In a stunning move of political “courage” (by which I mean cynicism) Willard “Mitt” Romney addressed the National Convention of the NAACP in Houston today. Make no mistake about it, Romney’s handlers knew exactly what they were doing when they wound up the MittBot 2012 and shoved him out onto that stage. As with all things in his presidential campaign, Mittens did what he was told and read the script he was given. (The Romney campaign gives new meaning to the term “brain trust.” In his case, however, it’s his own brain that’s in a blind trust. My sources tell me that it’s currently locked in a filing cabinet in the Cayman Islands.)
Anybody out there old enough to remember Sister Souljah? No? Well, here’s Mama’s history lesson for the day: In 1992, then-candidate Bill Clinton used his appearance at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition to criticize a female hip-hop artist, comparing her anti-white sentiments with David Duke’s racism. Clinton’s words were not aimed at the people in the room, but at the media. They were designed to make him look “moderate.”
So it’s no coincidence that on the same day the House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act for the 33rd time, Romney put himself in a room where he knew he’d get roundly booed for saying that he, too, “would repeal Obamacare.” It was a calculated political move to make sure that white voters noticed that blacks don’t like him.
Don’t sell yourself short, Mittens. Nobody likes you.
The voters get it though. They know that when Bob Dole can go from running for president to pitching Viagra and Fred Thompson can go from Die Hard 2 to the U.S. Senate and then back to pitching reversible mortgages, our modern spokes-candidates are too often just another form of infotainers. Their campaigns are so heavily focus-grouped and poll-tested that any hint of spontaneity is quickly taken out back and shot.
The main reason I’m still a happy, clappy liberal optimist is because President Obama just won’t play that game. He doesn’t pander, and he never scapegoats. That’s the same kind of candidate my dad was when he ran for vice president, even though his political philosophy was very different from Obama’s. My dad didn’t need other people to tell him what he believed — he already knew. And he’d have cursed a blue streak at anyone who tried to tell him what to say.
Hey, maybe that’s where I get my blue streak!
(Photo: Getty Images)