Reid's mystery Romney-tax-rumor source: Huntsman was just a red herring

Just in case you’re on the edge of your seat, captivated with the unfolding saga of Harry Reid’s baseless accusation that ‘Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years‘ (and if you aren’t captivated… I sympathize), here’s the latest. Last night, Allahpundit regaled us with the oh-so-stunning development that Harry Reid’s as-yet unnamed source is ostensibly a — gasp! — Republican. The plot thickens. The Daily Kos speculated that said source might be none other than a vengeful Jon Huntsman Sr., father of erstwhile presidential candidate, self-styled moderate, and supposed Romney-doppelganger Jon Huntsman. Sources close to the Huntsmans, however, flatly deny the conjecture, via BuzzFeed:

But one Huntsman family member, reached for comment from BuzzFeed, expressed amusement at the notion that the conservative family patriarch would turn so sharply against Romney.

“Honestly, we have no idea who Reid’s source is,” said the family member.

Chuck Warren, a Salt Lake Republican strategist who endorsed Romney in the primary and has fundraised for the younger Huntsman’s gubernatorial bid, dismissed the speculation as “ridiculous.”

“I mean, people who believe this are the same people who espouse a theory that Big Foot is making crop circles with his space ship,” said Warren, whose firm is Silver Bullet. “Besides the obvious fact that Mr. Huntsman is not Gov. Romney’s accountant… he is simply a more honorable man than that. He doesn’t work in the shadows, and because you donate $9,600 to someone, probably less than .0001% of what Harry Reid collected that cycle, doesn’t make them BFFs.”

Indeed, Huntsman Sr. endorsed Romney in 2008 and donated heavily to his campaign effort. While his own son’s efforts kept him from backing Romney this time around — causing some hostility between the two camps —many in Utah’s political class say the elder Huntsman remains a strong admirer of Romney’s, and would have little incentive to spread damaging rumors about the GOP nominee.

While I do think it’s true that the power of spite and the realities of corrupt and nefarious dealings should never be underestimated, Harry Reid’s original accusation itself just holds so little water. I have difficulty believing the high-minded Huntsmans would stoop to the silliness, and remain unconvinced that this entire affair is anything more than a dodgy and desperate bid for more political distraction.