So Mitt Romney was booed at the NAACP. A lot of people on the left are arguing that he deliberately drew the scorn of the NAACP to shore up support from the more racist part of his base. Initially, I was inclined to disagree. Isn’t speaking to a group you know is likely to oppose you the principled thing to do?
Except … when has Romney every done the principled thing? Romney is the sort of guy who likes every kind of music—particularly the kind you like. It is a bit weird that the only people Romney seems inclined to voluntarily alienate are the NAACP. And the alienation was definitely voluntary.
If you’re speaking to the NAACP—you’ve got to know that Obama is personally popular. You could make a pitch that says you think Obama just hasn’t gotten the job done and it’s time to give somebody else a chance. That makes sense. But Romney threw out the term “Obamacare” when he could have used any of a dozen alternatives that didn’t directly and deliberately tie Obama to the thing he was trying to disparage. If he was trying to make friends, that was a pretty serious blunder.
Of course, maybe Romney just wanted to avoid the accusation that he had refused to speak to the NAACP. Maybe he knew he wouldn’t win anybody over but wanted to make a gesture at trying.
Except, then there was this:
By the way, I had the privilege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don’t give different speeches to different audiences alright. I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy, I didn’t get the same response. That’s ok, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine. But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy-more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.
I really don’t want to jump to the convenient conclusion that Romney’s campaign is now doing open race-baiting. But … the only part of the Affordable Care Act that Romney has really criticized (recently) is the mandate. When that suddenly switches into “more free stuff from the government” when it’s specificall in the context of the NAACP, I have trouble giving Romney the benefit of the doubt. This looks really bad to me.
If you disagree, please let me know. I’d be happy to post thoughts in either direction. We can call it an open thread or something.
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- lafaux said: Yes he did and now he can say that African Americans are voting for President Obama so that they can get free stuff. He’s not aware that the people in that audience was made up of doctors, lawyers and businessmen.
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- memoriesofourbetters said: ever*
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- fatchance said: I’m convinced the elicited boos were his objective - a way to signal to the racist element of the right that he won’t pander to minorities, while creating the illusion of reaching out. Cunning, and brilliantly Machiavellian. Makes my stomach turn.
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- doublejack said: This looks pretty open-and-shut to me – he was bating them with the Obamacare line. I know I’m biased, so I try extra hard to be objective… and I’m convinced this was a cynical plan salvage something from an otherwise no-win situation.
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