Friday, August 24, 2012

What Took Him So Long? More Than "Dog Whistles" Mitt Romney Finally Goes Full Birther

Told you so. 

Mitt Romney has surrendered to the most despicable urges of white conservative populism and xenophobia. Although he will talk out of both sides of his mouth in denying the obvious, Romney has finally endorsed Birtherism. An honorable man would be a principled bigot; Romney has no principles or honor, thus he will deny, deny, deny, and obfuscate all the while winking at the white racists who are the base of the Tea Party GOP. 

One of my mentors said it is satisfying to reach a point where you have enough material written, and are enough of an authority on a topic, that you can quote yourself. This is not laziness; it is efficiency. I may not have the latter, and I am working on the former, but regarding Mitt Romney's sociopathic, white racist ways, I called out his shenanigans months ago. 

Mitt Romney is only getting started folks--and his bigotry is going to pay great dividends among "the silent majority" of white voters come election day. Candidates go "negative" because it works. White conservative candidates mine white racial resentment because they have calculated that the reward is greater than the risk. Romney's people have run the numbers and decided that ginning up white racism is a tactically sound choice for securing their candidate's victory over President Obama.  

Do allow me my moment of gloating.  Here are three passages from just a few of the pieces I have offered here on We Are Respectable Negroes that speak directly to Romney's concerted campaign of race-baiting and the Southern Strategy 2.0. Do share these prescient observations with your friends, and please tell folks where you heard them first. 

1. As I have written about numerous times, Mitt Romney is a sociopathic racist. His campaign ads have recycled naked and racist stereotypes about Barack Obama--and by implication black Americans. Moreover, Romney's use of both naked racial appeals and dog whistle politics represent one of the most sophisticated uses of racial animus in recent American political history. As the election approaches, Romney and Ryan are going to go places that McCain never would have dared. White racial resentment, and manipulating white racial anxiety in order to win over white voters, is one of the few remaining weapons (along with voter suppression) that Romney and the Tea Party GOP have left in their arsenal given the unpopularity of their proposed policies.

2. By proxy, these racially driven attacks on Barack Obama are really an assault on Black Americans. We are positioned in the White Conservative political imagination as perennial outsiders and second class citizens. As the late Joel Olson smartly observed, in the American political tradition, and in a country founded as a herrenvolk society, to be black means to be an "anti-citizen."

Romney and the Tea Party GOP's efforts to use racially coded speech, dog whistles, and naked racism to mobilize white voters against Barack Obama work only to the degree that the target audience can locate the president relative to the African American community. Thus, hostility to black folks, stereotypes about them, and other negative sentiment, is transferred on to Barack Obama. 
In all, the real America/American exceptionalism talk (both are intimates) that Romney and other Right-wing populists have deployed is a exclusionary one.

"American exceptionalism" is code for white American exceptionalism. "Real America" is code for white America.

3. The Tea Party, with its ethos of white populism, Birtherism, and racial animus towards the country’s first Black President (and people of color more generally) is emblematic of an even bigger challenge for the Republicans—they are looking to a fictive past for inspiration, what were the “good old days” when the colored folk, the gays, and the women all knew their places. This is anAmerica that never truly was. However, it is a true lie and dreamworld that is central to the Right-wing political imagination.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s family photos reflect this contrasting view of America. Mitt Romney’s family is a collective poster child for conservative “whiteopian” Culture War political dreams. Everyone is white; they are all the same.

When the Republican Party talks about a return to “traditional values” and “American exceptionalism” this is the vision of family—and the past—they are signaling to. To them, Mitt Romney’s particular brand of whiteness is normalizing, comforting and familiar.


Plane Ideas said...


You were right on the money!!! It is critical now for Obama to link in his family and Mormon racist practices when he was growing up in my home town of Detroit!!

There is tons of campaign talking points to leverage

Razor said...


No journalist is more relentless, incisive, meticulous, probing, dissecting, deconstructing, thorough, engaging, insightful and creative as you have been on the focuses of your site. That's why we have to drop in...regularly. Since you have given Romney and the Tea Party Republicans no quarter and no mercy we saw it coming. Selecting Paul Ryan as his running mate confirmed Romney's earlier holds barred race-baiting infected invective to the finish line.

Your link to the NY Times article revealing the billionaire Mr. Rickett's plan made me think of Uncle (Clarence) Thomas. This Sudan-black black man casting the deciding vote in the Citizens United case that enabled this ultra-rich slave-owner-mentalitied white man unlimited and unrestrained ability to publicly pull out his whip and attempt to beat the hell out of a black man that has actually served him well....just because he's black.
Meanwhile, Thurgood Marshall is not just turning, but spinning, in his grave.

Clarence Thomas aside, I believe that the Citizens United case was strtegic in it's timing, given what WARN has dealt with recently regarding the shifting demographics of America and rising white angst, but also I think in conjunction with what the plutocracy knows is that the global free market democracy hoax cannot be sustained much longer, especially with the quickly evolving use of specialized robotics which is about to obliterate the working class in America. That's why we had the 911 hoax (to the extent that it was critically facillitated by a segment of our own government) and the calculated push for a survellience state with an increasingly militarized police force along with Obama's push recent push for laws to, in fact, be able to authorize the military to engage the citizenry.

As irritating and scary (as intended to be for both racist whites and black/brown people) as the Romney/Ryan campaign is, it distracts everyone from what is really happening to all people, including the majority of whites who are working class...that everyone is getting screwed and it about to get worse. That is the enduring genius of the idea of having created the White Privilege.

Even with the Titanic going down...the intoxicating music and the sirens song of White Privilege is still working it's the religion it has become.

ish said...

I"m glad you're telling it like it is. So important.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Notice too that he made these comments in Michigan. Romney had been so vehement in his opposition to the auto bailout that he penned a Times op-ed piece against it. Had the government not intervened, the auto industry in Michigan might very well have collapsed. As a former resident of the state, I know such a thing would have been catastrophic for Michiganders. Speaking in such a place he really needs to emphasize his whiteness as a way to distract his audience from an agenda that would seriously screw them over. As you have pointed out time and again, Mitt is using implicit calls for white racial solidarity to get the votes of people who have no economic incentive to vote for him. It's a disgusting state of affairs, keep shining a light on it.

Phil said...

It seems there's a lot more to be factored in here besides racism. There's also the rejection of Liberal or Progressive ideology. Similar tactics were used to attack Clinton. The Republican strategy for reelection always involves divide and conquer tactics. This includes race baiting, religious posturing, planting outright lies in the media and ethnic intolerance.

chaunceydevega said...

@Thrasher. The cup overfloweth as the expression goes.

@Razor. Thanks for the kind words. But you do need to enlighten a brother about the 9-11 stuff. You know I am an occam's razor sort of guy.

@Ish. Just getting started.

@Werner. The sheeple my friend. You know that survey data says that white working class men know that Obama's policies will do more to help people like them; but, they support Romney. White trumps green for those dolts.

@Phil. They were haunting Clinton. They have raised a poltergeist against Obama. Funny thing is both are center right New Dem/Soft Republicans and hardly "liberal."

Pinku-Sensei said...

To add to what Werner Herzog's Bear said about the significance of this happening in Michigan. Not only did Romney jump on the Birther bandwagon in Michigan, he did so in one of the far distant suburbs of Detroit. In addition to the obvious, an additional subtext to consider is that no one should underestimate hatred of Detroit in Michigan politics. This includes Detroit's own suburbs, and the farther out one goes, the worse it gets. I'm sure Romney, knowing Michigan, was counting on this.

Razor said...


Paul Thompson's "911/ Press for the Truth" CD aired on Link TV last fall/winter. Thompson does a great job of investigative reporting using a timeline of events supported by reliable data and verifiable facts, sifting through news reports and articles from several sources, often fragmented over several news stories which had the effect of obscuring the truth staring us in the face, just not brought altogether by any of the MSM, who as we know are assets of the plutocracy/government, who are an integral part of the propaganda apparatus. I watched it several times very objectively and came away convinced that Bush & Company knew what was going to happen and helped facilitate it. I sounds wildly conspiratorial, but withhold judgment until you have seen it. Within a flash, Congress had before it the Patriot Act, the Iraq War, and on and on....Obama and NDAA, FISA, draconian and unprecedented misuse of the Espionage Act, attempt to extradite Wikileaks founder Julian Asange who not only uncovered war crimes but also the wholesale purchase and use of high-tech survellience equipment capable of circumventing detection and the law by enumerable national, state and local government agencies and law enforcement.

Consider the super... and I mean super-sized data collection facility in Butte, Utah that is being built right now and what we have is Orwell's "1984" already upon us. I never believed that Homeland Security was ever meant for lowly terrorists who we always had more than enough resources to control, but for the US population, who have no earthly idea what is going on and how bad it really going to get. It's already there. When the US workers finally realize that not only will the jobs that left never come back (without an almost complete overhaul of our economic model which has been capitalism) but robotic advancements are about to make most manufacturing workers obsolete, even in the places those jobs have fled, we will truly experience a class warfare.

What we have been seeing is dismantling of our political and justice system accompanied by the evisceration of constitutional rights and the rule of law in America. Nearly all dissent against the criminality of the plutocracy has been criminalized and terrorism has been redefined to be any activity that affects corporate business, ie. non-violent environmentalists can now be charged as terrorists if any actions that they take disrupt business.

Meanwhile, staged political theater has overtaken the proletariat's ignorant imagination.

CNu said...

Chris Hayes show this morning (War over cities using Tampa as the example) goes into the substantive subtext for Romney's pose on the far rim of Detroit's exurban ring.

While there is certainly a history of race going into the phenomenon of white flight, tipping points and the 60 year cycle of suburban sprawl, nobody appears to be picking up on this most crucial dimension of what exactly is taking place in the substantive american zeitgeist.

Percipient analysis would have one thinking and speaking in terms of the End of Suburbia

Black Sage said...

Imagine for a moment that Obama and Romney were two pugilists. Obama, the reigning champion who is undefeated thus far, is on the rope getting pummeled by the contender. Romney, or in more specific terms, The Great White Hope, on the other hand has displayed and given White people a glimpse of what could be. With that in mind, The Great White Hope, instead of throwing a few sharp upper-cuts targeting Obama (the champion’s) thick chin, he throws an enfilade of punches to Obama’s groin area, in an attempt to disable him immediately (Birther comment). Obama doesn’t succumb to Romney’s feeble attacks. The referee stops the fight to give Obama (the champion) a chance to catch his breath and takes a couple of points away from Romney, the much ballyhooed contender. The referee then signals to both fighters to commence fighting again. Obama, infuriated by Romney’s cheap shot, inter alia, springs forth from his corner with quickened speed, regains his composure and begin to batter Romney repeatedly with head shots and the facial area just a few feet away from his home corner. The Great White Hope’s trainer/supporters (Koch Brothers) are incensed. Obama, all of a sudden is relentlessly throwing strategic and effective blows at the Great White Hope. Rush Limbaugh, David Duke, Gov. Scott Walker and William Luther Pierce (The Turner Diaries) are all well known fans of racist/corporate/conservative causes, have front row seats and all of them simultaneously throw in their personal White towels in an attempt to stop the fight. The referee finally steps in and stops the fight in the twelfth round and gives Obama, the reigning champion another opportunity to be the PEOPLE’s champion (POTUS).

Anonymous said...

Former Florida governor Charlie Crist just endorsed Obama. Here's his statement:

"As Republicans gather in Tampa to nominate Mitt Romney, Americans can expect to hear tales of how President Obama has failed to work with their party or turn the economy around.
But an element of their party has pitched so far to the extreme right on issues important to women, immigrants, seniors and students that they've proven incapable of governing for the people. Look no further than the inclusion of the Akin amendment in the Republican Party platform, which bans abortion, even for rape victims.
The truth is that the party has failed to demonstrate the kind of leadership or seriousness voters deserve.
Pundits looking to reduce something as big as a statewide election to a single photograph have blamed the result of my 2010 campaign for U.S. Senate on my greeting of President Obama. I didn't stand with our president because of what it could mean politically; I did it because uniting to recover from the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes was more important than party affiliation. I stood with our nation's leader because it was right for my state.
President Obama has a strong record of doing what is best for America and Florida, and he built it by spending more time worrying about what his decisions would mean for the people than for his political fortunes. That's what makes him the right leader for our times, and that's why I'm proud to stand with him today."

- Buddy H.

Pinku-Sensei said...

CNu wrote: "Percipient analysis would have one thinking and speaking in terms of the End of Suburbia."

I comment on James Howard Kunstler and The End of Suburbia frequently on my blog Crazy Eddie's Motie News, so I can think of several parts of that movie that might apply. The one that has been my favorite this campaign season has been what Kunstler predicted back in 2003.

"There will be a great battle to preserve the supposed entitlements to suburbia and it will be an epochal act of futility, a huge waste of effort and resources that might have been much better spent in finding new ways to carry on an American civilization.
Americans will elect maniacs who promise to allow them to keep their McMansions and their commutes and that’s going to produce a lot of political friction, probably a lot of violence, probably a threat to our democratic institutions."

This election season, the Republican Party has had more than its share of maniacs defending the entitlements of suburbia, from Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich promising cheap gas to Ted Cruz and the Republican National Committee denouncing sustainable development as a U.N. plot funded by George Soros. Romney isn't quite that obvious when it comes to energy and development, but there are more entitlements to suburbia than just McMansions and commutes.