Mitt Romney’s “Bless his Little Heart” Strategy in Post-Racist America - Page 2
The Republican Party has already been successful at holding down President Obama’s popularity by (arguably made up) ridicule about his popularity, his capability, his relatability and his experience. It works with anyone who is not listening too closely. That said, after years they haven’t managed to deliver anything close to a knockout.
Is Mitt Romney the guy to deliver a fatal blow? He has his own ridiculousness issues, of course. He’s the out-of-touch rich guy who likes to fire people. And Romney’s ridiculousness is entirely his own making. He calls Paul Ryan’s slash and burn budget “marvelous” a view probably shared only by Paul Ryan. Even before the primary, Mr. Romney was already famous for, as Michael Eric Dyson says, “blowing in the wind.”
Romney seems intent on making the case that rich people deserve to be honored, simply for being rich. This is the kind of talk you hear at country club cocktail parties, but it is usually privileged 20-something children doing the talking, not the grownups. Nonetheless, we’ll all be sure to admire Bernie Madoff, Muammar Gaddafi and Pablo Escobar, won’t we?
The other way that belittlement could backfire for Romney is if it is seen as racial. Certainly, any hopeful delusions of a post-racial America have been quashed of late. But just as certainly, we live in a post-racist America. The recall of Russell Pearce, architect of Arizona’s Paper’s Please Law and the national outcry over the killing of Trayvon Martin are clear evidence that a large majority of Americans – and most white people – simply won’t abide racism. Racism, when discovered, simply isn’t tolerated anymore.
If people come to believe Mitt Romney is calling President Obama “boy” his candidacy is over. It’s a fine line of perception that Mitt is probably not deft enough to avoid. Trying – or failing – may just neuter Romney’s attempt to ridicule – a tactic he desperately needs if he is to win without saying anything about what he plans to do.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Romney’s campaign was brought down not by all the things that are wrong with him, but by a misunderstanding about what he really believes?