After much gnashing of teeth Nathan Deal released some of his tax records. How extensive these records are and what they reveal is a matter for debate but Deal made the move following prodding by Roy Barnes, who made disclosing personal finances a fair game campaign issue.
Apparently Deal released only part of his records, which tactically makes no sense. No doubt Barnes will still hammer away at the issue and revealing only part of your financial history is a little like hoping you only fail part of the urine screening.
Candidates should disclose their tax records and financial worth because voters need to know who is paying their rent.
The professional politician should release financial statements so everyone knows how much money was made while on the taxpayer payroll.
The so-called "businessman" candidate should release information so we know how much business was done with the guvmint — the same guvmint politicians often criticize for bloat and overspending. It’s never bloat and overspending if you are at the trough.
But financial records are only part of the information voters need. We live in a world where seemingly every detail tells a story. That means everything should be released.
Candidate they should be required to release the contents of their garbage. A lot can be learned from garbage.
Finding nine empty bourbon bottles in a candidate’s trash each week might give you pause. But having a booze hound in charge of making law is not necessarily a bad thing because they might pass out and do you no harm. But more important is determining who is paying for the bourbon.
Requiring candidates to release TV cable or movie rental bills could be significant.
Discovering one of those guys ballyhooing a squeaky clean image is renting 50 movies a month with titles like, "Babes in Leather" or "Confessions of a Galley Slave" could mean there are more than skeletons hiding in the closet.
Finding out someone spends a lot of time watching the Cartoon Network might giver a voter a concern, but maybe not as much as finding out all they watch is CBS News or Glenn Beck.
Determining what kind of hobby a candidate has can also be revealing.
If someone enjoys traveling, voters need to be wary of "fact finding missions" paid for by lobbyists. The only facts these junkets usually reveal is that the official enjoys the company of exotic dancers.
And if golf is the hobby, we need to know if they want to play like Tiger Woods or play like Tiger Woods.
All candidates should release their hat size. We would like to think if someone has a big head it is full of brains. Unfortunately, a lot of big heads are full of fat and it is not the hat size that proves this but the mouth.
Perhaps the most important detail a candidate should release is their shoe size. Voters have the right to know exactly how much of the foot they can expect to see in the mouth.
Come to think of it, that’s something we don't need a shoe size to determine.
Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at Rlatarski@aol.com.