Here's CNBC's Maria Bartiromo with a beatdown of the media over its fixation with Mitt Romney's personal tax returns -- one, incidentally, that the Obama campaign delights in.
"As we parse through the details of Romney's tax returns and add up what he would have paid if he bothered to deduct the $4 million he gave away to charity, let's do the same on some of the issues that actually impact the daily lives of Americans.
We've talked about the implications of going over the fiscal cliff when the Bush year tax cuts would expire, triggering massive tax increases and federal spending programs that are set to be severely curtailed.... we remain waiting for real movement on economic growth. And much of what I've just laid out is prompting many economists today to predict another recession in 2013. So we move from growth to contraction next year.
Do you think Americans will then care about Mitt Romney's or any politician's tax returns. No, most will not even remember this moment. So I'm sure this weekend journalists across the networks will dig into Romney's tax returns while discussing his body language and all the things that seem to matter forty-some days before an election but really are beyond trivial.
We must come back to the facts and the issues that matter to the country. No matter how much the media pushes through these petty issues surrounding any candidate, if it doesn't improve the needle on improving people's life it will likely not be an issue, at all, in the ballot booth come November."
She's dead-on, except for her prediction that it won't matter on November 6. It will, indeed, likely matter in the ballot booth (especially in Ohio), but only because of the Obama campaign and much of the media's relentless push over the tax return story.
Does anyone seriously think that Romney's tax returns would have any bearing on the relative rise or fall of the economy during his potential first term?
The stuff of Edward Gibbon, his tax returns are not.