Tricky Mitt

As this election comes to a close, the ole Archivist reflected on some of the controversies of the challenger, Willard Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney notably has refused to make two years of his tax returns public, a rare move for a presidential nominee. He has also refused to elaborate on details of his fiscal plan, namely how 20 percent tax cuts across the board would generate revenue to shore up America’s deepening debts. Now, to be fair, Romney is not the first president to be secretive or refuse to give detailed explanations of policy, nor will he be the last. But in reflecting on these controversies, I was reminded of another politician in history of the same stripe, Richard Nixon.

Most American’s don’t know this, but Nixon was, in a way, the Al Gore of the 1960s, and not in the inconvenient truth kind of way. He was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice president in the 1950s. He lost the 1960 election for president to a young World War Two veteran from Massachusetts, Jack Kennedy. He then went back home to California, and lost the election for governor in 1962. In 1968, Nixon successfully campaigned for president, after winning the Republican Presidential Primary over one George Romney (Mitt’s father). He was helped by the failed Democratic stewardship over Vietnam, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, and the growing radicalism of the Democratic Party.
Nixon promised in the campaign to end the war without losing. Reporters pressed him for details, and Nixon refused, conveniently citing concerns of giving away details to the enemy. This became known as Nixon’s secret plan for Vietnam. The war continued for 5 more years until 1973. Withdrawals began in that year, but before it ended, Nixon left office after it was discovered that he was spying on the opposition and impeachment was impending. Tricky Dick became a common nickname for Nixon after his embarrassing resignation.
Now I’m not saying Romney is like Nixon. But I am saying his secrets and vague policies incite the comparison. Two years of his tax returns are missing from the public eye, which just leads to speculation on what kind of cookie jar his fingers were in. Moreover, that fact that numerous nonpartisan groups have demonstrated his tax plan is too vague to even evaluate because it sorely lacks details is concerning. As if the irony was not strong enough, Romney has not demonstrated any detailed plan regarding the War in Afghanistan. Nor has he publicly dealt with the fraud in his own party, which has included scams in Virginia and Florida, and repressive voter ID laws in many states, most notably Pennsylvania. It is still unclear whether these issues are affecting voters in a real way. But here is one voter who will not cast a ballot for someone who can’t produce detailed and consistent plans for helping to get this country back on track.

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Dillon is a born-and-raised Chico native now living in Athens, GA. In addition to writing for the Synthesis, Dillon is researching and writing his dissertation at the University of Georgia. He spends his extra time playing and obsessing over tennis, second-guessing his career choice, thinking about history, and dreaming about hard shell chicken tacos from El Patron.