Here in Iowa we have the race for Governor going on. The incumbent, Kim Reynolds (R), is running against challenger Fred Hubbell (D). Of course, the campaign quickly degenerated into negative hit-piece ads, as they all do. One campaign issue of particular interest to me, and one that exhibits a particular level of hypocrisy, is a current television ad saying that Hubbell refuses to release his tax returns. He actually seems to have released a very limited portion for one year only, as pointed out in the Quad City Times editorial: What’s Fred Hubbell hiding?, while Reynolds has released 10 year’s worth of tax returns.
Personally, I see the whole tax return thing as being way overplayed, and really not that important to begin with. I feel that even public figures should have some reasonable expectation of personal privacy. But, for right or for wrong, that’s not how the game is played, and each side is quick to point out the egregious wrongdoing if they think it will gain them some votes, so we’re stuck with it and have to deal with it.
Now, also keep in mind that, as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who paid for or “is responsible” for an ad. “I’m so-and-so and I approve this message”, means virtually nothing to me. An ad for Reynolds is in Reynolds’ name and thus is ultimately hers to answer for. Same with Hubbell, or anyone else.
Is the accusation true? It seems so. So what’s the problem?
The problem is that the criticism is coming from the Republican side. Let’s not forget that our illustrious president, Donald Trump, clearly implied that he would eventually release his tax returns in the 2016 presidential campaign, then promptly after the election we were blown off by Kellyanne Conway when she said, “The White House response is that he’s not going to release his tax returns.”, with what would set the stage for the administration’s habit of backtracking and specious arguments as a seeming matter of unofficial internal policy.
Where does any Republican anywhere come off complaining about unreleased tax returns after that recent debacle and outright deception? Republicans everywhere forfeited that right after Conway’s statement. Unfortunately, there are two things going on here. One, blatant and unrepentant hypocrisy (surprise!), and two, short memories of voters… which enables number one.