Are Harry Reid’s questionable tactics working? by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s most recent foray into presidential politics – claiming someone had told him that Mitt Romney had paid no taxes for ten years but refusing to corroborate the accuser’s name or the charge has the stench of McCarthyism.


During the Cold War, the late Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy held hearings to rout out Communists and famously waved in the air what he claimed were lists of subversives in the State Department or in the army.  He never documented his claims, and ultimately McCarthy himself was censured for tactics that we all know today as McCarthyism.

Reid says only that he got the information on Romney from a Bain investor and  that, if the charge is not true, Romney can prove it by revealing his tax returns, something Romney seems to have no intention of doing.

Clearly, voters deserve more information from Romney than he has been willing to provide, whether we are talking about just where he would make budget cuts or how he may have used a complex tax code to lawfully avoid paying taxes. His father set the standard for presidential candidate financial disclosure, and there are legitimate questions about how Mitt Romney may have organized his personal and business affairs in the runup to and during the Great Recession. Even some fellow Republicans have said the questions are legitimate and urged he be more forthright.

The public seems to infer from his refusal to go beyond releasing his 2010 return and his 2011 estimate that the GOP candidate has something to hide, and, indeed,  Romney’s unfavorability rating has ticked upward in recent weeks, according to a Washington Post/ABC poll.

But it’s  Harry Reid’s tactics are driving the debate right now, and no Democrat that I know of has condemned the apparent smear.  In fact, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi played along, saying that “it’s true that ‘someone told Harry Reid that.’”

Reid insists that the burden of proof is on Mitt Romney to show he did pay taxes, and even many Republicans want the returns released so they can put the issue behind them. Certainly Reid has succeeded in keeping the issue alive. As the Christian Science Monitor notes, Reid may be bluffing, but he’s winning. And Reid himself won’t be facing the voters until 2016, so he has nothing electorally to lose by doing this.  Still, it’s enough to make even hardened cynics want to take to the showers.

5 Responses to Are Harry Reid’s questionable tactics working? by Marjorie Arons-Barron

  1. C R Krieger says:

    I think then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have gotten the word from Susan B Anthony, while visiting the White House.

    As for Senate Majority Leader Haary Reid, he has earned a new entry in the Urban Dctionary.

    Governor Romney is in a bit of a bind, in that if he capitulates to Mr Reid he will look weak, and that won’t help either.  His best hope is to wait until he gets a bounce from his VP choice.  That is something that President Obama won’t get unless he jettisons Mr Biden and picks SecState Hillary Clinton—like FDR dropped Henry Wallace and picked Harry Truman.  Interesting to me, on the first ballot Senator John H Bankhead, II, uncle of the famous movie star, Talullah Bankhead was third on the first ballot, after HST and Henry Wallace.

    Regards  —  Cliff

  2. Christopher says:

    This is NOT McCarthyism – not even close! When McCarthy claimed to have “here in my hand” a list of Communists in the State Department he later acknowledged it was not a list of names at all. Also, the severity of the accusations is not equivalent. McCarthy was accusing people of treason, the highest crime against the state and the only crime named in the Constitution. Reid is suggesting that Romney paid no taxes, which for all we know may have been legal, thus constituting the real scandal here. Reid also has a source and stands by it, which while it would be nice to have it named, is no different than the media citing a source on condition of anonymity. If you want an example of McCarthyism from this summer, see Michelle Bachmann’s letter asking for an investigation in to the loyalties of one of Hillary Clinton’s aide without much more “evidence” than because she’s a Muslim, never mind that anyone in such position already undergoes a thorough background check at the time of hire.

  3. Brian Flaherty says:

    Hasn’t the president refused to release any of his college/university records?

  4. Jack Mitchell says:

    The college transcript cry is hollow. Obama was elected without providing them before. The people have elected him without this info. It is Romney that must walk the gauntlet, now. Romney must answer to the people.

    If you want to critique Obama, you have 4 years of record to work with. That is a record that I am fairly proud of and will defend, if it is challenge with bogus spin. However, if you were to try, there just may be decisions or policies where reasonable people could disagree.

    I don’t accept the notion of trickle down economics. I think that we should end the Bush tax cuts for those making over a million bucks.

  5. C R Krieger says:

    I think the argument regarding Hillary Clinton’s long time aide, Huma Abedin Abdullah Naseef, the wife of former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner, is about more than she is a Muslim.  While I believe implicitly in her loyalty, a former Federal Prosecutor, by the name of McCarthy, provides some evidence that she associated with people associated with charities that funnel money to Muslim Brotherhood organizations.  I have been condemned by folks here in Lowell on less.  I think Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and her four colleagues, are wrong here, but they have some paperwork.

    As for Tail Gunner Joe, he did have the VENONA Papers behind him.  On the other hand, he did a lot of damage at a time when we needed the experts his excesses were forcing out of Government.

    As for Romney legally not paying taxes, that is on Senator Harry Reid.  He is the one in Congress, passing tax legislation.  As legislators go, Mr Reid is a big disappointment to me.

    But, his accusation seems to be working and he is doubling down.  And, he has no shame.

    Regards  —  Cliff