Why Hasn't Romney Fired His Campaign Staff? Is It About the Tax Returns?

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 201
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Romney himself has said that he likes to fire people. So why hasn't he fired his campaign staff?

Granted, it doesn't look good for a candidate to clean house at this late stage in a campaign, although McCain's staff shuffle arguably won him the nomination in 2008. But at this point, the Romney campaign is in such disarray, he really has nothing to lose.

Moreover, Romney prides himself on his business acumen, but success in business is largely dependent on the competency of an executive's staff. So it's something of a mystery as to why Romney tolerates what is clearly employee ineptitude. After all, Bain was in the business of firing people. So why has Romney done nothing?

Is it because Romney has an outsized sense of loyalty? Is he happy with the advice? Is he too deluded to see that his campaign is crashing? Doubtful. Perhaps the answer lies in Mitt's tax returns.

One might logically speculate that Romney's decision to withhold his tax returns is based, at least partially, on the advice of his strategists. The issue continues to dog him and will certainly come up in the debates. It will not go away. Yet Romney does not budge.

The question boils down to this: Has Romney revealed the details of his tax returns to members of his campaign staff? It's hard to imagine that he has not, given the negative affect it's having on his campaign.

If Romney's tax returns show that he has paid no taxes for the last ten years, that would be bad, but not fatal, at least not at this woeful stage. Romney could argue that he simply took advantage of tax loopholes. He could enhance his present argument that he's entitled to keep as much of his income as he can because he earned it the hard way. A large sector of the voting public seems to buy into that.

A conspiracy theorist might suggest that something more sinister is hidden in those returns. Did he cheat? Did he lie? Or, did he once have an illegal foreign bank account, a crime punishable by severe fines and/or imprisonment?

Most importantly, do Romney's staffers know what the secret is or has Romney kept it to himself? Given that it's a critical issue in the campaign, it would be hard to believe that Romney has not confided the details to his top staffers.

If that is the case, and if the returns hold information that could potentially sink Romney's campaign in a nanosecond or make him ineligible to be president, it is not unreasonable to imagine a scenario in which an fired staffer, seeking revenge, not to mention fame and riches, might become a whistleblower.

In other words, perhaps Romney is simply stuck with them.