Romney Booed by the NAACP

One thing you can say about Mitt Romney, he’s the only GOP candidate to criticize the Black candidate to the faces of the NAACP. Perhaps he was pandering, but to another group. Romney was booed several times, including when he indicated he was the best President for African Americans .  However, the spin could be that Romney was gutsy in advocating an agenda that opposes most of what Black voters support. In the opinion of Tara Wall, the campaign’s black-outreach adviser, “…I think Governor Romney’s message was bold, he’s said things that needed to be said, he’s said things he’s always said…” This conservative version of ‘telling truth to power’ certainly has to appeal to the more reactionary factions of Romney’s base. Does that perspective have that ‘put them back in their place’ feel to it?

Yet even in this case there are more implications of deception on the part of Romney. In the link to the Washington Post article above, Romney is quoted as saying, “I don’t give different speeches to different audiences, all right?” Romney said. “I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare, they weren’t happy. . . . That’s okay. I want people to know what I stand for, and if I don’t stand for what they want, go vote for someone else. That’s just fine.” These are Romney’s comments at a fundraiser in Montana. On the other hand, Bill Negrin notes “He pitched his candidacy to the NAACP in a speech sprinkled with … reminders of his own cooperation with Democrats during his time as governor in liberal Massachusetts, and promises to lead on civil rights if elected… it was a speech he never could have delivered during the radical GOP primary, when the mere mention of bipartisanship was all but a disqualifier.” Someone might argue that it’s obvious you tailor your speech to your audience. While this is true in a general way, at the highest levels of governance, everything must stand up to extra scrutiny.

There are those who think of Romney speaking before the NAACP was an act of stepping above politics. The spin on the appearance, to quote Kasie Hunt of the Associated Press, is designed to “… show independent and swing voters that he’s willing to reach out to diverse audiences, while demonstrating that his campaign and the Republican Party he leads are inclusive.” Never the less, the correlation between the comments of the various Republican representatives reveals the existence of nothing more than talking points. CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis wrote, “ ‘I think it does send a very strong message of inclusiveness,’  said CNN contributor and Republican strategist Anna Navarro. ‘It’s not easy to go into a tough crowd and Mitt Romney is showing that he can reach out to a tough crowd. He will go in and say the same thing to different groups even if it’s not popular.’ ” She echoes the spin that he talks the same talk everywhere. Present also is the spin that speaking at the NAACP was an opportunity to stand in front of the Blacks and tell them the way it will be.  Romney represents a return to a society that said essentially, we don’t like you and if you don’t like the way the country treats you, leave.

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