Published July 11, 2012
Speculation is heating up over who Mitt Romney will name as his vice-presidential pick--and whether or not he'll make that announcement before next month's GOP convention in Tampa.
Only time will answer those questions, but one thing we already know for sure: based on the one year of tax returns he's publicly released so far, Mitt Romney himself wouldn't make the cut as a vice presidential contender if he wasn't already at the top of the ticket.
Think about it. What candidate for president -- even a GOP candidate for president -- would pick a guy as a running mate who would only hand over one year of tax returns, as Mitt Romney has done?
And would anybody pick that guy if that one tax return revealed Swiss Bank accounts and more than $30 million in off shore accounts in the Cayman Islands-- especially in an election year when public anger at Wall Street remains so high?
The answer is: no. No presidential candidate in their right mind would pick such a candidate as their running mate.
Forget about the optics, which are bad enough. The simple act of running for president and not closing those accounts beforehand -- and remember, Mitt Romney has been running for president for more than four years -- is so politically stupid that it should be disqualifying all on its own.
Yet in a little more than six weeks, the GOP will nominate as their presidential candidate someone who would not have passed even a cursory vetting for vice president.
That's because it's easier to pass the public vetting for president than it is to pass the private vetting for vice president.
As a presidential candidate, stonewalling and keeping stuff from the public can work as a tactic. The media may hound you for an answer, but reporters are used to candidates sticking to talking points and deflecting questions.
But behind the closed doors of campaigns, where the vice presidential vetting process takes place, stonewalling is not an option.
How many years of tax returns do you think Romney has asked to see from his vice presidential prospects?
The answer, of course, is more than one.
And what do you think would be a VP prospects’ chance of being picked if, when asked for more than one year of tax returns, they told the Romney campaign: "none of your business?"
That answer is less than zero.
A single year’s tax return, after all, doesn’t give us much of a picture of a candidate. As Mitt Romney's father famously said when he released twelve years of his tax returns when he ran for the GOP nomination in 1968: “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”
But unfortunately for Mitt Romney, the show put on by the one tax return he has released is getting terrible reviews, because that single tax returns raises a number of questions that Democrats and the media aren’t going to stop asking between now and November.
For example, why did Romney invest more than $30 million in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, which are well known as foreign tax havens?
If he hasn’t been trying to avoid taxes, then why have a Swiss bank account?
And if he has nothing to hide, then why is he the only presidential nominee in 30 years to release only a single year of tax returns?
After all, it’s not as though Mitt Romney can’t find his other tax returns.
Just four years ago, Mitt Romney gave the McCain campaign 23 years of tax returns -- and didn't get picked for the VP slot.
John McCain knows why he didn't pick Mitt Romney in 2008. And he may know many of the answers to the questions raised by the release of Mitt Romney’s single tax return in 2012.
The question for voters is: why don't we?