WPost Again Defends Romney

Exclusive: Mitt Romney is running the most secretive presidential campaign in modern U.S. history. He won’t give details on his policies, his principles, his business record at Bain Capital, or his tax returns. Yet, his cover-ups have found a surprising ally, the Washington Post, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Washington Post’s neocon editors have again rallied to Mitt Romney’s defense, this time accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of McCarthyism for citing an unnamed Bain Capital investor as saying Romney paid no income taxes for 10 years.

“If the senator has any proof, he owes it to Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, to put it on the record, now,” the Post wrote in a Wednesday editorial. “Otherwise, Mr. Reid ought to pause and reflect on the record of another senator who once claimed to have a list of Communists and spies at the State Department, and could not substantiate it. Mr. Reid’s smear tactics are not unlike those of Joseph McCarthy and deserve equal condemnation.”

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. (Photo credit: mittromney.com)

Really? Citing a source who says Romney didn’t pay taxes presumably because he didn’t earn taxable income during some years and thus not in violation of any tax laws is the same as accusing professional Foreign Service officers of treason and ruining their careers? To equate the two situations suggests that the Post’s neocon editors have lost all sense of proportionality.

McCarthy’s victims also were in no position to defend themselves once the witch hunts began. McCarthy used his Senate committee to drag people before the cameras and confront them with vague accusations of treachery and disloyalty. The accused were required to somehow prove the negative when, to do so, was nearly impossible.

Romney’s predicament is entirely of his own making. He has his tax returns; he showed more than two decades’ worth to John McCain’s aides in 2008 when they were vetting Romney as a possible vice presidential candidate; Romney could make them public at any time and prove that he did pay income taxes every year. But he has chosen not to.

Instead, Romney is relying on the Washington press corps and pundits to rally to his defense and counterattack Harry Reid. Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus went so far as to call Reid a “dirty liar” and almost no one demanded that Priebus prove his charge.

The Post’s “fact-checker” Glenn Kessler engaged in a similar Romney defense when Kessler meted out “Pinocchios” to the Obama campaign for challenging Romney’s claim that he had no responsibility at his Bain Capital firm once he left to work on the Olympics in 1999.

The Obama campaign cited dozens of official disclosure reports filed by Bain Capital with the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1999 to 2002 telling investors that Romney was still the man in charge. The New York Times counted 142 such filings.

Again, Romney could have cleared matters up by simply releasing internal records of Bain Capital regarding the nature of his contacts with his old firm over those three years. But instead he chose to cover up the facts.

There’s also the point that journalists often cite unidentified sources reporting information that some powerful politician denies. In many of those cases, the politician is covering up the evidence that would prove the point one way or the other. But we don’t accuse the journalists of “McCarthyism.”

Under such standards, the Post’s editors could have accused Watergate reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of engaging in “McCarthyism” against Richard Nixon. After all, they were relying on unnamed sources to accuse the President and his inner circle of a criminal conspiracy to cover-up their involvement in the scandal.

The Post, which had its greatest moment of glory breaking through the Watergate cover-up, behaves these days as a co-conspirator in Romney’s cover-ups. Why should he release any information when the Post will reserve its harshest criticism for those who challenge his secrecy?

Regarding Sen. Reid’s claim about Romney’s tax-free years, the Post’s editors couldn’t stop at simply accusing Reid of McCarthyism. They also likened him to a murderous gangster, writing: “Even in the attenuated and superficial climate of today’s politics, Mr. Reid’s drive-by tactics repel.”

While lambasting Sen. Reid, the Post’s editors only gently chided Mitt Romney: “One way to prove [he did pay taxes] would be for Mr. Romney, a wealthy and successful businessman, to make public additional years of his tax returns. So far, he has steadfastly refused.

“There’s no formal requirement to reveal more, but Mr. Romney has deepened voter curiosity about why he won’t, and whether he has something to conceal. As long as he declines, the questions will persist.”

The Post’s editors also politely suggest that Romney’s campaign disclose “the identity of Mr. Romney’s well-connected campaign bundlers, to whom he is indebted for vacuuming up truckloads of cash. The candidate knows who they are but is not saying.”

But, arguably, the only way to get Romney to reverse himself on his secrecy is for him to pay a steep political price. His cover-ups also invite the kind of sourced allegations that Sen. Reid made last week or the Obama campaign’s earlier citation of the Bain documents contradicting Romney’s personal assertions about his lack of control.

Yet, that pressure is then negated when the likes of Glenn Kessler and the Washington Post’s editors go on the attack against the people raising the questions and act in defense of Romney, the person who is running the cover-up.

The end result of such misguided outrage is that the American people may elect, in Mitt Romney, a mystery man as President.

To read more of Robert Parry’s writings, you can now order his last two books, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, at the discount price of only $16 for both. For details on the special offer, click here.]  

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

17 comments for “WPost Again Defends Romney

  1. August 10, 2012 at 12:39

    Well, of course Romney, unlike Joe McCarthy’s victims, can very well defend himself, I don’t think any of them had the WaPo defending them. But Romney, you see, is a victim. No matter how successful he is, how much money he grubs or how many honors he heaps upon himself, he is still suffering constantly from the oh so awful discrimination he has had to endure.

    Why? Because, as a typical Baby Boomer, he is always a whining victim of either parents or parental stand-ins. They never let him have what he wants and it makes him angry that he doesn’t get his. For his entire life he is rebelling against his parents. Of course now he has to rebel against parental stand-ins, which of course would be anybody or anything that doesn’t let him have his way anytime he wants.

    Mr. Obama is also a Baby Boomer, but he is not at all typical. Look at the circumstances of his origins and his upbringing. The President has a distinct advantage over his challenger because he is not saddled with that typical Me Generation immaturity. Thus we see that Mr. Obama appears a whole lot smarter than Romney. In addition, Mr. Obama is playing Romney like a piano. Note, for one of many examples, how all the current corporate media noise is no longer about birth certificates etc. but about whether or not Romney pays taxes.

    But it’s so sad that a guy who runs pointless land wars in Asia, squashed single payer health and has quietly set up the machinery for a corporate dictatorship here in America is most definitely the lesser of two evils.

    BTW, this commenter is himself a Boom Baby.

  2. dahoit
    August 10, 2012 at 11:47

    C,mon,I look at the posts website everyday to see what the enemy is up to,and they have been in the tank for Obomba.Not totally,with that idiot Rubin scum leaving her droppings,and Krauthammer his boogies,but enough to see the drift.
    Yeah,Mitt sucks also,I can’t argue that point,but Obomba betrayed every vote for him,and I will never ever pull a lever for that miseducated dweeb brain of Ziomioc indoctrination.
    And remember,it was Bubba bent dick who accelerated our economic emasculation with his stinking trade steals,at least Romney knows how to be prosperous,unlike our demoncrat traitors.
    And words from Romney to gain election,are not the same as deeds of death,and bankster bailouts(and now criminal prosecution of obvious shenanigans bailouts)like Obomba actually does.

  3. Atticus Dogsbody
    August 10, 2012 at 06:13

    Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

  4. Gerry
    August 9, 2012 at 22:58

    Washington Post should apply the same standards they specify for the Senate Majority Leader to themselves. Since they frequently refuse to reveal their sources even when threatened with legal prosecution. The Senate Majority Leader’s assertion is just that a hearsay assertion that could easily be refuted by Mr. Romney. The consequences if it’s false would just be an embarassment to Mr. Reid. Since it could so easily be proved false why hasn’t Mr. Romney embarrassed Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader?

    • dahoit
      August 10, 2012 at 11:52

      Harry Reid,now there’s a leaky vessel to put your electoral hopes in,another fraud demoncrat.Draw and quarter him,first,and then the rest of congress,except Kucinich and Ron Paul,but after Nov.,the whole lot will be available for the torture they give US and the world.

  5. August 9, 2012 at 18:30

    The editorial writers at the Washington Post want Harry Reid to Prove that Romney didn’t file tax returns for 10 years. How does one prove a negative?! Harry Reid would have to get the IRS to state that Romney didn’t pay taxes! But they’re sworn to secrecy! The only one who can prove that Romney paid taxes is Romney.

  6. August 9, 2012 at 12:42

    Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is the most secretive and authoritarian in modern history. There is a conspiracy of silence from the establishment media. There are no substantial differences between the two major parties or the two eager servants of the corporatocracy.

    Disappointingly, Parry loses perspective of what’s really at stake with his obsession with Romney’s tax papers and lies. He’s doing the Obama campaign’s work for Obama, who would prefer to make the 2012 election about how Romney can’t be trusted, rather than a judgment on Obama’s right-wing, tyrannical, pro-plutocratic policies of the last three years.

  7. Chris Herz
    August 9, 2012 at 11:59

    Who care who is selected president in November. The movers and shakers in the DC bureaucracy will still wage their crazy wars, work to dismantle Social Security, intensify the drug war, do these trade deals, stuff the gluttons of Wall Street and generally crap on us all.
    They all need to go, and soon, if there is to be anything at all left of the once-Great Republic.
    Vote Green, Libertarian or write-in.

    • August 9, 2012 at 12:44

      You’re right:

      and btw, Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party is also running.

      • OH
        August 9, 2012 at 20:06

        Rocky Anderson has said that the reason he endorsed Mitt Romney for Massachusetts Governor, is that “Mitt Romney is a good friend”.

    • Chris Stahnke
      August 13, 2012 at 19:29

      It’s a question of degree. I’m convinced that most Democrats have some minimal regard for the country and will try to avoid imposing too much suffering on the average person as long as it doesn’t interfere with corporate profits. On the other, hand the current Republican Party is a party of nihilists who seek suffering and destruction for its own sake for complex reasons that are deeply unconscious and have to do with the over-rapid change of the past few decades that many Americans (particularly those who are not too bright) are having a hard time digesting. It may be worth it to vote Democratic this time unless you’re ready to live in a neo-feudal state now rather than in a decade or so. I’d like more time to prepare.

  8. incontinent reader
    August 9, 2012 at 09:19

    Rachel Maddow ran a good series on Romney’s run for governor of Massachusetts, when the issue of his Massachusetts residency for the prior seven years, a Massachusetts requirement, came up. For a long time he refused to disclose his returns, and when it was discovered he had filed non-resident Massachusetts income tax returns for seven years and had received a property tax abatement in Utah, which conditioned such abatements on Utah residency, he hustled to amend and refile all of the returns as a Massachusetts resident, though, according to Maddow, Romney did not return the property tax abatement, notwithstanding the refiling meant he was a non-resident of Utah.

    The tax filings are relevant to knowing better who Romney is and to whom he owes his loyalties, and also knowing something so basic as to whether he would uphold the law which nowadays doesn’t seem to count for very much, but which is something he would have to swear to in taking the Presidential oath. On the other hand, Reid’s certainty also raises the issue that someone at the IRS could have leaked information to the Obama campaign, which could be a felony under federal privacy/secrecy laws. (See how that would play with Reid’s colleague Sen.Feinstein who is eager to convict Assange and Manning for violating government secrecy laws, despite their disclosure of war crimes by the military, and who would like to investigate those who leaked information about the Administration’s targeted assassination program to the NY Times’ David Sanger, which among other things, made her look like she hasn’t been doing her job as numero uno Congressional overseer.)

    While castigating Sen. Reid, the Washington Post might have alluded to Romney’s peccadillos with the Massachusetts and Utah income and property tax laws. However, one wonders if the Post is also trying to curry favor with both the Obama and the Romney teams to hedge its bets, i.e., by looking the other way on a campaign issue that could have negative impact on Romney, while also refraining from asking where Reid may have gotten his information.

    • August 9, 2012 at 12:49

      Who is going to make Romney “uphold the law”? Suppose he is selected to represent Big Capital in the White House. What can we expect? Democratic partisans will suddenly re-discover their moral outrage and self-servingly denounce the WH for its executive over-reach, lawlessness, contempt for justice, cronyism, etc.

      • incontinent reader
        August 10, 2012 at 15:33


    • bobzz
      August 10, 2012 at 02:13

      he hustled to amend and refile all of the returns as a Massachusetts resident, Incontinent reader writes: “…he hustled to amend and refile all of the returns as a Massachusetts resident…”

      Romney may be amending his tax returns again to hide Bain Capital earnings. Obviously, I cannot know that, but based on the quote, one does wonder. He can spring it at the right moment. It will be interesting to watch. His campaign seems to be Johnny-two-note: 1) I know how to create jobs and bring the ones back that we lost overseas. Sure. 2) I know how to mis-quote Obama.

    August 9, 2012 at 08:01


    Nigel Parry/CPI

    Published in the August 2012 issue

    You are a historic figure, Mr. President. You are not only the first African-American president; you are the first who has made use of your power to target and kill individuals identified as a threat to the United States throughout your entire term. You are the first president to make the killing of targeted individuals the focus of our military operations, of our intelligence, of our national-security strategy, and, some argue, of our foreign policy. You have authorized kill teams comprised of both soldiers from Special Forces and civilians from the CIA, and you have coordinated their efforts through the Departments of Justice and State. You have gradually withdrawn from the nation building required by “counterinsurgency” and poured resources into the covert operations that form the basis of “counter-terrorism.” More than any other president you have made the killing rather than the capture of individuals the option of first resort, and have killed them both from the sky, with drones, and on the ground, with “nighttime” raids not dissimilar to the one that killed Osama bin Laden. You have killed individuals in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and are making provisions to expand the presence of American Special Forces in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In Pakistan and other places where the United States has not committed troops, you are estimated to have killed at least two thousand by drone. You have formalized what is known as “the program,” and at the height of its activity it was reported to be launching drone strikes in Pakistan every three days. Your lethality is expansive in both practice and principle; you are fighting terrorism with a policy of preemptive execution, and claiming not just the legal right to do so but the legal right to do so in secret. The American people, for the most part, have no idea who has been killed, and why; the American people — and for that matter, most of their representatives in Congress — have no idea what crimes those killed in their name are supposed to have committed, and have been told that they are not entitled to know.

    • Otto Schiff
      August 12, 2012 at 21:23

      You are irrelevant Mr.Perry.
      Your redsponse is nothing put an attach on the president and does not
      relate to the article. I dont understand why it was even printed.

Comments are closed.