Thursday, August 9, 2012

Harry Situation

Ed Kilgore writes:

I don’t know whether Harry Reid is making stuff up or not. But I think it’s important to stipulate that if he is, that’s a bad thing, although it in no way absolves Mitt Romney’s completely independent responsibility to release his tax records and resolve all doubts.

I have said all along that I don’t know for a fact whether or not Mr. Reid is making stuff up. That is an important element of the story, to be sure, but what’s also important is how the defenders of Mr. Romney have reacted to the allegation that he didn’t pay taxes for ten years. We’ve gotten a lot of outrage and accusations flung at Mr. Reid, including the rather laughable riposte from Mr. Romney himself of “put up or shut up,” but no one who is defending Mr. Romney has offered any affirmative proof that Mr. Reid is making stuff up.

The Republicans have made a cottage industry out of accusing the Democrats (they’re communists and atheists) and the president of terrible things and unsavory associations (he’s a Muslim, he’s a Kenyan, he’s a socialist*) without a shred of evidence. The list of such accusers is long and includes such luminaries as Michele Bachmann, Allen West, Louis Gohmert, Virginia Foxx, Steve King, and Darrell Issa, just to name a few. (And just when you thought he was gone, Newt Gingrich pops up like a toadstool on the lawn.) These are not Cheetos-munching bloggers in some basement, but members of Congress. When they’re called out on their fact-free rants, they respond with evasions and red herrings, and when the Republican leaders such as Speaker John Boehner or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are asked to comment or repudiate their wild-eyed members, they shrug and say “Oh, well, it’s not for me to tell others what to say.” The harshest pushback from these brave souls is “Those aren’t the words I would use.”

It’s a little more than ironic — not to mention hypocritical — to get buckets of crocodile tears and righteous indignation from the GOP when Harry Reid makes a so-far unsubstantiated statement about Mitt Romney’s taxes. Their only claim should be one of copyright infringement.

*There’s nothing at all wrong with being a Muslim, a Kenyan, or a socialist. It’s just that in Mr. Obama’s case, he’s not.