One reason many of us are troubled about the future of our country is that we don’t seem to have many capable, credible people in positions of authority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a good example.
Lately Reid has been claiming that an unnamed person, or persons, have told him that Republican candidate Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years. Never mind that Romney has released returns for the last two years that show he paid substantial sums in taxes. Never mind that those returns reflect financial affairs that make it highly unlikely that Romney had zero tax liability in prior years — so unlikely that the Washington Post gave Reid four “Pinocchios” for his dubious claim. And never mind that Reid himself has not released his own tax returns, arguing that he provides sufficient financial information through congressional disclosure processes. Reid sees no double standard or unfairness in any of this, and says the burden is on Romney to disprove Reid’s allegation.
We should all be deeply troubled by Reid’s recklessness. Making public charges based solely on alleged anonymous information, refusing to disclose its source, and then putting the burden on the accused to disprove the unsubstantiated allegations sounds like McCarthyism or the tactics employed in the Soviet Union. No American should be treated so unfairly, and the fact that Mitt Romney is a presidential candidate for the opposing party doesn’t relieve Reid of his obligation to act with decency and propriety.
Harry Reid has been an ineffective leader of the Senate during a time when that body has been even more inert than normal. He is a Lilliputian figure in the history of this country, but his latest stunts are revealing disturbing things about his character. If he wants to pursue the issue of Mitt Romney’s taxes, he should disclose his sources by name, state precisely what they told him, and let everyone judge the credibility of that information. If he doesn’t want to do so, he should do us all a favor and shut up.