Friday, January 20, 2012

Romney likes his privacy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a private guy. Even with the thousands of hands he has shaken and the smiles he has tried to smile, he never looks all that relaxed. Romney likes his privacy. He clearly does not like pushy reporters bugging him about making his tax returns public.

One assumes that—no surprises here—we will find out that he is rich, very rich. As a private businessman, he has not had to put up with every friend, acquaintance and total stranger tiptoeing through the details of his financial affairs, and he seems unsure about that happening now.

Ordinary people might not like having to put up with this kind of exposure either, but then they are not running for president.

When he was CEO at Bain Capital, if Romney did not wish to share what he was up to, he did not have to. The press would probably not have asked about personal matters. Anyone who did would simply have been shunned as impolite, or banned.

In business, keeping financial details out of the hands of competitors makes sense. Bain Capital, when planning a corporate raid, in all likelihood did not want other potential corporate raiders to steal their deals. That's how business works, and it's the world in which Romney has spent most of his life.

All of that is fine in the private arena.

But Romney seems to want to be in the public arena yet continue his private ways. As president, his job would be to open doors for all Americans to see what's going on. He needs to squarely address his business activities, how his income is taxed and, most of all, if he thinks his reportedly low tax rate is fair.

If he can't live with that, he'd better find something else to do.

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