Every white town counts
[NOTE: We have a caption contest going with a photo taken during this event. Check out the photo and enter the contest HERE. Your chance to win a faaa-aaabulous prize!]
Mitt Romney finished up his recent 5-day bus tour in Michigan this week with stops in Frankenmuth, Dewitt and Holland. For those of you who aren’t from Michigan, you’re forgiven if you’ve never heard of those places.
Romney was met at the Holland State Park by a monstrous crowd of about 400 mostly white, mostly male supporters. He was also met by a significant number of protesters, including MoveOn.org’s “No Millionaire Left Behind RomneyMobile”.
Before we get into the Holland event, check out MoveOn’s recap of their tour so far. It’s hilarious:
Here are MoveOn’s Mr. and Mrs. One-Percent themselves in Holland:
Here’s their dog (should be named Shame-Us), perched atop their Caddy as a plane above flies a banner reading “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt? Really, Mitt?”
The road on the way in was lined with protesters:
Inside the park, pro-Obama folks made their presence known:
The contrast between a Romney visit to the Midwest and an Obama visit to the Midwest could not be more striking.
Here is what a 1,500+ crowd looks like, waiting for President Obama to arrive in Cleveland, Ohio last week:
Old. Young. Black. White. Asian. Hispanic. Men. Women.
Here’s Romney’s what Romney’s crowd looks like:
White and mostly men. Period.
My wife Anne, who took these photos, had these observations of the event:
The Romney rally in Holland, Michigan was very different than the Obama rally I attended last week in Cleveland, OH. Parking was close and easy. There were no lines of people entering the event. People were not wearing t-shirts or hats in support of Romney. I never saw a single person enter the event with a sign and I only saw one Romney bumper sticker. There were no groups of folks gathering in the parking lot to go into the event together. In fact, the only groups I saw gathering in the parking lot were there to go to the beach or there to protest. I imagine a hot weekended summer day might be just as busy at Holland State Park.
In contrast, the Obama event in Cleveland was a bit hectic. I parked three blocks away because the media lot was full. There was a line of people two blocks long waiting to enter the event. People were gathering in groups and walking to the event together. There were signs and Obama T-shirts and hats. People were excited to be there and to hear Obama talk. The energy at the Obama rally was electric and infectious.
The only protest I saw at the Obama rally was a large Romney campaign bus parked about two blocks from the event
It was parked under a billboard and a handful of men stood right outside the door of the bus holding Romney signs. The only person I saw approach them was a media person with a cameraman.
The protesters at the Romney rally were in pockets leading up to the parking lot in front of the event. There were union protesters and several other groups along the way. There were MoveOn.org people there with a “Romney Mobile” and a couple dressed like the 1% interviewing folks in the parking lot. After I left the rally, I saw a group of protesters walking through the parking lot with signs and costumes chanting, “This is what Democracy looks like!” When I talked to them, I found out that this particular group was from Detroit.
The most obvious observation (and one that is not a shock): There wasn’t a single person of color in the crowd at the Romney event. It was mostly white men. Some women, but basically a crowd of a few hundred white men.
The parking lot looked a lot more American than the event. There groups of Latino families were headed to the beach and giving “thumbs up” to the diverse group of folks carrying pro-Obama signs.
The Romney speech was essentially one slam on Obama after another. The crowed loved it. The buttons they were selling in the lot were mostly anti-Obama.
This election comes down to the question “Are you for Obama or are you against him?” Romney is just the robot, spewing anti-Obama one-liners, fueling the crowds in carefully selected conservative areas with lots of white male supporters. I saw no evidence at all of the Romney campaign reaching out to women and minorities. I don’t know how Romney can look into the crowds that gather to hear him speak and feel like he is talking to America. No amount of little American flags in the hands of his rally attendees will make it more American. If he had stepped into the parking lot for just a minute, he would have seen the real America.
A United States presidential candidate who is not reaching out to women (52% of our population) or to minorities (29%) doesn’t seem right. He wants to represent this country, but he doesn’t. It’s either a power grab or, even worse, he sees those that he is not reaching out to as people who need to be controlled or managed. If he felt our opinions and ideas mattered or believed that we are equal parts of this country, why is he not reaching out to us? It’s insulting and it worries me.
In fact, there are a substantial number of minorities in Holland, Michigan. It’s 22.7% Hispanic and 3.6% African Americans. But none of them were at Mitt Romney’s rally. They were nearby, though. Since the event was held in one of Michigan’s glorious (and oh-so-socialist) state parks, there were people of color there to swim and picnic.
They were not there to support Mitt Romney.
Here are some local Hispanic guys giving thumbs-up to some pro-Obama protesters:
This family was there for a swim but happily took some “Romney for President of the 1%” signs to wave:
Romney is touting this tour as campaigning in places that Barack Obama won in 2008. However, the towns he visits are clearly not liberal strongholds by any far stretch of the imagination. If that were the case, he had a wide variety of towns in Michigan where he could have campaigned. He chose not to, going instead to safe, white, conservative towns.
It’s worth noting that Romney scrupulously avoided places that have felt the devastating impact of Romney’s Bain Capital forays that put so many people out of work and put so many dollars into Romney’s bank accounts, both here and in his Cayman Islands tax shelters to avoid paying taxes.
By the way, if you think that Mitt and Ann Romney were slumming it on the bus every night, think again. At the end of each day, they boarded a jet and flew to the next stop and stayed in a nice, comfy hotel.
Mitt Romney is counting on his money to buy this election. Because he knows that he somehow, some way, has to convince people who will never in their lifetimes be millionaires or even make in that lifetime what Mitt Romney makes in one year that he understands them, understands their situation and will govern on their behalf.
A snow job of that magnitude is a very tall order.
So he’s got to have the optics to put into his ads. That is what this tour has been all about: providing optics for Mitt Romney that make him seem like he and his wife are simple folk who identify with common people.
A couple with an elevator for their cars.
A couple that declared a $77,000 loss on their horse on their 2010 taxes.
A couple that has multiple Cadillacs, makes millions each year and yet still call themselves “unemployed”.
It’s a tall order to make yourself seem common when you are so decidedly uncommon.
Mitt Romney will never understand what it’s like to be poor and struggling in this country. If he is elected, he will govern for the 1%. He showed us that in Massachusetts and has shown us nothing to make us believe that he will govern differently as a president. Period.
One other thing that Mitt did in Holland to prove he’s actually a human and not the RomneyBot 2012 was to talk about his romance with Ann Romney. Apparently he courted her on a lake in Michigan and wanted to “recreate the moment” on the shore of Lake Michigan. This is what happened when he went to kiss her:
Here, Mitt and Ann. Let’s show you what genuine romance looks like:
[Photos by Anne C. Savage. Permission is granted to use them for non-commercial websites provided that you link back to this entry, do not remove the watermark and credit Anne when publishing it. Also, please drop us a note using the contact link at the top of this page to let us know where you have published.]