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Rarely do Republicans agree with Democrats on anything–not even the American Jobs Act–so bipartisanship on any issue is (unfortunately) a big deal.  That bipartisanship came not in the form of legislation, but in calling for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release an extensive record of his tax returns.

While Romney has released a year and a half worth of returns, and has done the bare minimum required (as is the Romney way), the public is still not satisfied.  As Jon Stewart so aptly put, Romney only released returns from “when he was running for president” in the 2012 election (meaning that he was aware that he was under special scrutiny and may have sanitized certain things for public consumption).  Every day Romney refuses to release more tax returns, the political fallout increases.  On yesterday’s “Good Morning America”, Ann Romney said, “We’ve given you people all you need to know”, sparking outrage over her use of “you people”, basically because she condescendingly accused her fellow Americans of being peons far below the aristocratic–and exceptional–Romneys.  This “special treatment” ethic that the Romneys seem to believe they deserve is the biggest problem with the whole taxgate issue.

Unlike pundits who speculate that Romney must be hiding something terrible, I seriously doubt there is anything illegal in Mitt Romney’s tax records.  The problem is that the system allows for the kind of “institutional advantages” that make possible vast economic inequality in America.  Romney just reaps the benefits.

Mitt Romney has a myriad of personality flaws.  There are reasons he seems out of touch and like he’s keeping others at arm’s length.  He’s not forthcoming.  He’s always vague.  He’s not transparent.  He lacks ideological convictions.  In short, he’s not trustworthy.  And he has money in overseas accounts.  It’s not a good combination.

The unscripted Ann Romney moment served as a lightning rod because it so clearly epitomizes people’s fears about the Romneys and their relation to the majority of the country.  Can you see Michelle Obama saying “you people”?  The opposition would be on her SO FAST.  For that matter, can you imagine Barack Obama not releasing his tax returns?  (And he doesn’t even have his father’s vaunted example to live up to.)  Certain Republicans, advanced by their trustworthy mouthpiece Fox News, have called for the president’s sealed documents, including high school and college transcripts.  They do this to create a distraction, as if there is some false equivalency.  There’s not.

Mitt and Ann, you’re not special.  It’s beyond insulting that you think you are.  Running for president is the great equalizer, and no one is spared the scrutiny–especially not those whose extreme wealth and secrecy have been used to insulate and separate themselves all their lives from the citizenry they are running to serve.

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