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.
Free enterprise is the way America works. We need to apply that to healthcare.
Mitt Romney, apparently forgetting that the United States is essentially one gigantic insurance company with a profoundly expensive standing military, not exactly a projection of free enterprise.
Most people want the government to subsidize healthcare. If Romney is honest-to-god interested in eliminating the government spending that distorts the free enterprise for healthcare, he should explain to voters what, exactly, that would mean. (A teaser: no more Medicare.) Obviously, don’t hold your breath for that kind of honesty.
In Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, the childlike and excitable protagonist Prince Myshkin is told by his sweetheart that the worst thing he could do at an upcoming party is to break an expensive Chinese vase. Myshkin becomes consumed by the thought that he must not break it, and makes a point of sitting as far away from the vase as possible. But “an ineradicable conviction had taken possession of his mind that, however he might try to avoid this vase, he must certainly break it.” And of course, he does—upsetting the vase near the end of the party with one of his wild gestures.