Liberalism, it turns out, has two bedrock principles -- breathless hypocrisy and the heady notion that the ends justify the means, even if they require slander and innuendo.
To understand that, one need only consider Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's recent recklessness. You have to wonder why a guy with such a murky past is spending so much time -- even shamelessly on the Senate floor, for crying out loud -- blathering about Mitt Romney's taxes, as if they are responsible for the mess President Barack Obama has dragged us into.
Reid claims, without a whit of evidence, that Romney has paid no federal income taxes for the past decade. The senator assures us he knows this because a Bain Capital investor told him so. Bain Capital is a private equity investment firm Romney co-founded.
Reid, as popular as a sore toe in Nevada but re-elected in 2010 because his tea party-backed opponent was a fruit loop, refuses to ID the investor and in the same breath says he cannot be sure the accusations he is spreading are true.
Can you smell the stink of desperation?
For argument's sake, suppose Reid is right, that Romney paid no federal incomes taxes. So what? That is not illegal. Ask Obama's buddy at General Electric, who not only does not pay taxes, he gets money back.
All the uproar involving Reid is about frantic Democrats scrambling to deflect attention from rising jobless claims and a twitchy Fed, which says the economy has "decelerated somewhat" and is losing momentum. Profits at General Motors, Obama's multibillion-dollar bailout baby, plunged 41 percent in the second quarter. All those giveaways to the "green" industry and others are coming home to roost too. Then, there is that pesky $16 trillion debt.
None of that is good for Obama, who finds himself at the helm of a nation rudderless in an economic Sargasso Sea. The president, whose corrupt administration boasts more high-level officials with tax problems than any other in this nation's history, would have his friends say just about anything to undo Romney's laser focus on the economy, jobs and the middle class. So far, it has not worked.
The former Massachusetts governor, a rich guy in case anybody missed it, has released his 2010 tax return but refuses earlier returns. His 2011 return will be released soon. Sen. John McCain released returns for two years when he ran for president, Romney says, and that is enough.
Now, Reid is saying others -- again, no names -- have told him Romney paid no taxes.
"I have had a number of people tell me that," Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I don't think the burden should be on me. The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn't he release his tax returns?"
Using Reid's logic, we could accuse him of being a degenerate child-beater and puppy molester. Prove you're not, pal.
For his part, Romney says none of Reid's twattle is true. There certainly is no evidence to the contrary.
Can you imagine the howls if Romney accused Reid, et al., of being tax shirkers and offered no evidence? Oh, yes, the GOP hopeful could say, several people told me about their tax dodges. No, I'm not giving out names. You'll have to trust me. Really. Trust me.
The outrage would be explosive and immediate. Yet Reid and Obama are able publicly -- even on the floor of one of our most hallowed institutions -- to cheap-shot Romney and what happens? Nothing beyond a passing mention and so-called "analysts" wondering how long Romney can hold out before coughing up returns back to when he was just wealthy-ish.
At what point did slander and innuendo become election tools? Where is the righteous condemnation from the press, the same press, mind you, that has yet to sort out the details of Obama's life; the same press that said on the night of his election, "Gee, we don't know much about this guy, do we?"
All of this says Obama and his pals know Romney is right; that it is the economy, stupid; that Obama's narcissistic, Chicago thug presidency and the ensuing mess will be his one-way ticket out of the White House. To avoid that, they will do or say anything, even claiming a halo while doing the devil's work.
Or whatever it takes.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.