Thursday, July 26, 2012

Romney adviser: Obama doesn't understand our Anglo-Saxon heritage

As GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney crossed the big pond for Great Britain -- a trip to demonstrate his  foreign policy chops -- one of his foreign policy advisers decided to add his two cents on Obama's lack of historical understanding of the special bond between England and USA:

“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr. Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
Although Romney disavowed this quote, it is to be noted that no one was identified, fired or kicked off his foreign policy team -- publicly of course. This just further underscores how -- considering the growing diversity of the American electorate -- the GOP party is determined to double down on the small tent rhetoric and ideology.

As our country becomes more multi-cultured -- remember the big melting pot -- the GOP has become more monolithic. As Lincoln Mitchell noted:

American politics is increasingly defined by a two party system where one party, albeit imperfectly and generally not easily, reflects the racial, ethnic and other diversity, tensions and strength that is central to 21st century America, while the other is increasingly simply a party of white, heavily Christian Americans. Today Americans who are non-white, non-Christian or non-straight are far more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. This is true at the level of ordinary voters, grassroots activists and elected officials.
Although this can easily be seen either through studying data or anecdotally from looking at campaign events for both parties, it is often unstated or even considered inappropriate or playing the race card to point this out. Republicans, for their part, often speak vaguely about being a "big tent" party or of how they need to reach out beyond their base, but these words are rarely supported by any actions; and these actions even more rarely manage to persuade, for example, gays, Muslims or Latinos to support the Republican Party. source

It is important to note: this Anglo-Saxon comment was stated to and reported by a conservative British paper. Apparently, the Romney adviser thought he was among friends and felt comfortable to let down his hair.

The GOP has admittedly used racial polarization/Southern strategy/wedge issues to divide the electorate. They often send coded message to Tea Party types in a wink and a nod indicating we are on your side. But as their so-called base continues to shrink, one must ask: Is this good politics?

Charles Blow in an NY Times opinion answers:

If Romney’s team is suggesting that someone in the campaign could have said it without Romney’s knowledge or blessing, then the campaign should seek to identify the adviser and dismiss him or her from any role in promoting Romney’s candidacy.
But as is often the case with this campaign and with the modern Republican Party, Romney’s team stopped short of issuing a complete repudiation and demanding a total cleansing of these poisonous ideas from their ranks.
The phrases “if anyone said,” and “weren’t reflecting the views” are weak and amorphous and don’t go far enough towards condemnation.
The reason is simple: the Republican Party benefits from this bitterness. Not all Republicans are intolerant, but the intolerant seem to have found a home under their tent. And instead of chasing the intolerant out, the party turns a blind eye — or worse, gives a full embrace — and counts up their votes.
Take Romney’s relationship with Donald Trump. Trump, one of America’s most prominent and vocal birthers, is also a Romney surrogate and major fundraiser.  Just last week, after Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz. held a press conference to announce that he believed that the birth certificate that the president supplied is fake, Trump went on a radio show hosted by Fox’s Sean Hannity to say: “The fact is Sheriff Arpaio is, in my opinion, correct.”
The problem with courting or even countenancing the fringe is that it’s an incredibly short-sighted strategy. With every new gaffe the gulf between the Republican Party and our ever-diversifying nation grows.
As The Atlantic’s Max Fisher pointed out, assuming that the term Anglo-Saxon is a “colloquialism for the English people”:
In the 2000 U.S. census, only 8.7 percent of Americans identify their ancestry as English, which is ranked fourth behind German, Irish, and African-American.
The bipartisan National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund projects that in November the Latino vote will be almost 26 percent higher than it was in 2008. That would be a staggering increase.
No amount of corporate money and voter suppression can hold back the demographic tide washing over this country. As each of these gaffes further reaffirms the Republican Party’s hostility to minorities, the shorter the party’s lifespan becomes.
I for one don’t believe that this is a coordinated effort. It’s the seepage from a hateful few slipping in like water through a compromised dam. But it will not be enough for the Republicans to plug the holes. They must drain the reservoir. source

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