
The ruthless Senate majority leader sees political gold in his attack on Romney — and he’s got the blessing from President Barack Obama’s campaign for the attack, even if he lacks evidence on Romney’s failure to pay taxes. Reid has calculated that the frenzy created by his charge has accomplished exactly what he sought to do: Turn the focus back onto the GOP nominee’s unreleased tax returns, according to several people close to the leader and the campaign. For Reid, he’s got virtually nothing to lose: His approval ratings back home are still upside-down, and he may not even run for reelection when he’s up for a sixth term in 2016. On top of that, his aides say, Reid genuinely believes his source...
(1) Even if Reid has special "source" inside Bain, which I sincerely doubt, said informant would have no access to Romney's personal tax returns.
(2) A former McCain aide who vetted Romney as a potential Vice Presidential pick in 2008 has reviewed many years of the current presumptive nominee's tax returns. He says everything was totally in order, and if anything, Mitt overpaid.
(3) Here's a quote from a "top Reid confidant," explaining Democrats' thinking on this smear campaign:
“What Republicans don’t get is the more they fire back at Reid, the more he will fight, and in the end, what will the topic be? Romney and his taxes.”
How does one effectively combat an opponent with no shame, no decency, and not even a tenuous commitment to the truth? One option is to take the high road, fight the smears, and continue to push your message. For the record, this is the road I would personally recommend. ("Oh, that's interesting Harry -- get back to me when you have some evidence. Incidentally, have you seen the latest jobs report?") Another option is to get down into the Democrats' mud and fight dirty. As amusing as the Reid/pedophilia "accusation" saga is -- and we still haven't seen firm proof that the Senate Majority Leader doesn't fondle little boys -- it won't break through and capture the narrative spotlight. If Republicans are interested in getting nasty and force-feeding Democrats some of their own repulsive medicine, they would need to make it about Obama. Here's what they could do (not an endorsement, just an illustration): Get a senior and high-profile Republican member of Congress to give an on-the-record "scoop" to a site like, say, Townhall.com. Let's use Sen. John McCain as an example; as a former presidential nominee and a media fixture, he'd do the trick. McCain could say that he's heard from "a source" inside the Justice Department that President Obama exerted executive privilege in the Fast & Furious scandal because he didn't want the public to discover that he himself ordered the operation. McCain might add that he isn't totally sure if the leak is true, but he still believes it to be accurate -- and that it is up to Obama to release every single document pertaining to Fast & Furious to prove that he didn't directly order it. After all, the president has been extremely secretive about the program, even as hundreds of its murdered victims' families demand justice. Romney wouldn't have to comment on the allegation, aside from affirming that Americans "deserve answers" about the lethal gun-running operation. (The public agrees). McCain could keep making the allegation day after day, with Democrats rushing to condemn him. The truth wouldn't matter, though; the more they'd fire back at McCain, the more he'd fight, and in the end, what would the topic be? Barack Obama's bloody scandal that killed hundreds of innocent people, including a US border agent. See how this works?
The above scenario is a nearly perfect parallel to what Democrats are doing now, except Obama's scandal actually exists, and real blood has been spilled. The only stretch/fabrication would be Obama's direct involvement in it, rather than just his Attorney General. There are, of course, a few problems with this scenario: First, the media simply would not abide such tactics from Republicans (even as they cover Reid's lying buffoonery as a partisan squabble), and second, John McCain is an honorable man. Democrats are working with two insurmountable advantages here -- a press that covers for them, and a surplus of dishonorable actors.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography