Romney’s initial refusal to release his tax records had nothing to do with the fact that he makes a lot of money. It had very little to do with the fact that he only paid about 15% in taxes. It likely had nothing to do with wanting to hide shady dealings.
It had everything to do with the fact that he’s almost certainly a full tithe payer (and then some). I have no idea how much money he made last year, but if he can refer to +300K in speaking fees as “not much,” then I’d assume he made perhaps tens of millions or even much more. That likely means he paid 1M or more in tithing and other donations. And that number is likely to freak out both Evangelicals and not-religious swing voters. Very few people in this country donate either 10% of their income or huge amounts of money. It is one thing to say “I’m a Mormon” and another thing to give 1M+ (I’m just guessing on the number here, remember) to an organization that doesn’t release its financial data. A quick perusal of the released tax returns of other candidates shows that most give much less (in dollars and in percentages), and so Romney is going to look . . . weird. Very, very Mormony, and weird. And that isn’t going to play well.
I am disappointed that no news outlet (that I have seen) has picked up on this angle. But since I’ve read speculation that Romney might run for LDS Church President if he doesn’t win the nomination and assured statements that LDS children are all raised bilingual so they are ready to serve missions, I perhaps should not have expected you to pick up on this.
Let’s look at another story you missed: you’ve spilled lots of ink (and, um, pixels) writing about whether Romney will be a puppet for HQ in SLC and/or whether voters will perceive him as such, but I haven’t seen a single report on the fact that he is currently taking a position on immigration that differs with the Church’s position. Do you think that might possibly be a useful data point?
Left, right, center, nutter–I realize you are all struggling from a changing landscape that makes it difficult to do your job properly, but please. There’s a bunch of Mormons engaged with current events out there. Start with Nate Oman or Joanna Brooks and try to get up to speed before you run something.