In a remarkably ugly interview with the Huffington Post, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid first made a completely unsubstantiated accusation about Mitt Romney, and then he personalized the attack in an unprecedented way.
Let‚??s start with the accusation, because it will almost certainly dominate media news coverage (after all, who wants to cover a mundane topic like a stagnant economy?):
“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounts an unnamed source who worked for Bain telling him. “He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain. But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?‚?Ě
Obviously, Democrats are free to engage in wild speculation about Romney’s taxes if they choose (though there is a way around this). But this is more than speculation. Reid contends that someone who worked for Bain actually told him that Romney didn‚??t pay taxes for a decade. Reid concedes that it may not be true, but repeats the rumor anyway.
One might speculate that this mysterious source is a figment of Reid’s partisan imagination. But even if this person does exist, and even if this person did relay ¬†information to Reid, how could this person possibly know what Romney was paying in taxes, anyway? Did Romney volunteer that he was engaged in tax evasion — because that’s the only way Mitt Romney could have avoided paying any taxes.
In any event, as ridiculous as this line of attack is, it should have been expected. You’ll remember, implying that Romney is a¬†felon¬†is nothing new.¬†But the ugliest part of the interview comes when Reid says, “His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son.”
Let’s remember that this ¬†is the same Harry Reid who has called for more civility in politics a number of times. ‚??Whatever the reason, I hope the turn to more responsible rhetoric is more than empty rhetoric. I intend to do my part,‚?Ě he said after the Tuscon shootings. Was he doing his part last week when he¬†called Bill Magwood, a Democrat commissioner at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ‚??first-class rat‚?Ě and a ‚??s*&-stirrer‚?Ě?
Or is he doing his part now, speaking for a presidential candidate’s dead father?