Saturday, 25 August 2012
INTERESTING STUFF: 25 August 2012
MITT ROMNEY: BIRTHER
I had finished writing today's Interesting Stuff on Friday when some Mitt Romney news arrived that is too odious to leave until Monday. The regular potpourri of the Saturday post will return next week.
What Romney did was make a deliberate, naked appeal to birthers. It's been a nasty campaign but until now, I would not have believed that any candidate for the top elected office in the land would openly stoke racial resentment against his opponent. One of his surrogates might (in this case, Donald Trump has done so), but never the candidate himself. I was wrong. Take a look.
Did you hear that? Not only did a presidential contender pander to them, the crowd of his supporters laughed and cheered. Those are our fellow Americans. I don't know what country I live in anymore.
To be absolutely clear about what Romney said, here is the transcript [emphasis added]:
“I love being home in this place where Ann and I were raised where both of us were born. Ann was born in Henry Ford Hospital, I was born in Harper Hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”
The Romney campaign tried to dismiss this as a joke gone a little wrong. But it is not funny - to make that claim is a further insult - and no personal apology from Romney can be believed. If it could, he would not have made the "joke" in the first place.
Through the next hour or two following Romney's birther-baiting, I heard a bunch of white, left-leaning TV pundits, one after the other, dismiss Romney's objectionable speech as just another gaffe - nothing to see here, folks, move along.
Really?! Where I come from, if you support and indulge bigotry, you are one with it. But as far as I can tell as of early this morning, the media is treating this as the least important Romney event of the week and they are wrong: it is at least equal with Todd Akin's outrage against women.
I know Romney's political party will not repudiate him and I know there is no such thing anymore in our country as outrage or, alternately, shame and this will cost Romney nothing. But it should.
In a less debased political world, Romney would be consigned to the same category of ignominy as Lance Armstrong was yesterday. But he won't be. The election campaign will go on as if this never happened and it should not.