Harry Reid's Master Plan

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

Republicans are fuming at Reid who claims that a "source"  told him Mitt Romney didn't pay taxes for a decade:

"He didn't pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that's true? Well, I'm not certain. But obviously he can't release those tax returns. How would it look?" Reid asked.

Steve Kornacki doesn't see Reid pulling back any time soon:
The question is whether Reid really does have any inside information. It seems doubtful, mainly because if Reid had anything more than hearsay, we'd almost certainly know about it by now. 

A more likely scenario is that Reid has made a conscious decision to take one for the team - to invite all of the scorn and ridicule that's been heaped on him this week knowing that it will also achieve the Democrats' goal of keeping the story alive. Reid himself doesn't look very good in all of this, but maybe he doesn't care. Since winning a reelection race in 2010 that he had no business winning, he's essentially been playing with House money. He seems unlikely to run again in 2016, when he'll be 77 years old, and he doesn't need broad public popularity to do his job as majority leader. But that job does come with a national platform, which makes him the perfect guy to do his party's dirty work.

Campaigns are filled with unfair attacks, distortions and various stretches of the truth. I guess we have to accept some of that. Still, it's important to point out that Reid is rumor-mongering, and perhaps, lying. It's perfectly acceptable to pressure Mitt Romney to release his tax returns. It's considerably less acceptable to do so through innuendo and blind attribution.

I would like to say that reporters really should press Reid on his alleged source, and question him aggressively. Except those reporters often use the same tactics.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/harry-reids-master-plan/260745/