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Romney's tax returns pale to the issue of the national debt
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Good for Mitt Romney for not releasing 10 years' worth of tax returns prior to 2010.

If he did, he would be playing right into the Democrats' hands and letting them control the campaign.

As the country swirls in a toilet of debt brought on by out-of-control federal spending, Democrats have tried to make Romney's tax returns the most important campaign issue.

It isn't. Nor are the bird-brained comments about "legitimate rape" made by a Senate candidate in Missouri. After all, politicians say all sorts of stupid things as evidenced by Vice President Biden who said "You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent..."

Real issues exist in this 2012 campaign for the White House and the future of the country is at stake. Our country's debt is spiking at an astronomical rate, people are struggling to find jobs, we are energy dependent on Mideast oil sheiks and Americans feel hopeless about the future.

It's understandable that President Obama enjoys the flap about Romney's tax returns because he has no record of achievement to run on. Obama's term has been so dismal that even Newsweek last week stated the case for his departure in their cover story. Romney, a devout Mormon, doesn't have skeletons in his closet, ao Obama focuses on Romney's personal wealth, estimated $190 million to $250 million (Romney gave away $7 million of it during years 2010 and 2011 while the Obamas gave $172,130 in 2011.)

I can imagine this is a dialogue that took place at the Obama re-election campaign committee:

"Mr. President, the average voter is really having a tough time in this country in part because you have not turned things around like you promised. We are deeper in debt than you ever imagined you'd put us, thanks in part to stimulus that did not work. So, as your adviser, I suggest we tap into the discontent you helped create. We have no personal mud to sling at Romney; he's just squeaky clean. So let's create the image that he's hiding something and demand that he release his tax returns. We know he won't do it - he knows a lot of voters hate rich people - so he'll look like he has something to hide."

Obama: "Are you sure he hasn't failed to report all his income?"

Adviser: "We wish. No, sir. The IRS would have already crucified him like Willie Nelson and we'd have a field day. But he has been very careful since he's been eying the White House for years and knows he has to walk a straight line. Besides, he's a straight as an arrow Mormon who plays by the rule book. We know he reported an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent on $21.7 million in income in 2010 and 15.4 percent on $20.9 million in 2011.

"Let's get our friends in the media to play those facts against Romney. You see, we won't point out that Romney no longer has a salary and only makes investment income and only must pay a capital gains tax on his investments. Let's stress that Romney only pays 14 percent, even though that's all he's required to pay. Sound good, Mr. President?"

Obama: "Ah, sure, but what if Romney-Ryan get serious and make this campaign about my failed Administration?"

"They will. They'll even use your own words against you, the ones about if you couldn't get it turned around in four years then it's a, what did you call it? 'One term proposition'? Sir, your best hope is to continue to hammer Romney as an out-of-touch rich white guy who hates women."

Obama: "But how do we get around the fact that Romney is really good at running a business and I can't even run a country."

Adviser: "A true problem indeed but keep hounding him to release his tax returns, his wealth and then scare the crap out of the old people about his approach to MediCare. If we repeat it long enough, the non-analytical voter who votes with feelings will keep supporting you. It's gotta work because, let's face it, you're approval rating is under 50 percent and that just won't fly come Election Day."

Obama: (Gulp). "I hope you're right. I still can't believe I said that line about small businessmen not being the ones who built it."

Adviser: "Yes, Mr. President, you lost a lot of support on that one. It probably was just as dumb as when Biden said the Republicans would "put ya'll back in chains" before that group of blacks. Mr. President, let's hope for the best."

No, Romney should not cave in to give the enemy political fodder.

We recently received a letter to the editor from a Ron Lowe of Nevada City who cranks out anti-Romney letters en mass to newspapers.

He writes: "Fess up Mitt! What's so dire about your tax returns that you can't show them to all the American people? It seems that 'transparency' would be the middle name of anyone running to be the president of the United States."

Stop. Nothing "dire" about his returns. Romney just doesn't want you criticizing every line of his financial records. His focus should be about how to keep America from heading toward the financial cliff with Obama's foot on the accelerator.

Lowe continues: "Mitt keeps expounding on any number of things hoping the elephant in the living room will go away. Not even blaming Senate leader Harry Reid and President Obama, as the reason for your negligence in releasing your tax returns, is going to make that elephant go away."

Stop. The elephant in the room is our national debt. Aside from the fact that it would be better having a successful businessman like Romney in charge, glad you brought up Senator Reid who made outlandish comments that someone - he won't tell us who - told him that Romney didn't pay taxes for 10 years. It was a shameful act of political genius, trying to make Romney put it or shut up. Joe McCarthy used to hold up fake documents claiming so and so was a communist but he never revealed the documents. Reid is the new McCarthy of our era.

Lowe finishes with this: "One has to keep asking, if candidate Romney has nothing to hide, why does he not make his tax returns public?"

Easy answer, Ron. Because if your party has already accused Romney of being a tax cheating felon through McCarthy like tactics, what kind of sausage would you produce in your meat-grinding operations?

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at