It's no surprise that the message of Mitt Romney's NAACP speech didn't go over well. But compounding Romney's problem was his tone:
"If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him," Romney said. When the crowd booed and hissed at him, Romney said, "You take a look."Romney was talking to people who take great pride in the election of Barack Obama, and who have a lot of emotional investment in his presidency -- and it's as if Romney was saying, "Hey, why don't you just ditch that bum and vote for a real African-American champion -- me!" He comes off as accusing them, to their faces, of having lousy judgment. Now, undoubtedly he thinks they do have lousy judgment -- but he could have tried showing a little more respect for what they believe, and then gently suggested that perhaps they should reconsider. Instead, his words were cocksure -- I know what you need better than you do -- and when he faced resistance, he really got his back up: "You take a look." Yeah, I dare ya!
And then there's this:
Just what was Romney expecting when he promised to repeal Obamacare in front of the NAACP? washingtonmonthly.com/political-anim…— Washington Monthly (@washmonthly) July 11, 2012
What was he expecting? Maybe he was expecting that everyone in America thinks what Republicans think -- that every non-defense government program is just money poured down a rathole, and that no one ever actually benefits from government social spending. (Pay no attention to those Social Security checks and Medicare payments and student loans and the like.) I think it just never occurred to him that he was talking to a group of people who actually believe government can do some good -- when was the last time he spoke to an audience that believed that? When was the last time he or anyone on his staff even met someone who believes that?
Or perhaps the whole speech was meant to be a belly-of-the-beast moment. Steve Benen:
...if I had to guess, I'd say Romney will now position himself as something of a victim -- he appeared in good faith, the argument goes, but that mean ol' NAACP audience booed him for standing by his beliefs.Yup -- and we'll also be told that black leaders are the real racists. We'll be told that the NAACP wants to keep African-Americans on the "liberal plantation." You won't hear this from the Romney campaign itself, but expect the right-wing noise machine to start trying to put the NAACP on the defensive in 5, 4, ...
It'll be nonsense, but it's likely to become the Republican talking point.