Yesterday, Mitt Romney spoke to the NAACP. Unfortunately, there were a few uncomfortable moments when Mitt Romney, a Presidential Candidate was booed! While I am personally averse to virtually everything Mr. Romney stands for, I also believe that our community is better than that. We are more civil then that. It would reflect well on the NAACP if they were to apologize for those brief moments of rudeness, in an otherwise respectful reception.
But the booing was more then rude, it was a strategic blunder. What the NAACP members missed is that they were playing right into Mitt Romney’s hands. If one listens to his speech, it becomes obvious that Romney didn’t come to the NAACP to win voters over, or even make the most persuasive speech he could. He did everything he could to court the response he received. WHY?
Mitt Romney has bowed, so many times, to public pressure that his own party considers him to be an unprincipled, panderer. So what was Mitt Romney to do?
Political observers will remember Newt Gingrich’s, promise to right wing voters that he would go to the black community and tell us to stop demanding food stamps and tell us to start demanding jobs. Mitt Romney, has just made good on Newt Gingrich’s promise. In the world of right wing politics, this was an act of boldness. He went before an all black audience and essentially told them off. He faced them down, told them how badly their community was doing (btw: using entirely true facts. I’m not opposed to the truth) and then stood in the torrential winds of their wrath. By booing, the NAACP gave Mitt Romney extra war wounds to brag about. And the right is loving him, as they have never loved Mitt Romney before.
During the primary, Mitt Romney’s other opponent, Rick Santorum, boasted that he didn’t want to make “black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money”. He was echoing a common GOP refrain; the notion that black people want handouts and in particular we maliciously want those handouts given to us, on the backs of white laborers. Mitt Romney has now embraced both of these arguments. By booing him, the NAACP gave him a strategic weapon, with which to court his base of voters. Romney jogged straight from the NAACP convention to a room full of donors, where he regaled them with his recent display of heroism (staring down that room full of black voters) and when speaking of those that booed him, he said: “if they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget, nothing is really free”. ——-“HE IS SUCH A BADASS!”—-
The lesson here is that when the Republican comes to the NAACP, DON’T BOO. It only fuels negative perceptions about the black community. It proves the false claims that we are politically intolerant, uncivil and rude. But even worse, it plays right into the hands of those that hate us most.