It was Benjamin Franklin who first uttered the phrase “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If there is a third part to that truism it would be that politicians lie. This is the problem for RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Governor Mitt Romney.
It goes back to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s comments stating that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for a period of about ten years. Romney has said that this isn’t true, and Priebus has called Reid a liar.
On ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Priebus about this, and the exchange went like this:
PRIEBUS: As far as Harry Reid is concerned, listen, I know you might want to go down that road, I’m not going to respond to a dirty liar, who hasn’t filed a single page of tax returns himself, complains about people with money, but lives in the Ritz-Carlton here down the street. So if that’s on the agenda, I’m not going to go there. This is just a made-up issue. The fact that we’re going to spend any time talking about it is just ridiculous.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You say you’re not gonna respond, but you just called him “a dirty liar.” You stand by that? You think Harry Reid is a “dirty liar?”
PRIEBUS: I just said it.
Assuming Priebus meant to say that Reid has not publicly released his tax returns, it is worth noting that given the level of the office, most successful presidential nominees have released their tax returns since the 1970s. The same tradition does not apply to those in Congress and Reid has never been a presidential candidate.
Beyond that, Romney has been upset over the tone of the campaign stating that “I had hoped it would be a debate about the direction of the country. What we’re seeing instead is one attack after the other — misleading, false attacks.” Of course, Romney has been resorting to all kinds of lies to get votes including claiming that the Obama Administration had filed suit to block military personnel from voting. Thus, if Romney wants to complain about dirty campaigning, he needs to start by cleaning house.
Of course, both Romney and Priebus are showing just how amateurish the Romney Campaign is by taking the bait. Romney’s tax returns have been an issue for some time because of his refusal to release more than two years worth of them. By responding to Reid’s comments, Romney has brought his own canons to bear on himself again by highlighting the controversy yet again, but attacking Reid with accusations of lying when, in the end, that won’t hurt Reid at all.