In an attempt to make a red herring into a white whale, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made what appear to be baseless accusations on the authority of an anonymous source that Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney hasn’t paid his taxes in 10 years. He claims to have spoken to a Bain Capital investor regarding the claim, but has no substantiating evidence or even the name of the source. Mitt Romney’s top adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, responded, alluding to a quote levied against McCarthy’s abuses in the 1950s, “Have you no decency, sir?”
He further explained, “I don’t think there is anything behind it. It hasn’t produced any evidence. I’m telling you speaking on behalf of the governor that those charges are untrue, they are baseless and there is nothing to back them up.”
Comedian reporter John Stewart, who would probably be all too delighted if Reid’s comments had any substantiation, nevertheless mocked Reid as being “really really terrible,” not only for effectively making up false accusations against Romney in order to bait him to reveal private information, but for then claiming that George Romney, Mitt’s late father, must be “so embarrassed” of his son. Stewart responds:
“As someone who has truly and thoroughly disappointed his still-living father on many occasions, let me just say, that is a bullshit shot.” He referenced the Huffington Post which originally cited Reid’s allegations as “The Sideboob Gazette” alluding to their news section that features quasi-boob shots of celebrities, and finished his segment off with a consultation of a Ouija board to affirm that papa Romney was in fact proud.
Reid, nevertheless, stood his ground on his groundless accusation, claiming that not only did one anonymous source tell him that, but many anonymous and unreachable sources told him the same. “I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination. I have had a number of people tell me that. The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes.” This last bit of logic, apparently, could be used against an annoying neighbor: “You beat your wife! The burden of proof on you is to prove you do not.” But of course, the burden of proof is always on the one who is making an assertion, not on the one who is denying it. Nevertheless, Reid has stubbornly stuck to his conviction that the accused must prove his innocence, even if it is a groundless accusation.