On Wednesday, July 11th, Mitt Romney spoke to the NAACP at their national convention in Houston, Texas. It was praised across the media as a good move, since the GOP is often looked at as being disconnected from the African-American community (by “often” we mean for a good 50 years). He was called “brave” because to go speak to an audience that represents a group that primarily voted for your opponent should be looked at as an act of strength, and obviously, he’s trying to bridge the race gap in the political parties.
Or he told Black people to go eff themselves.
I understand that many who read this will assume that I’m pulling the race card. (You call it a race card. I call it my life. Weird.) I’m creating a racial issue out of a simple political campaign, and obviously, all I’m attempting to do is derail and be divisive. I’m willing to take those critiques because I can’t see how else to see this: Mitt Romney gave a speech where he initially acknowledges real issues in the Black community but at the same time he chose this space to show his ever-elusive backbone.
Romney has been running the “Say Anything 2012™” campaign all up until this point. All of a sudden, when he took the stage in front of Negroes, now he’s going to be strong. He’s going to keep it real.
He told the room that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act. He didn’t explain why it was bad and that he understands the issue. He understands how much health care is important to the community. No, he was going to be strong now.Later on in the day, Mitt Romney even BRAGGED that he got booed. He explained he’s not going to give different speeches to different groups.Why the hell not? Why wouldn’t you cater your speech to deal with a group that looks at the country and issues differently than you? You don’t walk in to a room full of Tea Partiers and give the same speech you give to the NAACP.
That’s literally preposterous.
Catering your message to different demographics is what you do as a POLITICIAN. No one asked Mitt Romney to lie. (Although he’ll lie…er…flip-flop…er…change his mind when it’s convenient.) No one asked for him to all of sudden change his opinion because he’s in front of Negroes. But with all the money the Romney campaign has, all the speech writers and political strategists at his disposal, Mitt Romney couldn’t attempt to talk to the NAACP — and by proxy the Black community — in a manner that implied he gave even the slightest of rat’s asses?
Are you telling me there wasn’t any way to speak to an audience that may not agree with you in a manner that implied you understand them even if you disagree? Isn’t that what being presidential is all about?<
Mitt Romney, a mere few hours after his talk to the NAACP was quoted saying:
By the way, I had the privilege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don’t give different speeches to different audiences, alright. I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare, they weren’t happy. I didn’t get the same response. That’s OK, 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. But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy-more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.
You’re so brave, Mitt Romney. You told the constituency that you figured won’t vote for you anyway, that you don’t particularly care about what they care about. And, of course, members of the right wing immediately claimed some sort of racial animosity as the reason why the NAACP audience didn’t love the Romney talk. Maybe if Romney pretended he was talking to Americans instead of America’s burden he’d have gotten a better response.
Elon James White is the founder and host of This Week in Blackness & TWiB Radio which you can listen to Monday through Thursday at 1:30pm EST on http://TWIB.FM. Follow Elon on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and Tumblr.