Harold Michael Harvey, JD

Hold onto your hats boys and girls. Just when you thought it was safe to lay bets on the outcome of the presidential race, President Obama comes out throwing 100 mph fastballs towards Mitt Romney’s relationship with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Romney is not handling the heat very well. He’s made one swing and a miss after another.

The drum beat from within Romney’s Party is beginning to pick up the refrain that he should release his tax returns in hopes that it will silence criticism coming from Obama. Romney desperately wants a chance to mention to the public that the economy is still sputtering along at a slow pace.

The voters can not hear Romney over the drumroll calling for him to show the American public how he has made his money and, more importantly, how he has avoided paying taxes in recent years.

I’ve long held the belief that the Republican Convention in Tampa would turn out to be a brokered convention. I wrote an article published at Allvoices.com on March 16 suggesting as much. (See: http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/11722787-whos-on-first-the-gop-2012-run-for-the-white-house)

Back in March, I believed that the conservative element of the Republican Party was not satisfied with Romney and was hoping for a bottleneck at the convention so they could put forth anybody but Romney to challenge President Obama.

I wrote: “A meeting of evangelical ministers in January resulted in a push to promote the Catholic Santorum. Thus the amount of money which continues to flow to Gingrich and Santorum can only mean that conservatives are hoping for a brokered convention, where they can handpick anyone but Romney.”

Unfortunately for the conservatives, neither Santorum nor Gingrich was able to withstand the massive amount of money Romney and his surrogates threw into television advertisements. They wilted in early spring and conceded victory to Romney.

While the Republican bloodletting was taking place during the winter and spring months, campaign Obama was twittering, in the traditional sense of the word, with excitement. They welcomed the prospect of facing off with Romney. After all, Romney had been sullied by his business dealings at Bain Capital and by whatever is contained in the 23 years of tax returns he supplied John McCain during the vice presidential vetting process in 2008.

Now that President Obama is on the attack, Romney is finding it hard to paint the president as incompetent in his handling of the economy. The conversation has changed to demands for Romney to disclose at least a decade of tax returns.

Thus the winning political question isn't “are you better off now than four years ago?" It's "do you trust a venture capitalist who fails to disclose his tax returns to fix the problem?"

What we do know about Romney’s work experience is that he is very good at protecting the profits of the wealthy class. However, this skillset has nothing to do with improving the plight of the once proud American middle class.

Obama’s pre-emptive strike in four key states last week exposed how vulnerable Romney is when compared to the ratings Americans give to the president for likeability.

The president may not have gotten the job done, but he is perceived as a man of the people who has given his very best in seeking a solution.

Thus the GOP leadership is in a difficult place. Their rank-and-file has selected the wrong man to take on Obama. Their saving grace is that the convention has not yet taken place.

There is still time for them to do something to change the dynamics of the conversation if Romney sticks to his guns and refuses to release his tax returns.

They can shut the front door and vet the Romney candidacy at the convention. If Romney does not pass the smell test, therefore, the Bain Capital and tax return examination, they can open up the nomination process in a smoked-filled room like olden times and hand pick a dream team in Tampa to take on Obama-Biden at the polls in November.

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