One of my favorite scenes from the late, lamented Arrested Development, is this one, in which Buster rants about his mother, saying things so offensive that he has to be bleeped for about 10-15 seconds, while his siblings stand slack-jawed in horror:
Of course, he didn't really say anything that vile, but the producers of A.D. knew that a bleep is always funnier/more shocking than any four-letter word can ever be. What word, or combination of words, could someone say that you haven't already heard a million times? "Bleep you" always sounds funny because you just think the person must have said something shockingly vulgar. But if you remove the bleep, oh yeah, it's just "fuck." You hear that a million times a day, it has no power to shock.
Mitt's tax returns are like a four-letter word. And his refusal to release them is like bleeping that word. Now the whole political world is wondering what could possibly be so shockingly horrible in those tax returns that he won't let anyone see them? But if he did release them, what could they possibly contain that would actually shock anybody?
He uses offshore accounts to dodge his tax obligations? We already know that.
He was running BAIN when he claims to have not been running BAIN? Duh!
Big donations to hateful groups like N.O.M.? That's to be expected. If anything, it might help him with the malevolent base of his party, while anyone concerned with equality and human decency was already not going to vote for him.
His tax rate is lower than yours? A lot lower? Doesn't everyone already know that? Even without exploiting all kinds of loopholes, Mitt's income is all "carried interest" and capital gains and whatnot and everyone knows that un-earned income is taxed at a much lower rate than the money you earn by the sweat of your brow.
If he ever does release his tax returns, everyone's going to be mighty disappointed. There can't possibly be anything in there as damning as what people are imagining.
Oh, and this ain't helping: