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Citing an anonymous source, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently added the claim that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid his taxes for ten years to the Senate record. A flurry of appalled commentary about Reid’s so-called ethical lapse soon crowed out the real question: What was he trying to achieve?

Nation writer Ari Berman’s answer? “I think Harry Reid is playing Jedi mind tricks with Mitt Romney,” Berman said to comedian Lizz Winstead and Republican strategist Susan Del Percio on The Ed Show last night. Every day that Romney’s tax returns are in the news is a day of poor press for the GOP candidate. Plus, it keeps Romney’s incredibly extreme tax plan in the news as well: He wants to cut taxes for the ultra-wealthy, and pay for the difference by cutting benefits from the bottom. What he’s hiding in his tax returns is only the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg for the Romney campaign.

—Zoë Schlanger