With all of the talk about tax returns dominating the national news, Massachusetts Senate candidate  Elizabeth Warren undoubtedly figured she could make some hay against Scott Brown on the topic, and get a little national media attention in the process.  Why she thought that Brown, an attorney who has spent 30 years in the National Guard and had just been promoted to the rank of colonel, was wealthy enough to make income-tax returns a big issue is itself a mystery than may never be unraveled.

But unraveled is a great way to describe her attack — after the media pointed out that Brown has already disclosed more years of income-tax returns than Warren has:

Elizabeth Warren demanded Monday that Senator Scott Brown release more of his tax returns. The only problem was that Brown, her Republican rival, had already released six years of tax returns while Warren has refused to release more than four years of her filings.

Now that Brown has been established as the more transparent candidate in the race, will Warren match Brown?  Nope:

Asked to reconcile that apparent conflict, Warren backed off her demand, saying today that six years was enough. She did not, however, offer to release any more of her IRS filings.

Warren earlier tried to make the case that Brown should release twenty years of tax returns, the length of time that Brown has held public office in Massachusetts.  Did she hold herself to that standard?  If I’m asking the question …

“I think Scott Brown should release his tax returns for all the years he’s been in public service,” Warren said. “He’s been in public service for 20 years, then he should have 20 years of tax returns.” …

And even under that standard, Warren has limited her definition for her own career in public service. …

But she has not included her work from 1995 to 1997 as adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, or her 2006 appointment to the FDIC Advisory Committee on Economic Inclusion.

Did Warren even bother to check on Brown’s disclosure before stepping onto this political banana peel?  Apparently not.  If Warren is this incompetent at campaigning, research, and analysis, it’s a good thing that Republicans blocked her path to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Instead of riding high on a national wave of tax-return buzz, Warren has to hope no one notices her hypocrisy and incompetence.