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Mitt Romney is so secretive that he’s beginning to make the Über-Clandestine Cheney look like The Bachelorette.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 25, 2012 by sheriffali

By Maureen Dowd, July 25, 2012


If I closed my eyes, and added a creepy monotone, I could have been listening to Dick Cheney.

The Republican speaker at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Reno, Nev., was slashing the president with jingoistic jingles: Obama is ashamed of America, an apologist sapping the greatness of a country that is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, a weakling marring the American Century by gutting the military and the economy. And, on top of that, the Obama White House doesn’t know how to keep stuff secret.

Prodded by conservatives to attack the president more aggressively, the ever malleable Mitt Romney obliged Tuesday at the V.F.W., spouting chest-thumping clichés about putting “resolve in our might.” That resolve evidently doesn’t include Mitt, who passed on Vietnam, or his five strapping sons, none of whom have volunteered for the volunteer military.

It was at the V.F.W. convention in 2002 when Cheney, who got five deferments from Vietnam, set the gold standard for mindless belligerence, pushing pre-emptive action in Iraq. “Simply stated,” he said, “there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.” The Arab street, he knew, would erupt in joy when we invaded.

In his speech, Romney demanded that any Obama administration leakers of classified information be found and punished because “the time for stonewalling is over,” “Americans are entitled to know” and Americans deserve “a full and prompt accounting of the facts.”

After the speech, Eric Edelman, a Romney campaign adviser, chimed in on ferreting out Obama leakers in a press release; unfortunately, BuzzFeed soon pointed out that Edelman “was implicated in the country’s last major national security leak investigation — the outing of C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame” when he served under former Cheney aide Scooter Libby in W.’s administration.

Romney is so secretive that he’s beginning to make the über-clandestine Cheney look like The Bachelorette.

The Boston Globe reported Tuesday that although Romney promised “complete transparency” when he stepped in to save the Salt Lake City Olympics, he became a black hole: “Some who worked with Romney describe a close-to-the-vest chief executive unwilling to share so much as a budget with a state board responsible for spending oversight. Archivists now say most key records about the Games’ internal workings were destroyed under the supervision of a staffer shortly after the flame was extinguished at Olympic Cauldron Park, after Romney had returned to Massachusetts.” (Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just burn the records in the flame?)

The public still can’t see the records, stored at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott library, named for the same man as Willard Mitt Romney.

Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, said that Mitt resigned from the Olympics job in early 2002 to run for governor of Massachusetts and “was not involved in the decision-making regarding the final disposition of records.”

Who was responsible for the final disposition? A former colleague at Bain Capital, Fraser Bullock, who succeeded Romney in the Olympic post. Ah, the old Bain handoff.

Romney spent $100,000 in state funds to replace office computers at the end of his term as governor and on the cusp of his 2008 presidential race, “as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret,” reported Mark Hosenball of Reuters. Eleven Romney aides “bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for themselves,” Hosenball wrote. “Also before he left office, the governor’s staff had e-mails and other electronic communications by Romney’s administration wiped from the state servers, state officials say. Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney’s four-year tenure as governor.”

It seems antithetical to Mormonism, since the Mormon Church loves to save documents, keeping 35 billion images of genealogical information and records on church history in the Granite Mountain Records Vault near Salt Lake City.

Doesn’t Mitt have space in that split-level, four-car garage elevator in La Jolla for a little deep-storage?

As Maggie Haberman observed in Politico, Romney has made a calculated decision to hide three major elements of his background: his Mormonism, his record at Bain and his time as governor. This creates, she wrote, “a kind of self-imposed paralysis on biographical messaging that some observers, including Republicans, say may wound his campaign in an era in which voters want to achieve a kind of unprecedented intimacy with their candidates.”

Former rival Newt Gingrich told Politico Tuesday that Romney needs to relax and let people see who he is, noting that, except for family, “there’s a place where Mitt clearly doesn’t let people get.”

So far, Mitt’s casting a shadowy silhouette, hiding his fortune in foreign tax havens, hiding tax returns, destroying and hiding records as head of the Olympics and as governor, hiding a specific sense of where he would take the country.

Americans don’t want to play hide-and-seek with their presidential candidates. Romney should listen to himself: The time for stonewalling is over.