Obama operatives and willing members of the media are making a big issue of the fact that Mitt Romney hasn’t made public more than his most recent tax returns. This is pushing a campaign theme of theirs that Romney is super rich, with his offshore bank accounts and car elevators. They are trying to portray the President as some working class guy who understands you, and Romney is some rich guy who can’t relate. This argument should be revealed as the fraud that it is.
The President has an estimated net worth of roughly $10.5 million, while Mitt Romney’s wealth is over $200 million. The administration puts out proposals which treat anyone who earns $250,000 is the same as Warren Buffet. The same majority of Americans who lump these two groups together would probably consider both candidates rich. This information needs to be part of the public debate. The Obama campaign would be forced to argue that our guy is just rich, their guy is super rich. This distinction without a difference, in the eyes of most voters, should be exploited by the Romney campaign.
Mr. Romney has been running for president for 6 years, and the cat is out of the bag in terms of his wealth. Having run for this long, he should also be prepared to release at least that many years of returns. He should accompany this release of information with a speech that addresses the issue. Leaking to the press what the speech is about should even get liberal media outlets to cover it. MSNBC headline… “Up next…Mitt Romney comes clean on his wealth.”
During the speech he should confirm the rumor that he is rich. He should repeatedly refer to the president and himself as “members of a fortunate group of Americans, part of the 1%, two of a kind, etc.” He should make it clear that Americans like himself and the President, have a special obligation to give something back to the country that has made each of them members of the top 1%. The speech should then be capped off by a promise that he will donate his entire salary when he becomes President to charity. To go further, he should suggest that when he is convinced that taxpayer money is being spent wisely, and without waste, he will donate his salary to paying down the national debt.
This should accomplish a few things, all of them good.
- It will take the issue of “what is Romney hiding” off the table.
- Romney’s charitable donations of over $3 million per year will be highlighted.
- It will help frame the President as also in the wealthy 1% category with Mr. Romney, neutralizing the issue.
- It will generate a belief that the President is a hypocrite.
- There may be some foolish media types who will try to explain how Mr. Obama’s $10 million is not rich. This is a winning discussion for the Romney campaign.
- It will generate questions for Mr. Obama about why he doesn’t donate his salary.
- It will highlight the huge debt that the President has presided over.
- It brings attention to government inefficiency, which plays into Romney as a “Mr. Fix-it” such as his work at Bain Capital, rescue of the Salt Lake City Olympics, etc.
It is proper to concentrate on the economy, but sidetrack issues must be addressed as well. There are so many false and misleading statements that are put out by the Obama campaign, which are easy to turn against them. For Mr. Romney to be successful he must respond, and turn these issues to his advantage.