Mr. Romney said he had released his 2010 tax return and would release his full 2011 tax return when it was ready. But he said voters should not expect any more than that, despite Democrats’ calls for him to release a decade’s worth of returns or more, citing the example of his father, George Romney, who when he ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968 released 12 years of returns.
“I know there will always be calls for more. People always want to get more,” Mr. Romney said on CNN. “And, you know, we’re putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have. And that’s — that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.”
Well, okay then! Mitt has spoken, all, and we should just sit down and shut up. You know, I've worked with people like this in the past, people who were entirely unaccustomed to being told no. People who are former heads of companies, or departments at universities, who've been surrounded by suckups for so long that they just don't understand why everybody doesn't say how high the minute they say jump.
And there's two ways they respond to being told to fuck right off: 1. Incredible relief that finally somebody else is handling shit, and 2. Profound rebellion over everything from the brand of soap in the bathroom to the number of inches the car window is cracked. Mostly it's the latter, because if they weren't control freaks they wouldn't be successful, but even in the former you have an element of willfulness that is very hard to square with how profoundly Americans want their bosses to pretend that they are honored to lead the plebes.
Which is really what this is about. We want a president who pretends to just be our humble servant. I have zero doubt that at some point every president does the Contender thing and orders a shark sandwich at 2 a.m. just because he fucking CAN, but mostly we want them all to talk like they're just gobsmacked by the honor of taking our crap all day long. Romney isn't constructed that way, because he hasn't had to be. His wall of money hid his assholery for a good long time. That's the case with a lot of super-rich folks: They've been insulated from the need to pretend to be down to earth.
And so now Romney's just utterly flummoxed by this insistence that he act like he's somehow not an insanely rich douchebag. It's the equal opposite to what happened to Kerry, with the added benefit that in this case it's true: Your strength is now your weakness. Kerry was a war hero; now we're going to take that away from him. Romney was wealthy and successful, and now that's his downfall. It's almost like Democratic strategists have started paying attention and realized that tricks that work on humans will occasionally work on Republicans too.
Oh, and a side note:
The back and forth between the rivals for the presidency capped one of the most intense 48-hour periods of the 2012 campaign, with each side angrily accusing the other of outright lies and distortions as the election became a matchup of war-room tactics far removed from the big issues of the day.
They're not "rivals for the presidency. Bartlet Obama is the president. Romney is seeking to oust him from the job. Let's be clear about who is what here. It's not a small distinction.