Associated Press
FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns in Des Moines, Iowa. Democrats are growing increasingly confident that a two-pronged tax attack on Republican Mitt Romney _ one part policy, one part politics _ could help President Barack Obama lure pivotal support from middle class voters _ and win a second term. Led by Obama, the Democrats are going after Romney for seeking to protect tax cuts for the wealthy and refusing to release more information on the taxes he pays on his multi-million dollar personal fortune. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

As a conservative publication, please make a public plea for Mitt Romney to release five years of tax returns. We live in a day of increased transparency — but instead of transparency, we get excuses from the Romney campaign.

Many argue that his 14 percent net tax rate is acceptable because he was simply playing by the rules. I agree. But given that his policies would further reduce tax rates on the wealthy (superwealthy), we have the right to see how he would be impacted by his own policy. In claiming "don't blame me, I just played by the rules" while campaigning to perpetuate those questionable rules, Romney is both having his cake (dough?) and eating it too.

The heyday of capitalism and the stock market was the higher (not high) tax decade of the 1990s. The 2000s will be marred by excess and the bursting of the finance bubble. If we want to address today's massive deficits, let's stop pretending they began with Obama and look back to the source — the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.

In the Republican party's zealousness for "tax purity," why is there suddenly a rush to go well beyond where Ronald Reagan ever went? This isn't a pragmatic problem-solver's solution — this is either caving to special interests or shameless self-interest.

My vote, and many other "middle-of-the-roaders'" votes are at stake.

Phillip Blackburn