Friday, August 24, 2012
Mitt Romney Makes a Birther Joke
First things first--that's not cool. I linked to Buzzfeed's claim from the Romney campaign that the remark was unplanned when blogging about it at Rumproast, but I think the main point is that "unplanned" doesn't mean "not calculated". Whether Romney is pandering to the hard-core right wing base that might still be skeptical about his conservative bona fides or trolling for white voter support by playing up Obama's "otherness", it's a cheap shot. I don't believe Mitt Romney thinks that Barack Obama is not an American, but by joking about it in the way he did, he is pointing out something about himself.
Mitt Romney was signifying "Look, I have white privilege."
This really wasn't something that needed to be said in so many words. Romney looks like the mascot for white privilege. But what he did say in so many words was "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate." And while it's not technically true (birth certificates are required to do things like get state ID, and he was asked for his birth certificate by a Boston Globe reporter to confirm that his middle name was, in fact., Mitt), it is true in the sense that his identity as an American hasn't been put in doubt.
That's a privilege that Obama hasn't had. And even though President Obama has released his birth certificate, the issue is being kept alive by Romney's own party, who will be featuring several birthers at the RNC next week. Romney may claim that he's "J/K" (insert trollface), but would he go ahead and tell the truth to the racists, frauds, and attention-seeking whackadoodles inside that ever-shrinking big tent the GOP has?
Probably not without a wink and one of those humor-free chuckles.
I definitely see that as a character issue.