Does Mitt Romney even hear himself when he talks?
By now we all know about the new video Mother Jones released of Mitt Romney writing off 47% of Americans by calling us “dependents” who would vote for Obama no matter what. The punditocracy has been chattering ever since as to whether Romney just lost himself the election.
Interspersed in Romney’s fundraiser remarks are quite a few nuggets of wisdom from Mr. Romney about race. About how unless people of color get over our biases and just listen to the Romneys and the one percenters, the nation is doomed.
And if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why we’re in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation.
“As a nation.” It’s incredible—Romney really believes that if people of color vote Democratic, the downfall of America awaits. Of course, Romney has the power to do something about this, by encouraging Republicans to be less extremist on immigration policy and so many other issues and to, well, not be such an extremist himself.
Another remark provides a glimpse into what goes on in that head of his when he thinks of immigrants – you’re either one of the superstars he might meet at the country club or just a drag:
Oh, I just, we didn’t talk about immigration today. Gosh, I’d love to bring in more legal immigrants that have skill and [unintelligible]. I’d like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, “Come to America, we want you here.” Instead, we make it hard for people who get educated here or elsewhere to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life. [Audience laughs.] It’s very strange. It’s run by people who don’t understand the words “global competition of ideas,” and our idea has to win, but only if America reigns strong. But with that introduction, I’m going to turn to you for counsel, advice, or questions. Policy questions. Wanna talk about tax policy? Or political questions? How I win? Please.
My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico … and had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.
Oh, the tone-deafness of a wealthy, one-percenter wishing for the alternate life of a person of color who has it so easy with our affirmative action and our Medicaid and whatnot. I think Markos of Daily Kos takes down Romney best, pointing out that Latinos are disinclined to vote Republican because of GOP policies on immigration (policies that Romney actively has a hand in), not because Romney doesn’t belong to the tribe:
First of all, had his grandparents been born in Mexico, he never would’ve gotten the GOP nomination. Second of all, if his grandparents were Mexican, he’d have asshole Republicans demanding to see his birth certificate, and sheriffs in Arizona and secretaries of states in Kansas claiming that his birth certificate was fake.
Thirdly, his problem with Latino voters has nothing to do with his pastiness, and everything to do with the fact that he’s against everything that’s important to the Latino community, from comprehensive immigration reform, to the DREAM Act, to his association with the likes of Joe Arpaio and Kris Kobach.
Because you don’t need to have Mexican grandparents to do well with Latinos. Barack Obama doesn’t. Neither does Harry Reid. Or John Kerry.
Ruben Navarrette has a good point, too—being Latino in America isn’t exactly champagne and dressage horses, not that one would expect Mitt Romney to understand that:
But, if Mitt really wants to get in touch with his inner Mexican, I think he’ll find that it’s not all churros and chocolate or pinatas and pan dulce. You see — and you might find this hard to believe, Mitt — but there is still a lot of discrimination in this country against Latinos as whites hunker down and try to hold on to what they have in the face of changing demographics.
For instance, Romney has two Harvard degrees, and so do I. But I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that he never had anyone suggest that he was only admitted to that prestigious university because of affirmative action. Or that he is frequently told, as I am, to “go back to Mexico” — which is ironic, given that, since I’m the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and Romney is the son of a Mexican immigrant, the GOP presidential candidate is one generation closer to the motherland than I am.
As another commentator at Daily Kos noted:
Would Willard “Mitt” Romney be better off if his parents were of Latino ancestry?
Or, would he be one of the many faceless, unknown, first-generation Latino-Americans struggling to get a fair and equal shot at the American dream?