Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum: the phony conservatives

Perhaps Mitt Romney should run for president of the Cayman Islands. If Romney does have tax-avoiding accounts in the Caymans, will Ron Paul make ridiculous excuses for Romney's low tax rates, as he did for Romney's big layoffs? This matter suggests again why Mitt Romney will not be elected president and why Ron Paul needs to decide whether he is a legitimate libertarian, or merely an apologist for the worst practices of legal abuses from the most cynical and greedy of the 1 percent.

On Jan. 4 I wrote in my column that Romney's secret tax returns must be disclosed, that there are reasons he is keeping them secret, and that those reasons, when disclosed, will mean bad news for the Romney campaign.

Romney might be nominated, but one reason I have long advised ignoring everyone who says that Romney has the nomination locked up is this: Mitt Romney embodies many of the worst forms of elitism and distortions of capitalism that Americans dislike. The more voters know this, the worse he will do.

Romney is almost the mathematically perfect wrong candidate in an age of public backlash against special interests, crony capitalism, mass layoffs and two Americas where most of us pay far higher tax rates than Mitt Romney and others like him.

Now Brian Ross of ABC News reports that Romney has made substantial money through millions of dollars from multiple offshore accounts based in the Cayman Islands, a legendary tax haven for those in the 1 percent who like Romney spend vast sums of money hiring lawyers and accountants to help them legally avoid paying taxes.

Let’s await more facts before rendering a verdict on Romney's Cayman Islands interests, but as I wrote in my Romney tax return column, this is one more reason his returns must be publicly disclosed. When he does, the impact could be devastating.

As for Ron Paul, he should prove his bona fides by challenging Romney about his legal tax avoidance in the debates. Otherwise Paul is no more legit than Rick Perry, who calls himself conservative after a career of crony capitalism, or Newt Gingrich, who calls himself conservative while he takes big dough from Freddie Mac and then lies about it, saying he was hired as a historian, or Rick Santorum, who calls himself conservative while being a virtual bagman for special interests pushing their earmarks and then their donations.

These are not conservatives, these are phonies calling themselves conservative.

Ron Paul is not a true libertarian. He is an apologist and enabler for the very abuses he condemns because many of his policies allow them, encourage them and reward them. True libertarians value personal responsibility. They do not merely make apologies for bad acts. This is not true libertarianism for the same reasons that Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are not true conservatives.

For those Republicans who want to run on a platform of proudly supporting the most super-wealthy of the 1 percent who spend their fortunes hiring advisers to avoid paying taxes that average Americans pay: This is not capitalism. It is not libertarianism. It is not patriotism. It is not the way to win elections in America. Romney and Republicans will pay the price in November.