I'm fascinated by the Republican primary cries from Newt Gingrichbread and Rick Sandusky-Tarantulum and the Tex-Mex-Gov. They just keep on clamoring, "Mitt, release your taxes. Show us your paperwork." Truth be told, they're spot on. They should be denouncing him for being secretive about his investments. It's certainly fair game. Hell, isn't his current net worth around 270 million or so? News alert - it's likely more than that. And he probably has stashed some money into trust funds to avoid prying eyes. After all, Mitt and his lovely wife have five sons... their nicknames are Zit, Nitwit, Clit, Shit and Tit (his friends call him teet). It makes you wonder how many $,$$$,$$$'s he actually gives to the Mormonathons. Aren't they obligated to heavily tithe and promote that shit?
So anyway, I'm guessing Mitt is thinking along these lines. Even if I release my income taxes and commit to full financial disclosure, the left-wing media and my enemies are going to turn it into a huge, scandalous production. Even if it isn't the story, it will immediately BECOME the story. So the best choice of action is to "wait it out" for as long as possible. At least until I get the nomination later this year. Maybe the whole thing could be dissipated during the convention in Tampa when you roll out the veep, but I doubt it.
Honestly, I doubt there's any bombshells in the paperwork. Think about it. Mitt's been running for president since probably 1986 (in his head) , 1994 (realistically), 2008 (technically). What a long... strange trip it's been. That's a declarative statement, not an inquiry. He's likely someone who would carefully plan every financial aspect of the presidential journey.
So Saf, what should Mitt Romney do? What I'm about to suggest would take an unusual display of temerity. A mission of impudence that I doubt he is capable of executing, let alone fathoming.
Immediately after Mitt secures the nomination, perhaps at the convention, but even better - during a debate with Obama, he should say the following line. "If elected President of the United States, I will give 100% of my ENTIRE net worth to charity. This would instantly become the biggest news on the planet earth. It would be an utter bombshelluva statement and it would steal the entire debate. It would be the new talking point in the entire United States, from the giant moose of Maine to the fake boobs of San Diego. And it would provide incredible fodder for Fox News - bashing the Kerry/Rockefellor liberal elitists. Even MSNBC and CNN would have to admit that it's one helluva grand gesture. And all of a sudden, Warren Buffett is yesterday's newspaper.
So here's what this proclamation gets you.
A. In a likely narrow election, I think it easily puts you over the top. Any Barack-uh-tempt to match the philanthropy would appear as a copycat, phony gesture.
B. You get to be the noble politician. In fact, it instantly transforms you into an outsider. Not one who is beholden to the system. The one who set a new standard and changed the overall notion, "that not all politicians are evil and greedy."
C. Hell, he'd still have a few million not to mention his salary (400K per year), pension and all the perks. If he's truly on a mission to become the most powerful person in the world, one would assume that the prospect of becoming President would trump your personal fortune. Then again, we're talking about Mitt Romney. He's not very likely to think outside the box on this one...
D. ... and that's pretty much the point here! He would immediately be regarded as someone who was willing to take the ultimate chance. He embraced the unknown and was unafraid to shed that big business stereotype. Mitt was willing to discard that "bean counter Bain Capital, I was born and bred to be the P.O.T.U.S." image. This is what really haunts him. Not some shady investment or off-shore account. The flip-flops are a pain but they can be managed by a good team. This is about turning Mitt into a "riverboat gambler." It's the factual proof that Mitt is willing to go all the way. His mere presence would evoke images of the "Let's Go All The Way" guy. I think his name was Sly Fox. All of a sudden Mitt's not the Republican zombified version of a robotic Al Gore. There's a new sheriff on the beltway and his name is Mittens Romney.
E. You still keep all the 12 houses. So you still have some equity. Speaking fees have netted him a paltry $374,000 or so. He can always write his stirring memoirs. There are plenty of douchebags out there who would pay $19.99 for an auto-Romnography. Feel free to compare and contrast with the Sonofsaf odd, oh biography.
Now the downside.
A. Critics will say it's a ploy. He wants to guilt people into voting for him. He thinks he can bribe me for my vote. Why didn't he just come out and say... "I'm going to give away my entire fortune because it's the right thing to do!" And still, the media would invariably ask, "Why won't you just give it all away regardless, win or lose the election?" AND HERE IS HOW YOU ANSWER THIS QUESTION (because it is a tricky one).
"Well, we can't honestly expect every politician who runs for office to demonstrate this level of magnanimity. But this is the Presidency of the United States! The president sets the standard. Mike Tomlin once said, "The standard is the standard." But I'd like to set a new trend in this great country where nobody can ever infer that the President's decision making process is guided by aspirations of greater fortune. This is what our political system desperately is in need of... a new
direction based on generosity and philanthropy, not greed and cronyism.
It's all starts with setting an example and someone stepping up to the
plate!" If others are willing to follow my lead, then from this time on, the office of the presidency will be held beyond reproach as a glistening spectrum of a thousand points of light, a beacon for humanity, etc., blah." (I could write a better tagline but it would take me an hour and I don't feel like zoning in at the moment). Then, you immediately pivot the conversation into a discussion of the problem with excessive money in politics, including but not limited to, denouncing the existence of SuperPacs, manipulative multi-millionaires, foreign influences, etc.
B. Oh yeah, and the other downside - if you win it all, you give away a boatload of cash (about 20% of the value of that Italian cruise ship). Yep, this one hurts. Mitt would be wise to get the 10 million dollar renovations to that La Jolla residence done asap. Hell, you gotta have that guest room ready for all those famous celebrities. Now there's a funny prospect. Who the fuck wants to hang out with Mitt Romney? I'd rather hang with Rutherford B. Hayes or Richard Nixon. Nixon was likely a complete bad ass. Kind of a political Bill Belichick. But Rutherford B. Hayes? His wife's nickname was Lemonade Lucy. Her disdain for demon alcohol was known far and wide.
So Saf, if this is such a great idea, what do you think are the odds Mitt will do it? In essence, "Is Mitt Too Legit Too Quit?" That doesn't make sense, but sounds really amusing. In fact, you could bury him with an MC Hammer backsplash. Killer idea for Stephen Colbert. Obama and the DNC, not so much.
So will MITT DO IT? I'd say the odds are about 2.3%. But I wouldn't completely rule it out. And he might be able to do a modified version of what I'm suggesting. But I think you either do it or you don't. If you don't go all in, it makes you look weak and calculating.
On a larger note, I still think the entire news media is missing the point. They all think Obama is going to eek out a close victory as the entire election is determined in the usual swing states. Fuck that! It's a whole year off and there could easily be a bunch of game-changers. What about a nuclear incident? What about gas going above $5 per gallon? What about the Middle East (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, take your pick)? What about an oddball like Kim-Jong UNderwear? What about another Hurricane Katrina or natural disaster? And what about the potential for a domestic incident (maybe the scenario I've been yapping about for the past year)? My point > for all these pundits to assume that everything remains static until the end of 2012 is a pretty naive view of the U.S., and the planet earth for that matter.
I will make this one prediction. Assuming it's Obama vs. Romney (with no significant third party entrant), IF Romney wins, I think he'll win ALL 50 states. If Romney takes it, I envision the repeat of a Carter vs. Reagan scenario where Reagan swept pretty much everything (except West Virginia - isn't it crazy that Carter won WV in the 1980 election?). But if Obama wins it again, he'll likely crunch out a narrow electoral victory with a surprisingly substantial popular vote margin. Because the 2012 election won't really be about money and fundraising. Everyone has already made up their minds. One more ad along the Florida I-4 corridor ain't gonna matter. Both parties will flood the air with positive and negative ads. Most voters will tune the shit out as irrelevant. Obama and Romney will likely channel much of their fundraising endeavors to the DNC and RNC. But that's another blog...