Recent comments by Mitt Romney’s camp in the UK amount to race pandering.
My fascination lies in Romney’s uncanny ability to say the most awkward things while maintaining a straight face. What is even more intriguing is how he occasionally punctuates his game-face with his signature sly smile, which makes me wonder if his verbal faux pas grow out of genuine naiveté or if Romney understands the full impact of what he’s saying. Unfortunately, given Romney’s recent history, I am afraid that I’m inclined to believe the latter.
When Romney spoke at the NAACP convention in Houston, he told the audience that “If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him.” Yet during that same speech he was booed for saying that he would repeal Obama’s historic healthcare bill as soon as he got in office. As BET.com’s Keith Boykin points out, Romney’s NAACP speech was a calculated move by his campaign designed to appeal to the right-wingers in his party. That is why he could stand before a largely white audience in Hamilton, Montana, and say that “if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy.” I don’t care what any of his supporters say, it was Romney race pandering at its finest.
Recently, Romney has come under fire for remarks that an un-named advisor made in the British press. In the July 24 edition of the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph, an anonymous Romney advisor said “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special.” The adviser added, “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” Once again, the Romney camp plays the race card. By claiming that President Obama does not understand the shared history that “Americans” (read: white Anglo-Saxons born in the U.S.) share with the U.K., they imply that Obama (and the rest of Black America for that matter), by virtue of his skin color, is not part of the common history that we all share as American citizens.
Although the Romney campaign has officially denied that such sentiments actually reflect those of Romney, one can’t help but wonder if this isn’t another political ploy on his part — a slick way of pandering to the birthers, tea partiers and other elements of the far right back home.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)