Romney came in with the clear appearance of starting a fight. His comments to a group of donors in Montana late yesterday made it evident where he thought he stood Wednesday after his speech to the NAACP:
When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren't happy, I didn't get the same response. That's ok, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don't stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that's just fine. But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy -- more free stuff. But don't forget nothing is really free. it has to paid for by people in the private sector creating goods and services, and if people want jobs more than they want free stuff from government, then they are going to have to get government to be smaller. And if they don't want to repeal Obamacare they are going to have to give me some other stuff they are thinking about cutting, but my list takes Obamacare off first and I have a lot of other things I am thinking of cutting.
Really? Because it seems to me Mitt Romney here is saying that black voters only care about getting free stuff, and that he's more than happy to advance the most awful stereotypes about the "lazy welfare parasites" of black culture while dripping with privilege himself. More importantly, it reveals that Romney was never interested in speaking to black America, but speaking down to us, which is a huge difference if you've ever been in a situation like that. Of course Romney was going to get booed when his speech was laden with red state red meat and delivered in a tone where the Superior White Male is telling us Poor Dumb Black Folk what we need to know, and if we knew what was good for us, we'd vote Republican. And yet Romney's trip to Houston was a rousing success.
He clearly showed up to be controversial, got his optics and headlines, and moved on. It was a cynical ply by a political manipulator in order to win points with the angry part of the GOP base that thinks all black people exist to do is collect government checks for free, the money coming solely from taxes the evil Obama administration extorted from the blood and sweat of hard-working, morally superior white people. He immediately played the victim card, as if coming to the nation's oldest civil rights group was a burden he had to gird his loins for, and bravely faced the vicious brown mob baying for his very soul. He came out blooded, our hero Mitt. Hail, gladiator!
The NAACP has released the following statement: “This morning Governor Romney laid out his policy agenda for this nation. Unfortunately, much of his agenda is at odds with what the NAACP stands for – whether the issue is equal access to affordable health care, reforming our education system or the path forward on marriage equality. We appreciate that he was courageous and took the opportunity to speak with us directly.”
The Romney camp is of course perfectly fine with that. Which brings us to one Joseph R. Biden. This morning Vice-President Biden took the stage in Houston and showed the staggering difference in the way Republicans and Democrats treat black voters. One looks at us like everything that's wrong in America. The other treats us like everything that can be right in America.
Biden drew cheers as he credited Obama for championing a landmark health care law, launching the mission that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and stepping in to rescue the financial system and U.S. automakers General Motors and Chrysler.
“He has put country first,” Biden said.
Biden addressed the annual convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People a day after Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said he'd do more for African-Americans than Obama, the nation's first black president.
Romney was booed when he said he'd repeal Obama's sweeping health care reform law but otherwise got a polite reception as he reached out to a traditionally Democratic voting bloc.
The vice president countered that Romney's policies would hurt black working families, and he outlined detailed differences between Obama and Romney on health care, education, energy, women's rights and research.
Imagine that...treating African-Americans as....Americans. Biden was so well received the crowd actually booed when he said he had to wrap up. They didn't want him to leave, and Biden made the case, treating the audience as intelligent and informed members of the body politic rather than targets to score political points off of. Even more illuminating, Biden did so by appealing to issues all Americans are worried about. So yes, not only was sending the Vice President a brilliant political move, but it was an excellent speech as well. Treating black voters as voters rather than black. What a novel idea. An idea that will never occur to Mitt Romney's limited programming.