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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Romney: Tithing and Tax Returns

I have seen all sorts of chatter from news sites - it seems like all of them - about Romney's new excuse for not releasing more tax returns, which is to keep his LDS tithing as private as possible. His tithing should be private, and I have no problem understanding that. What Romney should realize (and probably does) is that other people might not understand that at all, and the media isn't going to help them understand.

In essence, Romney feels that any charity he participates in (or donates to) should be his own affair, in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ, to not perform good works to be seen of men. Like in 2008 when he arranged for milk to be donated to a food bank privately and quietly, because they didn't have any for the homeless. Remember that "gaffe" about Romney asking them why they didn't get milk from a ranch? It turned out that is a common practice in certain parts of the country, and wasn't a gaffe at all. But anyway, Romney performs charitable service out of the goodness of his heart and not for the publicity. Refreshing!

In contrast I remember hearing about John Kerry and Obama, even Bill Clinton, showing up for photo-ops at places like hospitals or military bases but not making an effort to talk to anyone there, do anything for them, or give them any minute not devoted to the shoot.

I think you catch my drift. Romney isn't that kind of person, or we would have already heard about it in the news.

As it is, people [read journalists] are saying that Romney is making bad excuses on his tax returns. That maybe he has something to hide, including in his charitable giving. (Side note: his released tax return and the rough projection for the second year do not indicate any problems in taxes or donations, so I doubt it.) In that vein, he'd probably be better off just saying that Democrats want him to release more tax returns just so they can skewer him with "questionable" details inherent in complicated (read investment-based) tax returns.

They're just not going to understand that Romney wants to keep his private life private, because he's running for public office. I don't usually admit this, but they have a point. It would probably have been better not to give an excuse at all, because ignoring them sends an entirely different message.

A message that he's not playing their game their way.

We'll see how this plays out. I doubt the media is going to be able to make mountains of this molehill for much longer. It's the GOP convention tomorrow, which will provide ample reasons for a change in topic. And however it plays out, Romney's running a smart campaign, and I trust him. Absolutely.

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