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.