Mitt Needs to Weaponize Transparency
If there's one area where President Obama is wholly vulnerable, it's his utter lack of transparency -- yet the presumptive Republican nominee is somehow losing this issue to the president.
This is patently insane. Barack Obama is the president the mainstream media have refused to vet. In fact, the networks and newspapers have a vested interest in the American people knowing as little as possible about The One. After all, the more Americans found out what the media did not report or muffled about the half-term senator from Illinois, the less we understood -- or liked. How could he possibly have sat in the pews of the radical, America-hating anti-Semite Reverend Jeremiah Wright for all those years and have us believe he never once heard the good reverend spew his trademark vitriol?
How could we elect a man to this sacred high office who launched his political career from the living room of the America-hating domestic terrorist Bill Ayers (in the middle of a War on Terror, no less) and his wife Bernardine Dohrn, who adorned the list of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives for three years? How could we elect a man to America's presidency -- to be the leader of the most successful capitalist nation on earth -- who attended Socialist Scholars conferences, at least one of which was billed as a tribute to Karl Marx? How could a man who has spent his entire adult life under the tutelage of the most left-wing professors and socialist community organizers govern the Land of the Free, of all places?
No, the mainstream media needs to keep such damning information away from Americans, because if the American people had an enlightened inkling about this man, they would give him a well-deserved boot -- in a heartbeat. And cancel all their subscriptions and change the channel.
Poll after poll demonstrates that the majority of Americans do not agree with Obama's philosophies or policies anyway, and there's a reason for that. He just isn't one of us. Put another way, how many red-blooded Americans do you know who attend socialist conferences? Or how many fellow citizens do you know who were trained and supplied with funds by the Midwest Academy, a training institute for community organizers whose leaders advocate a strategy of stealth about their socialism? I don't know any either.
So Obama's strategy is simple: disclose as little as possible. No transcripts, no videos, no writings, no life records (starting at birth) of any kind unless they are absolutely necessary; and even then, if some pesky reporter finds his spine and sense of honor by deciding to be a true journalist and stop screwing the American people with a Soviet-style blockage of truth, fight like hell to keep the records sealed and away from public view. Yet, despite Mr. Obama's astonishing con game, enabled by a God-knows-why fawning press, Mitt Romney is being framed as the secretive one because he is filibustering the release of his tax records.
Since the Romney camp seems stumped in this regard, allow me to offer some advice: release it all, release it now, and demand Barack Obama do the same. Mitt needs to weaponize transparency. The Republican nominee should call a press conference right away (the longer he waits, the more it will seem like he's hiding something) and deliver the following statement, in part using Mr. Obama's own words to nail him:
My fellow Americans, a democracy is not a true democracy if those running for elected office aren't aboveboard with the voting public. Thus, and in the spirit of honesty and transparency, I am disclosing a series of my personal financial documents today. Democracy relies on its leadership giving the citizenry as much information as possible so that The People may make informed choices, and I intend to honor that principle by releasing any other documentation that might be of interest to the voters. This includes school documents, financial records, published writings, and myriad other collections.
By contrast, my opponent has never leveled with the American people. His college records are still a mystery and sealed from the public; our citizens don't even know what courses President Obama was interested in and studied, much less under whom he studied and how he scored in those courses. What was the subject of his college thesis, and what were his signature works as president of the Harvard Law Review? What was the purpose of the president's trip to Pakistan when he was a college student? Who funded that trip and why? What came of that trip? Who funded his college education in each college he attended? Who wrote letters to support his admissions to college? How was he registered there? How did he pay for his home?
All of this important information constitutes what makes the man, yet all of it purposely has been kept from public scrutiny. It powerfully raises the question: "Why?" But as Mr. Obama himself said, "The only people who don't want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide."
If a politician cannot be straightforward with the American people, how can they trust him with their futures -- their fortunes and their lives -- and have supreme confidence that he will lead them well? I will make my records accessible to the American people, and I hope to encourage President Obama to do the same. It is only..."fair"...as Mr. Obama himself might say..."that we play by the same rules."
Then, Governor Romney should drip out his own personal documents one by one, keeping the story in the news indefinitely and, at the time of each release, he should request that President Obama do the same. Release everything, from financial statements and charitable giving to video rentals and vet bills. If Romney broadcasts that he's an open book, in contrast to the secretive and unexplained Barack Obama, it would inject life into Romney's campaign and would also focus Americans on just how much they actually do not know about the occupant of the White House, even after nearly four years of his very consequential rule. What other president has so negatively impacted multiple generations of Americans' futures and family security as much as our 44th? Perhaps it's time to learn a little bit more about this man.
Mitt also has a Trump card up his sleeve, should he choose to play it. If you recall, Donald Trump, who has already been out on the campaign trail with Romney, was the person who finally forced Obama to release a birth certificate. Perhaps The Donald's force of will caused the Obama team to release something too hastily, as investigators have determined that the document he released is most likely a forgery. Nonetheless, The Donald's ability to create a media storm as he did with Obama's birth certificate might be our best chance at figuring out what Barack was actually up to in his critical formative years and how those experiences constructed his decidedly un-American (at least regarding the America we have known) worldview.
These strategies are simple; the only thing that's difficult to understand is why the Romney campaign hasn't implemented them. It's most likely because Mitt is concerned that the left and the mainstream media will play class warfare when they see what percentage of taxes he has paid on his millions of annual earnings. But if the Romney team is on its toes, it will have the answer to that, too -- an answer that Americans will understand in their American souls. Mitt must remember: Americans love a winner, and Mitt embodies the very best of our varied American success stories. What a role model he would be for our children! And anyway, is that leftist bogeyman so scary to the Romney campaign that they will cede the all-important transparency issue to Obama?
If so, look forward to four more years of President Opaque.
Carol A. Taber is president of FamilySecurityMatters.org.