Romney And The NAACP

About Romney’s speech to the NAACP, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell told TheGrio’s Goldie Taylor the following on Wednesday:

Tell me, Goldie, if I’m being too cynical, to think that the Romney campaign actually went in that room today with the hope of getting booed, at least three times, because they want the video of their candidate being booed by the NAACP to play in certain racist precincts where that will actually help them.

There were other liberals, including Nancy Pelosi, who offered up the notion that Mittens had an ulterior motive when he went to Houston and deliberately used the word “ObamaCare,” as in,

I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like ObamaCare…

Pelosi said that Romney made a “calculated move” to “get booed,” which he most certainly got after the ObamaCare remark.  Now, I wasn’t one to initially and cynically think Mittens deliberately sought the disapproval of a room full of black folks in order to exploit white angst around the country.

But then I saw this report:

Mitt Romney says he wasn’t surprised by the chorus of boos he received Wednesday morning when he said in a speech to the NAACP National Convention that he plans to repeal President Obama’s national health care law.

“I think we expected that,” Romney said in a taped interview with Fox Business Network, scheduled to air Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Well, although I am normally quite ready to suspect the worst of Republican presidential candidates, I am not quite ready to believe that Mitt Romney went to Houston and exploited his father’s memory in order to appeal to American racists.  Romney said this to the group:

The Republican Party’s record, by the measures you rightly apply, is not perfect. Any party that claims a perfect record doesn’t know history the way you know it.

Yet always, in both parties, there have been men and women of integrity, decency, and humility who called injustice by its name. For every one of us a particular person comes to mind, someone who set a standard of conduct and made us better by their example. For me, that man is my father, George Romney.

It wasn’t just that my Dad helped write the civil rights provision for the Michigan Constitution, though he did. It wasn’t just that he helped create Michigan’s first civil rights commission, or that as governor he marched for civil rights in Detroit – though he did those things, too.

More than these public acts, it was the kind of man he was, and the way he dealt with every person, black or white. He was a man of the fairest instincts, and a man of faith who knew that every person was a child of God.

I’m grateful to him for so many things, and above all for the knowledge of God, whose ways are not always our ways, but whose justice is certain and whose mercy endures forever.

I am sure the folks in the room would have been grateful if Romney had taken the occasion of mentioning his father’s civil rights work to assure black voters that he opposes Republican efforts to suppress their votes, as the party is doing all over the country. But, alas, he didn’t. And no one was surprised at that.

But as I said, I resist the temptation to question Romney’s motives in speaking to the NAACP. Did he deliberately go there to appear reasonable? Did he go there to stir up the crowd, hoping he would get some kind of outrageous response? (For the most part the crowd was quite respectful.) Beats me.

I am willing to leave it at this: After the speech, Romney said to Fox:

I am going to give the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country…

Maybe Mittens really does think his top-down, give-the-rich-more economic philosophy will eventually trickle into black homes and help black families, as well as all Americans. And it is that delusion that I find ultimately more dangerous for the country, including all the folks who gathered in Houston to hear Mr. Romney speak.

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  1. Today I received in my email a piece of odious demagoguery purporting to be a story of an Army veteran denied proper treatment for his agent-orange disability because of “ObamaCare”. It was sent to me and 41 other Naval Academy classmates and/or their families by another classmate of mine. I quickly found it listed as a falsity by and so advised the mailing list.

    I find it disgusting and discouraging to think that well-educated people might be receptive to such bilge, but why would it not be sent if that was not the expected result? The animus surrounding both our black President and his healthcare plan is intense and the issuance of such tripe appears to me to have the purpose not of convincing what are already true believers but to stir up enthusiasm in the GOP electorate to use their leadership positions and influence to get out the vote in any way they can, including lying.

    In this context I regret to say that I can believe Romney may indeed have had an ulterior motive in speaking to the NAACP. I am aided in coming to this depressing conclusion by reflecting on the fact of Romney renouncing his own philosophy (RomneyCare) and doing a complete flip-flop on healthcare.

    “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”


    • Sad, sad, sad.

      I have noticed that a lot of the tripe that gets passed around is done so by veterans. Don’t they teach critical thinking skills to soldiers?

      In any case, thanks for reminding me I should have spell-checked the post, since I didn’t catch my phonetic spelling of ulterior. I’ve got to stop typing using sounds in my head!



  2. King Beauregard

     /  July 12, 2012

    I don’t think for a second Romney was trying to stir up trouble; the man is too tone-deaf in general to have any idea of how to deal with the public, I really can’t see him playing a complex chess game.

    But even if that were his game, Romney could have done a lot better to lead the crowd into booing the “wrong” things and proving whatever point to Romney’s base. For example, he could have said something about undoing affirmative action because it prizes race above ability; imagine the response (black audiences understand dogwhistling too) and how much better that would have played.

    Far more likely, Romney is so used to crowds that hate Obamacare irrationally that he had no idea there are people who like it. Imagine Bob Hope trying to do a show on a college campus in 1971, and being surprised that jokes about unwashed hippies just aren’t cutting it.


    • I tend to agree with you. Candidates do get insulated from reality when they spend almost all of their time surrounded by adoring crowds who affirm every word they say. But Romney’s case even goes beyond that. He is insulated from reality by virtue of not just his wealth (there are rich Dems, too), but the way he achieved his wealth, and the political philosophy he advocates in service to it.


      • King Beauregard

         /  July 12, 2012

        At least he refrained from calling it “Uppitycare”.


  3. ansonburlingame

     /  July 13, 2012

    To all,

    Talk about a racist view!! Jim writes in part, “The animus surrounding both our black President …..”

    Why is it necessary to include the word “black” rather than just saying the “animus surrounding our President….”.

    I will agree that some racists, a minority today, disdain Obama primarily for his skin color. There are as well demagogues that disdain Romney for his religion, primarily. Such people refuse to look at the men’s “cores”, their fundamental principles.

    The extraordinary animus towards Obama is NOT because he is black, in my view. It is for the policies that he proposes, the divisivness that such policies creates, rich against poor, black against white, ethnic groups against ethnic groups, religions against the less or even non-religious.

    To me I think I understand what motivates Obama from a policy perspective. He is FOR one segment of society and AGAINST different segments of the same overall society. That for and against coming from “Chicago style politics” in his campaign and “union like” rhetoric in this blog is DIVISIVE and does nothing to attempt the find compromise.

    If nothing else, this blog does all it can to show how Romney seeks to exploit divisivness as well, from the other side. To me Romney espouses competence over incompetence, a record of success in many different forms over a record of pure ideology typified by one side against another along class and racial lines.

    Romney in fact won the campaign and then governed effectively in a very Blue state. Do you believe Obama would ever be able to win a campaign and govern effectively in a very Red state? Think Obama could have turned around the Olympics? Nothing in his history indicates such talent or competence.


  1. Mitt Romney ‘deliberately got booed by the NAACP to appeal to white racists’ « The Jeenyus Corner
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