Mitt Romney: plumbing new depths in cynical pandering
Earlier today, I wrote about Mitt Romney getting booed during his appearance at the NAACP annual meeting in Houston. In a update, I referenced Steve Benen’s suggestion that he was intentionally provocative. Benen said this:
“[T]he far-right Republican presidential candidate spoke to the NAACP and effectively proclaimed, “Vote for me and I’ll make sure 7 million African Americans lose their health insurance.”
What kind of campaign pitch is that? For crying out loud, of course Romney got booed. At the risk of being overly cynical, I can’t help but wonder if Romney did this on purpose precisely so he would be booed.
My comment was that it was that, if that were true, it was an unbelievably cynical dog whistle to Romney’s racist followers.
Then, in another update, I showed that it may actually have been true. One of Romney’s people said this:
Another campaign adviser told BuzzFeed that Romney’s attendance at the convention wasn’t primarily intended to break off a portion of the black vote, but to make clear to moderates that he intends to be an inclusive president.
“I think it’s important to send a message that he’s going to be president of the entire United States,” said the adviser. “Everything can’t be boiled down to politics, even though we’re in the middle of a campaign.”
If that weren’t proof enough, we now go to Romney himself and what we learn is that his provocation of the boos from the crowd was, indeed, a cynical and intentional act.
Mitt Romney said after being booed at the NAACP today that he “expected” the strong objection in response to his pledge to repeal President Obama’s health care law.
The black audience members rained boos on Romney three times during his speech — first when he said he’d repeal the health law, once when he said Obama’s record proves he hasn’t done enough on the economy and other matters, and once when he told them that he would be a president who makes the lives of African-Americans better.
In a friendly-territory interview on Fox Business Network, Romney told the Republican-fond host Neil Cavuto, “I think we expected that, of course.”
In the same piece, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed put it very bluntly:
[O]n a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee after Romney’s speech, [Reed] accused Romney of staging a “political stunt” that was aimed more at Republicans who weren’t in the room.
“He wasn’t speaking to the NAACP audience at all,” Reed said. “To his base it will make him look strong, but he never stands up to anybody else.”
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter was even more blunt:
[B]lack folks are not going to sit there and listen to some of that nonsense…He’s going through the motions. He’s doing the things he thinks he needs to do. He’s in a campaign. He’s doing all kinds of stuff. You can’t take any of this stuff seriously…The guy is a joke. He’s not for real. He’s a character playing a role and virtually perpetrating fraud on the American public with a lot of this stuff.
Nutter is spot-on in his analysis, only I would suggest that we should take this VERY seriously. This wasn’t a “stunt”. This was a deliberate attempt to draw boos from African Americans. That was the sound clip and visual that he set out to get and, now that he has that sound clip and visual, he can trot around the country, denying that he’s racist. He’ll use the negative response he got from the crowd in Houston as a badge of honor to display to his truly racist followers. “Look,” he’ll say. “I went there trying to reach out but look at the response I got. They disrespected me. Why, it’s almost as if THEY are racist!”
Mitt Romney is a despicable, pandering politician in the filthiest, most contemptible and loathsome sense of that word. The most shameful part about this is that he is, in fact, shameless about it. As soon as the event was over, he ran to Fox News to brag about what he had done.
I’m disgusted by this man more and more each day and, after this ‘stunt’, I am more determined than ever to do whatever I can to ensure that he never gets the keys to the Oval Office.
Goddess have mercy on our fair nation if he does.
[CC Image by Matthew Funti.me]