There is a Democratic pro-Obama ad nailing Mitt Romney for “dodging” requests to release his tax records. That demand for full disclosure seems fair enough — but coming from the Obama camp, it is a most unwise tactic.
If finance and business are dear to the hearts of Republicans and thus they must come clean on how well they do in them, academics and the Ivy League are commensurately cherished by liberal Democrats. Just as Romney cites his business success, and so should allow scrutiny of his annual record of it, so too Obama and his supporters cite his stellar academic career as proof of his competency, and so likewise he should provide the transcripts to confirm that such impressions are grounded in fact. (If voters learn that Romney “lost” money while at the head of Bain, they should have legitimate worries; and if they learn that Barack Obama was a C+ or B- student from Columbia who was admitted on scholarship to Harvard Law School, they likewise should legitimately be puzzled.)
And yet Barack Obama has never to my knowledge done what his 2008 rival John McCain and other presidential candidates like John Kerry and George Bush all have done and released his Occidental or Columbia transcripts, much less his medical records. I thought the issue of “full disclosure” was therefore going to be taboo this time around, which is why I was startled that the Obama team is now pressing Romney to let us look at his taxes.
Romney should release them, and at the same release his college transcripts and medical records — and then leave it to Barack Obama to match the trifecta in the spirit of the hope and change new transparency.