Tom Edsall

Mitt Romney has gotten away with refusing to give up more than two years of tax returns, and much other standard disclosure. Or has he?

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Say what you will about George W. Bush, but he never played the race card. Can we say that about Romney?

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A few years ago, Tom Edsall wrote a great Diarist for TNR arguing, based on his years of playing poker in Washington, that Republicans are better players than Democrats: Republicans are much less risk-averse than Democrats, and taking risks is crucial to poker. Howard Baker noted that Ronald Reagan's 1981 tax cut was a "riverboat gamble." The GOP has consistently demonstrated a willingness to risk high deficits, especially to cut taxes that fall on their biggest donors. The party advocating preemptive war is not likely to be cowed by a big bet.

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Tom Edsall helpfully breaks down the Geithner plan into terms he knows very well: Normally, a poker player has to pay full value for every chip, $1 for a $1 chip, $100 for a $100 chip, and so forth. In the Geithner game, the rules are different. A player acquiring $84 worth of "chips" only puts up $6.

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