Let me start by saying that I am a liberal. I am very liberal. I am a “lily-livered, bleeding-heart, liberal, egghead communist” to quote President Bartlett (from “The West Wing”). As a result it pains me when I see “my own people” acting like immature hypocrites.
For days now, I’ve had to endure an endless stream of bloggers, daytime news commentators, and even some of my favorite evening MSNBC hosts, respond to Mitt Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns by saying, “What does he have to hide? Doesn’t this make it seem like he has something to hide?”
Now let’s re-wind to the run-up to the PATRIOT act, and wiretapping, and all of that other post-9/11 craziness. What were the liberals saying? It is illegal for the government to be able to demand private information. What were conservatives saying? “You have nothing to worry about if you have nothing to hide.”
Now, I recognize that these situations are different. Being any random private citizen is not the same as being a candidate for the presidency of the United States, and in this case it isn’t the government “seizing” information, it is the media more-or-less demanding it.
But still, there is something creepy and eerie about liberals making the argument that they have a right to inspect someone’s documents, and that if someone resists their demands then it could only be because that person has something to hide.
Are you really sure that you want to turn around and make that specific argument?
I’m all in favor of Mitt releasing his tax returns. I think it will be informative and important as part of our ability to evaluate where his interests lie.
The only thing I object to is liberals using this particular argument: “The only possible reason someone could have for not handing over whatever I demand is that HE MUST HAVE SOMETHING TO HIDE!!!”
It is, quite simply, a bad argument. It’s an easy argument, and I can see the excitement it brings you all to repeat it endlessly in your blogs. But it is a paranoid argument, and a lazy argument.
It is the argument that conservatives use to justify wiretapping and warrantless searches.
Let’s not follow in their footsteps.