By Bob Cesca: Somehow, the team of CG animators who work on the Mitt Romney uncanny valley animations that substitute for an actual Republican candidate continue to let this jittery, awkward proto-human speak without a carefully scripted speeches uploaded to his neural network.
Off the top of my head there’s Romney’s spastic “amber waves of grain” joke in which he mused out loud whether Iowa corn can be considered an “amber wave of grain.” There’s his Brick Tamland “I love cars” and “I love trees” series of nonsensically literal observations. Most recently, there’s the Phil-Hartman-as-Frankenstein (and accidentally hilarious) description of a glass of lemonade: “Lemon. Wet. Good.” I’m not making that up. Romney really described lemonade as, “Lemon. Wet. Good.”
But yesterday, in the wake of being booed during an address to the NAACP, Romney popped off with yet another weird diatribe. This time, however, it seemed a little more calculated to those of us who aware of the reoccurring use of the Southern Strategy.
When Romney noted that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act, the NAACP audience understandably booed the remark. I’m reasonably certain that the “repeal Obamacare” line would be booed by nearly everyone who wasn’t a die hard Romney supporter (yes, there are a few die hard Romney drones) since most Americans agree with nearly all of the provisions in the law, including Republicans and independents, and, as a whole, support for the law is evenly split.
So here’s what Romney said after the speech in response to the booing:
“Remind them of this, if they want more free stuff from the government tell them to go vote for the other guy — more free stuff. But don’t forget nothing is really free.”
Yes, he really said that.
Southern Strategy. Stupid. Bad.
It was only a matter of time before Romney engaged in this kind of racist dogwhistle politics that’s intended to fire up the resentful white Republican base. Every election season, the party just can’t help itself: demonize minorities, pump up the angry whites and win. Honestly, I thought Romney would wait until perhaps after the conventions to play this card, but there it is. Blacks want handouts.
Whether or not this was prepared ahead of time doesn’t really matter — although it seemed spontaneous. Romney totally dunked his bulbous noggin into the repulsive “welfare queens” meme by deciding that the best way to respond to being booed by African Americans is to suggest they’re only interested in voting for the candidate who will give them free stuff. It’s the most insidious brand of Republican politics — the assumption that blacks are lazy and shiftless, sucking off the government teat instead of working hard and earning a living without the immoral use of food stamps, welfare and, clearly, Obamacare.
All of this coming from a candidate who exploits massive tax loopholes and off shore accounts to enhance his income. Romney’s friends in corporate America are actually far more guilty of receiving free stuff. The following numbers are a few years old, but just as telling:
About $59 billion is spent on traditional social welfare programs. $92 billion is spent on corporate subsidies. So, the government spent 50% more on corporate welfare than it did on food stamps and housing assistance in 2006.
When you see a spiffy white guy in the tailored suit (sort of like Mitt Romney) talking into his douchey Bluetooth Deep Space Nine earpiece, it’s very likely he’s the welfare queen on his way to cast a ballot for a Republican sugar daddy. Most of the corporations that receive handouts from the government, like Big Oil, are earning record profits and don’t even need the money. In fact, a couple months ago, Senate Republicans blocked the elimination of $20 billion in oil subsidies to obviously starving corporations like BP, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron. The top five biggest welfare queens in this sector earned over a trillion dollars in profits during 2011. And yet they need your money.
The NAACP crowd weren’t clamoring for free stuff. They, like most of us, want to live in a nation where getting sick or injured won’t bankrupt them. They booed Mitt Romney because he insisted upon repealing a law that helps Americans to get medical treatment without going broke — a law that’s very similar to the law that Romney himself signed in Massachusetts. So they booed shitty policy and a hypocritical, lying Republican who predictably reacted by leaning on the Southern Strategy switch. Romney deserved it — and a lot more.