Even before Mitt Romney delivered his speech before the NAACP National Convention on Wednesday, it seemed unlikely that his primary motive was to convince large numbers of black voters to turn against President Obama. After the speech, many pundits concluded that Romney actually wanted to get booed, and he even admitted in an interview that he "expected" to get a negative response. By the end of the day, things took a nastier turn when Romney told supporters that if those in the NAACP audience like "free stuff," they should vote for Obama, prompting some to accuse him of race baiting.As my grandmother would say, Mr. Charlie sure can be smart and tricky.
We speculated about Mitt Romney's reasons for speaking before the NAACP given the pitiful support he enjoys among black voters. Was it a symbolic gesture? Was Romney sincere in his effort to court the black vote? Could it be that the NAACP was not the real intended audience for Romney's speech?
Mitt Romney is turning iron into gold here. Disdain and hostility for black people (and other people of color) is the glue that holds together contemporary conservatism in America. The boos of the NAACP in response to Mitt Romney's stated promise to work against the policy priorities of that organization are points scored in the eyes of the white Right.
Rush Limbaugh "white-wing" conservative bloviator would seem to echo this possibility:
Rush Limbaugh said Mitt Romney’s speech Wednesday to the NAACP fell flat because it was “over these people’s heads” and that the group booed the Republican candidate, who “sounded like Snow White with testicles,” simply because he’s white.
Limbaugh, who regularly refers to the NAACP as the “NAALCP” — the extra L is for “liberal” — claimed that President Barack Obama insulted the group by sending Vice President Joe Biden instead.
“He’s confident they’ll boo Romney, simply because Romney’s white,” Limbaugh said. “He’s confident of that. But he knows that he’s gonna have hell to pay in private meetings with these people. He’s not gonna get anywhere near it. So what an insult. Here’s Obama sending Biden, not going himself.”
Limbaugh portrayed the crowd at the NAACP’s annual convention in Houston as ignorant of what was good for them and susceptible to pandering from Obama and other Democratic politicians.
“This group wants to hear about tax increases and bigger government to take care of people,” he said, according to a transcript. “They don’t want to hear about self-reliance, they don’t want to hear about free enterprise. Free enterprise means you’ve gotta do it yourself. Free enterprise means it’s up to you. Free enterprise means you’re on your own. This group doesn’t want to hear that. I don’t think Romney got a single vote in here today.”As I observed regarding his genius campaign slogan which argues that Barack Obama is a lazy black man, Romney is a devious foe. Deadly in fact. Romney's speech before the NAACP was a classic misdirection and feint. Just like in chess, or on the battlefield, be very mindful of what the enemy is giving you--the real attack is usually coming from where you least expect it.