While we were focused on T-SPLOST, the presidential campaign marched on. Which is not to say it moved forward, in any normal sense of the word.
The latest moment in the summer silly season comes courtesy of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, employing the “when did you stop beating your wife?” technique toward Mitt Romney’s tax returns. From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Sen. Harry Reid caused a stir this week when he told an interviewer that Mitt Romney hasn’t released more of his tax returns because “he didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.” On Wednesday, Reid doubled down on the charge. …
“I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination,” Reid said in a telephone call with Nevada reporters. “I have had a number of people tell me that.”
Asked to elaborate on his sources, Reid declined. “No, that’s the best you’re going to get from me.”
“I don’t think the burden should be on me,” Reid said. “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn’t he release his tax returns?”
This is, not to put too fine a point on it, un-American.
You see, in this country, the burden of proof is on the accuser. That is the standard in criminal cases, and it informs our sense of propriety in the court of public opinion.
This is why neither 9/11 “truthers” nor Obama “birthers” have gotten any traction with the broader public: Their respective “cases” — to use another word loosely — rely on accusations they can’t prove and an implication the accused should prove they’ve done nothing wrong. That’s not how it works in this country.
For good measure, Reid also suggested Romney’s own deceased father would be disappointed in his son. I’m glad to know Reid’s tastelessness knows no bounds.
The good news is that the senator’s claim is likely to shift the focus from Romney to those jumping the shark while badgering him to release his past tax returns. After all, when you’ve lost Jon Stewart …
(Note: If you click that Jon Stewart link, you should expect to hear some language we don’t allow on AJC blogs. And no, I’m not going to defend the claims on the Fox & Friends clips he shows at the end.)
– By Kyle Wingfield