In a shocking turn of events,released 12 years of tax returns today, sending reporters and pundits alike rushing to comb the documents for information that might well determine the outcome of the presidential election.
They found zilch. In fact, while the mood at the time of the announcement could only be described as stratospheric, spirits quickly plummeted to earth when it was learned that the 12 years released were from 1955 through 1966. In other words, they were the tax returns previously made public by Romney’s father, George, when he began his run for the White House in 1967.
When asked why the candidate had not released his own returns dating back 12 years, Romney presidential campaign senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom became irate. “You folks in the press, I wish I could Etch A Sketch you!” he bellowed. “First, you hound the governor to do what his father did. And now—when he does exactly what his father did—you jump all over him.”
Fehrnstrom said that Romney was extremely proud of what his Mexican-born father had accomplished in life—becoming CEO of American Motors and saving it from bankruptcy.
“Although truthfully,” said Fehrnstrom, “had the governor been around then, he would have raided the company’s pension fund, racked up impossibly high debt after a leveraged buyout and forced the company into bankruptcy.” Not to mention he would have built an electrified fence and minefield on the Mexican border to prevent wetbacks like his dad from entering the country in the first place.
Nevertheless, according to Fehrnstrom, Romney believed that the humble narrative of his father’s tax returns was far more compelling than the “wheeling and dealing” details contained in his own. Reporters were not placated. But when pressed further about Romney releasing his own tax returns, Fehrnstrom became even angrier. “Asked and answered,” he said.
It was back in January, during one of the now infamous Republican presidential debates, when Romney was first asked by a moderator if he planned to release his tax returns—just as his father had done. "Maybe,” he said with a mischievous grin. “I don't know how many years I'll release. I'll take a look at what our documents are." The Republican audience booed him.
Romney was defiant. "I'm not going to apologize for being successful," he added. "I'm not suggesting these people are doing that. But I know the Democrats will go after me on that basis. That's why I want to release these things all at the same time. Most likely in December.”
Exactly who came up with the plan to respond to the prickly question by re-releasing Romney’s father’s tax returns is not known. However, one unidentified campaign staffer was seen leaving Bain & Company headquarters last week pushing a wheelbarrow containing a dozen or more gold bricks. The estimated value: $6 million.
© Daniel Bruce Brown, 2012