Here's a $10,000 bet: Mitt Romney will stall and stall before opening his tax returns. His strategy is to open the returns after he is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention in August.
Earlier in my career, I negotiated large, complex contracts. The first rule of every negotiator is to have a strategy. One effective strategy is to put off addressing the most difficult issues until the end of all other discussions. Then, after all of the deal participants have spent untold hours on other details, are tired, and can envision a successful outcome, it's far easier to tackle the hardest issues. At this point, everyone wants to be done so badly that inevitably some compromise is reached.
Mitt Romney is now pursuing precisely this type of negotiating strategy with the Republican Party. Unfortunately, the Republican Party is either unable or unwilling to recognize what's happening.
There seems to be little doubt that Romney is hiding something. Indeed, even a critical piece of his 2010 returns has still not been opened to public view. The only questions is what Romney is hiding. Speculation has ranged from questionable practices related to his "magical IRA" with the seemingly impossible value between $21 million and $102 million, to the creation of a "blocker corporation" which would have lawfully enabled tax avoidance (effectively invalidating Romney's claim that his foreign holding had no impact on his U.S. taxes), to the possibility that he paid no federal taxes in 2009 because of large capital losses (a legal but politically deadly possibility).
I have to agree with this article, I don't think what he is hiding will land him in jail; but it isn't going to land him in the White House either.
For those that won't read the article, the most important bit I took from it was this:
In either case, Romney's lack of transparency is a betrayal to America and to the two-party system. The American system depends on trust. Our success as a nation requires that we trust our leaders, our institutions and one another. Romney's behavior is further destroying this trust and corroding our democracy.
It is a truism in American politics that Presidential candidates effectively give up all rights to their privacy. The American people have come to expect that otherwise personal records, including health and finances, will be available to them as they decide on who should be the leader of the free world. Romney's finances are one indicator of his character and how he regards his responsibilities to the nation. I strongly suspect that the vast majority of voters who supported Romney in the primaries assumed that he would demonstrate he was worthy of their trust with an appropriate opening of his records. Now, he is betraying this faith.
At this moment, we need leaders who are working to rebuild the vital trust we have lost over the past decade. Yes, it's the economy stupid. But, more jobs and any economic recovery will inevitably require compromises. In the absence of trust, these will never be achieved, either in the court of public opinion or in our system of governance.
In essence: Without trust, you can't lead. Leadership, I'm sure we can all agree that is lacking and that trust is core to leadership. This transcends party.