Harry Reid, who may have been reading my blog posts, has decided to advance the charge at breaching Mitt Romney's tax-return defenses. As you may have heard, Reid is claiming that Romney paid no income taxes at all for 10 years -- a bit of intel he heard from the tiny yellow space monkey who lives in his left ear.
Well, OK, Reid didn't actually cite the space monkey; he credited an unnamed "Bain investor," which is only slightly less credible. I'm trying to picture the scenario: "Yes, I would like to put $2 million into your latest Sankaty fund, but first I'll need to see a decade's worth of your former CEO's personal tax returns"; "Of course -- I'll fax them right over."
In the political argot, what Reid is doing is "pulling stuff out of his ass."
The news media has had little choice but to report it -- when the US Senate Majority Leader levels a claim against a major-party Presidential nominee, it's news. I think for the most part the coverage has been appropriately skeptical, and several prominent commentators across the ideological spectrum have properly called Reid out for contemptible behavior, but nevertheless Romney has been forced once again to engage in denying rumors about his returns, which as I wrote at the post linked above is dangerous territory for him.
It should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed Reid's career that he would stoop to such low levels in the pursuit of his desired political outcomes -- or that he would be willing to sacrifice his personal reputation in doing so. Reid doesn't have to face voters until after the next Olympic Games, and you may recall that he got himself re-elected in 2010, despite being overwhelmingly unpopular in his home state, in part by helping con Nevada conservatives into nominating a full-bore world-class looney-toon against him.
My guess is that Reid will now respond to Romney's denial by asserting that we can hardly take his word for it, given Romney's troubled history with truthfulness -- an excuse to remind everybody about the "dad marched with MLK" and other instances. Yes, the pot will be calling the kettle black. I don't think Reid cares.