With so much anger over the release (and nonrelease) of sensitive documents in the presidential campaign, it’s obvious that we need a new day in America.
A National Dump Yer Data Day.
That’s the day when every politician who even thinks about spending our tax dollars will be required to dump whatever data we voters want, so that we can touch it and examine it, rather than merely hear about it or watch politicians fight over the release of it on those Sunday morning talk shows.
And not only tax returns, but whatever strikes our fancy, including college transcripts, obscure board meeting minutes, even what movies the politicians may have rented.
For example, wouldn’t you like to know how many times Sen. Harry “Clean Face” Reid, of Nevada, saw “The Godfather: Part II”? I sure would. I’d like to know his favorite part. Probably that fictional senator talking about how beautiful Nevada was, a clean country, with decent people. (You may recall that Reid got his “Clean Face” nickname from a Kansas City mobster’s comment on FBI tape – “I gotta Clean Face in my pocket” – which Reid interpreted as a testament that he was clean, not corrupt.)
Lately, Reid has been the lead attack pooch for President Barack Obama, demanding that Republican Mitt Romney release his tax returns. Clean Face says some guy told him – he wouldn’t say which guy, just a guy – that Romney didn’t pay any federal income tax for years, a charge Romney denies.
But it turns out that multimillionaire Reid and his multimillionaire Democratic partner, House Minority Leader Nancy “Hard Face” Pelosi, won’t release their tax returns either.
It’s hypocritical, certainly, for Clean Face and Hard Face to demand from others what they won’t do themselves. In the meantime, Romney stubbornly refuses to release his tax returns, perhaps because they’ll make him look like some rich guy with offshore bank accounts who wants to be president.
So the Republicans are calling Reid a liar and a scoundrel, and the Democrats are firing back, and it’s not even Labor Day.
Which is why we need National Dump Yer Data Day.
It’s thoughtful of the politicians to shield us from being overwhelmed by too much information. But the time has come. We need them to stop the selective release of information, and stop the hypocrisy, and dump all of it, and all at once, out in the open.
And to prove that I’m serious, I’m inviting all of them over to my house, so the politicians can dump their data in my backyard.
I’ll roast a pig, because what goes together like roast pork and politics? The elected officials can smell the meat a-cookin’ and we’ll sit on my deck and drink beer. My wife just said it was OK.
Don’t worry, Mr. President. Even though the deck will be full of politicians finally releasing information, the deck is safe.
Why? Because I didn’t really build that (deck). Some crazy Serbian and Croatian guys actually built it. All I did was pay for it with the money the government allowed me to keep for myself.
At this pig roast, Romney will be expected to release his tax returns, along with any photographs he took with Illinois Republicans, so we can see which ones, if any, have been indicted or implicated in the scandals with Democrat Rod Blagojevich.
But what I’d really like him to release is the number of varmints he claims to have killed. When he was campaigning in 2007, he said he was a hunter, but he wasn’t a big-game hunter.
“I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will,” said Romney.
Varmints, if I will?
Actually, I’d rather not.
But I would like to know how many varmints Romney thinks he’s dispatched to the great beyond. And I’d like to hear him say it right there on my deck, as he crumples his can of beer.
Since Obama also would be on the deck — drinking beer, telling the guys about how much he loved “Cominskey Field” – he’d be expected to release his own shielded information. Such as all those government emails his administration has put in the lockbox from Operation Fast and Furious.
And what about the Freedom of Information request by the Chicago Tribune that the Obama administration rejected years ago? It was for documents from the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which made bad loans and was at the center of the real estate collapse.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, served on the Freddie Mac board. Emanuel made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint on the board, but the Obama administration wasn’t interested in sharing the details.
I vaguely remember the president promising he’d run the most open administration in history. Doesn’t that include being open about the guys from Chicago?
And how about Obama’s college transcripts and other documents from Columbia University that the president refuses to release? We contacted Columbia on Tuesday. School officials said that they could not release a thing.
I wonder if he got lousy grades in economics back then, too.John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Email him at email@example.com.