In one of the more bizarre pieces of political theater, uber white male Republican prototype and Presidential contender otherwise known as Mitt Romney did a speech in front of the NAACP where he basically gave a lecture on the evils of government handouts. It was, to say the least, a poorly received performance.
What exactly was team Romney thinking of when they decided to send him into deeply hostile territory with a deeply hostile speech? Charles Blow in the New York Times thinks the reasoning was cynical beyond belief:
The speech sounded like it was designed not for the audience in the room, but for those in Republican living rooms.
It sounded as though he wanted to show force and fearlessness: “Look folks, I walked into hostile territory unafraid and unbowed.” This was his version of a Daniel in the lions’ den speech.
Talk tough. Get heckled and booed for telling the truth to those who don’t want to hear it. Take the president down a couple of pegs in front of the most loyal segment of his supporters…
Given African American support for Obama is virtually untouchable, it's really the only logical explanation. And if you look at
Romney's speech, it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about his election strategy (ie. pandering to the crazy base). Writes
Romney can’t even be mean with any honesty. Even when he’s pandering to viciousness, ignorance and racism, it comes across like a scaly calculation. A guy who feels like he has to take a dump on the N.A.A.C.P. in Houston in order to connect with frustrated white yahoos everywhere else is a guy who has absolutely no social instincts at all. Someone like Jesse Helms at least had a genuine emotional connection with his crazy-mean-stupid audiences. But Mitt Romney has to think his way to the lowest common denominator, which is somehow so much worse....His vision of humanity is just a million tons of meat floating around in a sea of base calculations. He’s like a teenager who stays up all night thinking of a way to impress the prom queen, and what he comes up with is kicking a kid in a wheelchair. Instincts like those are probably what made him a great leveraged buyout specialist, but in a public figure? Man, is he a disaster. It’s really incredible theater, watching the Republicans talk themselves into this guy.
It's this type of soullessness that gives me a morbid fascination with modern US politics. We're now seeing the fruition of a system completely designed to churn out faceless, humorless, sociopaths that serve no other function other than to represent the interests of big money. Romney is something out of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, a fictional character who could only exists in a hyperbolic version of reality. Except he exists in this reality. And he could actually become President.