Responding to his critics, Kevin Drum breaks out the shovel while standing in his hole and tunnels through a few more strata thick with false equivalence nonsense, looking for the exit.
If we’re at the point where both sides publicly hold that it’s defensible to simply make stuff up because the stakes are so high, we’ve abandoned all pretense of caring about the truth. Nor is the idea that it’s defensible to make up any charge as long as it’s somehow rebuttable much better.
Please note that Drum assumes Harry Reid must be lying, he must be making stuff up. There’s no way Harry Reid can possibly be telling the truth here, right? How does Drum know this? The one guy we know who has seen Romney’s tax returns, John McCain, isn’t saying a damn thing. Not only could Mitt Romney end this farce, John McCain could end this by saying “I’ve seen Mr. Romney’s tax returns when my team vetted him in 2008, and Harry Reid is a liar.” Instead, nothing. It looks like to me Kevin doesn’t care about the truth, but he sure does care about being “right” here.
I’m not even sure how to react to my critics anymore. When a bare minimal standard of decency (no flatly invented stories) is widely mocked as pearl clutching and fainting couch-y, there aren’t really any standards left aside from “whatever works.” All I know is that I want no part of that.
“Whatever works” is what Romney is doing, lying about the President weakening welfare-to-work rules. “Whatever works” and “making stuff up” is Michele Bachmann’s anti-Muslim witch hunt. “Whatever works” is the racism birther nonsense that continues years after the President put out his birth certificate, and then Republicans screaming IT’S FAKE. Comparing any of these to Harry Reid saying “Mitt Romney paid no federal income taxes for ten years” which is an eminently provable or disprovable thing is not only disingenuous, it’s obnoxiously lazy for a reporter of Drum’s bona fides.
By the way, it’s really not true that every candidate for the past 40 years has released all their relevant tax information. John McCain released only a couple of years of returns, and released none of his wife’s returns even though that’s where the vast majority of his family’s wealth lies. Likewise, John Kerry never released his wife’s returns, which accounted for the vast majority of his family’s wealth. I agree that Romney should release more of his tax returns, and I think it’s fine for Democrats to beat him up about it. But let’s keep our facts straight.
What facts? We have no facts because the people who have the fact refuse to release them. Kerry and McCain played these games. They didn’t end up winning for a number of reasons, but there you are. Meanwhile, we’re treating Harry Reid like he’s 100% the worst liar on Earth when A) we don’t have all the facts and B) Republicans actually do lie all the goddamn time.
I refuse to go after Reid over this, especially to satisfy Kevin Drum’s sense of centrist honor. If Romney proves him wrong then I will say “Harry Reid was full of crap and a liar.” But the “fact” that he’s a liar has yet to be established because Romney won’t release his returns.
Do we get this?