Why won't Mitt Romney release his tax returns? As I have written before, there is no way a congressional candidate for a contested seat, let alone a presidential candidate, could get away without releasing his or her returns. One wonders if Romney has gone rogue on his own campaign, defying the advice of professionals who have seen how this movie always ends: disclosure.
My guess is that Romney's problem to be revealed in his returns is pretty simple: His tax rate is very low, enabled by a slew of deductions and other complex financial procedures unavailable to 99.99 percent of Americans. My assumption is that all his maneuverings were strictly legal but will highlight his "otherness." More damning, the returns will make it even easier for President Obama to continue to link Romney's policies — more tax cuts for the upper income coupled with massive cuts in social services — to the interests of this most rarefied class. As Henry Blodgett has pointed out, Romney isn't just a member in good standing of the 1 percent; he is behind several gates in that community.
So when will Romney disclose? Prominent Republicans are urging him to do so now. Get it over with. It's good advice. If he waits much longer, he starts to step on stories about his running mate and the GOP convention build-up. Note to Obama campaign: Have those political forensic accountants on standby.