During the past week most of us have understandably been distracted by the pageantry and sheer wonder of the 2012 Olympics in London. Also understandably, some of us have been distracted and disturbed by the commissar-like attitude of fellow progressives when it comes to Chick-Fil-A. After all, if you don’t like what its management says, what’s wrong with a boycott? But banning the company from doing business in a town near you? And all along, Mitt Romney engaged in a mildly entertaining international foot-in-mouthathon that managed to anger allies and enemies around the world.
But while he was in London, lost in the furor over his snide remarks regarding preparations by the London Olympics organizing committee was his very troubling remarks about “Anglo-Saxon heritage”. It seems that Mitt Romney, as the prototypical WASM (White Anglo Saxon Mormon), felt that it was really really important to point out that he understood the importance of the Anglo Saxon linkage that the United States has with the United Kingdom.
And, to put a cherry on top, he stated that the first black president of the United States doesn’t fully “appreciate” that heritage.
Mitt thinks that he is being cute, traipsing around the world with his platinum-plated dog whistle in hand. Aside from the idiocy of touting Anglo Saxon heritage as being so important (more Americans are of German heritage than Anglo Saxon heritage, and in another couple of decades more Americans will be of non-white heritage in any event), Mr. Romney has chosen yet another occasion to appeal to white voters by nakedly playing the race card.
In this column I have pointed out that his surrogate John Sununu declared that Barack Obama “needed to learn how to act like an American”. The dog whistle message? Calling all white voters — don’t forget that a black man is president of the United States.
Mitt Romney, while he was in Israel, successfully threw rhetorical gasoline on the burning embers that are found in all corners of Palestinian-Israeli interaction by lauding the superior cultural aspects of Israel. And to make sure that every Palestinian knew where he would stand as president, he proclaimed that “providence” was on the side of Israel.
Certainly if he loses the presidential election, Mitt Romney can get a job as a recruiter for radical Islamists around the world.
But once again, lost in that particular gaffe, many people missed Mr. Romney praising the Israeli healthcare system. That would be the Israeli public healthcare system that has as its central feature, the individual mandate. That would be the same individual mandate that Mitt Romney championed while governor of Massachusetts. That would be the same individual mandate that Mr. Romney and the Teapublicans get cross-eyed crazy about if the words are even spoken out loud.
Just before he left the United States, Mr. Romney was widely quoted as saying that there was something “foreign” about President Obama’s policies. Considering his praise of the healthcare system in Israel, it would seem that the only thing “foreign” about the policies of the Obama Administration is that they are the policies advanced and supported by Barack Obama.
The dog whistle has been used until Mitt Romney and the Teapublicans are blue in the face. To their everlasting credit, the Teapublicans have stopped hanging Barack Obama in effigy and no longer allow posters of the president depicting him as some stereotypical African witch doctor with a bone through his nose. They no longer call the president a liar on the floor of the Congress.
In what must pass for subtlety in the Teapublican universe, Mitt Romney and his cohorts regularly and casually refer to Barack Obama as “foreign” – meaning he may or may not have been born in Kenya, but he certainly is not an American white man. We hear that the preposterous notion that the president of the United States needs to learn to act like an American, and we realize that it is not so preposterous if the underlying message is to remind white voters again and again that it mission of Teapublicans to get that black man out of the White House.
Trotting out Herman Cain will not drown out the dog whistles. Pretending that Condoleezza Rice is a possible presidential candidate isn’t fooling anyone but fools. The underlying theme of the opposition to President Obama certainly reflects serious policy differences with respect to the economy. But the dog whistle of race politics has been there all along and Mitt Romney should be ashamed of himself by using this eternally discredited strategy.