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Jul 25 2012

Scratch a Republican, find ‘a racist’

I have a friend who dates women who are… to put it bluntly, they’re plain. I don’t mean plain-looking (whatever that means) – some of them have been remarkably attractive; no, these women are just the personality equivalent of stale Wonderbread dipped in lukewarm water. They have no real personality characteristics that make them stand out, and are not even interesting enough to be shy – they aren’t afraid to speak, they just don’t have anything to say. They are the “regular” flavour of Jell-O. They are the white noise at the end of a cassette tape. They are the living avatar of the colour beige.

The United States seems to be deep in the throes of bland passion with their own featureless paramour: one Mitt Romney. The man is so boring that when sex tapes of him and his wife were discovered, the MPAA rated them ‘ZZZ’. Tostitos has made its famous salsa available in ‘hot’, ‘medium’, ‘mild’, and ‘Mitt’ (where ‘Mitt’ is just a can of tomato sauce that has been lightly rubbed against an onion). Homeopaths have described him as a ’30C human’.

He’s boring, I guess, is what I’m saying.

Here’s the funny thing though: even the most boring and soporific of Republicans can always be relied on to be secretly really fucking racist:

As the Republican presidential challenger accused Barack Obama of appeasing America’s enemies in his first foreign policy speech of the US general election campaign, advisers told The Daily Telegraph that he would abandon Mr Obama’s “Left-wing” coolness towards London.

In remarks that may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity, one suggested that Mr Romney was better placed to understand the depth of ties between the two countries than Mr Obama, whose father was from Africa.

“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”.

Get it? Because the President is just too damn black to appreciate England. You serve him tea? He pours it on the ground to commemorate his fallen homies! You invite him to play cricket? He tries to slam dunk the ball! You brutally colonize his ancestral homeland? He doesn’t appreciate it! Not Mitt, though. Mitt gets it, because Mitt’s white. Whiter than the cliffs of Dover. Just don’t ask him if you can bum a fag…

Now. To be fair. It was not candidate Romney who made this boneheadedly stupid remark. It was only a member of his campaign staff, speaking to a member of the media. This presents us with two options. Either a) the Romney campaign is staffed by people who are so grossly incompetent and blisteringly idiotic that they have no clue whatsoever about how crazily racist a statement like that is, or b) the Romney campaign (who is not running for office in England) is trying to feed some under-the-table fuel to the crazily racist part of their base.

I honestly can’t decide which option is more likely, but when I read stuff like this:

“Obama is a Left-winger,” said another. “He doesn’t value the Nato alliance as much, he’s very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him. He wouldn’t like singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.”

The two advisers said Mr Romney would seek to reinstate the Churchill bust displayed in the Oval Office by George W. Bush but returned to British diplomats by Mr Obama when he took office in 2009. One said Mr Romney viewed the move as “symbolically important” while the other said it was “just for starters”, adding: “He is naturally more Atlanticist”.

My ‘coded racism’ alarms go off. “Obama’s not one of us. He’s not a real patriot. He’s not a real American. He doesn’t value American traditions. He’s not an ‘Atlanticist’*.” Whether or not the racism dripping from those statements is intentional, it definitely reveals the mindset of a party that has never ceased trying to cast this President as a dangerous foreign influence hell-bent on the destruction of white America. And Mitt Romney is their nominee.

At least my rising nausea isn’t boring.

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*Would that make him a Pacificist?

67 comments

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  1. 1
    Ace of Sevens

    I don’t think that even qualifies as a dog whistle.

  2. 2
    CT

    Absolutely 100% true here in NC.

  3. 3
    Pen

    The guy has seriously misfired. First, a lot of the British people count it a courtesy to be left alone by the US, and value democratic presidents for that very characteristic. The ‘special relationship’ mostly means that Britain is America’s plant in Europe. Second, a lot of the British people are quite as aware of Obama’s British ancestry as his African one. Third, who cares if Obama ‘likes’ us or not. He’s the president of a foreign country, not my brother-in-law. All I care about is the acceptability of his foreign policy, which whilst not perfect, is a million times better than Bush’s.

    I suppose this piece of sliming has something to do with the fact that the mittens is coming to visit us. I can’t think why he should.

  4. 4
    embertine

    If you want to see what most of us Brits think of the “special relationship” that Mittens is allegedly going to be so interested in renovating, see Love Actually.

    And guess what? We have black people here too! I KNOW!!!

    I would pay good money to watch Obama slamdunk a ball into the crease during a cricket match. I love cricket, but that would be AWESOME.

  5. 5
    Marcelo

    Just want to say how this text was beautifully written.

    The beginning talking about boring people..

    They are the living avatar of the colour beige.

    Brilliant.

  6. 6
    Crommunist

    Do I have to watch ‘Love, Actually’? Can’t you just tell me?

  7. 7
    baal

    I avoid folks who self-identify as partisan republicans for pretty much this reason. It doesn’t usually take very long to hear the dog whistles if you listen to them. Mitt’s campaign has been more subtle than say Gingrich’s primary run was but Mitt’s campaign hasn’t had any shortage either. They seem to have even stepped up the coded language twice. Once when they bagged the nomination and again more recently with them getting new media advisers on staff.

  8. 8
    Alyson Miers

    The Prime Minister in Love Actually, played by Hugh Grant, shows how badass he is by refusing to play along with the POTUS. It’s a very genteel, very upper-crust sort of badassery, but still a substantial decision.

  9. 9
    eric

    Either a) the Romney campaign is staffed by people who are so grossly incompetent…

    a) is definitely true. Just consider the etch-a-sketch comment and earlier gaffes his campaign staff has made.

    Of course, this doesn’t mean b) is false. Its entirely possible that both a) and b) are true.

  10. 10
    Dunc

    Let’s just say that, for a lot of us, the so-called “special relationship” looks decidedly abusive.

  11. 11
    cheryl

    As an English person, I’m honestly insulted by the suggestion that a black president can’t ‘understand’ England.

    In a conversation the other day, talking about nationalities, I said that I was English, and also that it doesn’t really mean a hell of a lot because England was invaded by most of Europe at some point or another. Add that to our own history of slavery and conquest, and our immigration policy, and being English means nothing more than the place I was born. It certainly has nothing to do with the colour of anyone’s skin. Anyone who thinks that is deluding themselves and showing themselves for a bigot.

  12. 12
    Alyson Miers

    I think Mitt’s persona as a perfectly boring non-personality is a carefully crafted (though not very effective) mask meant to hide the fact that he’s awful and disgusting in every way.

  13. 13
    ButchKitties

    Here’s a shortcut to the relevant part of the movie.

  14. 14
    hall-of-rage

    I know I asked you to get out from between NY and MA, but it seems harsh to go into NC where you take up more than a tenth of the space!

    (appreciate your comment seriously, hope you don’t mind the joke)

  15. 15
    John Horstman

    Hmm, I always thought our ‘special relationship’ (it’s special!) with the UK was the cultural equivalent of trying to impress dad by outdoing him, motivated by a massive inferiority complex (hence the contradictory authoritarian and individualist aspects of ‘American culture’).

    We love you Britain, please love us back! We’re so sorry for changing the spellings of words and especially sorry for dropping that sweet posh accent. We’re not sorry for abandoning the monarchy, though; heriditary rule is wack, even if it is mostly symbolic at this point.

  16. 16
    John Horstman

    Yeah, we get flashes of it when he gets flustered in interviews and the mask cracks. The guy’s an avatar of privilege, and he REALLY doesn’t like people questioning him or saying, “No.”

  17. 17
    Ganner

    First two paragraphs are pure gold, something that definitely made me grin in an otherwise disturbing post.

  18. 18
    sambarge

    As a Canadian, I know that whenever I hear about a “special” relationship between the PM and the US Pres., it means that Canada is getting screwed for US interests again and the PM is going to be rewarded for it once he’s out of office.

    Is that just a Canadian thing or do Brits feel that way too?

    As for Mitt being “naturally” more of an Atlanticist (whatever the heck that is?) these folks should look at a world map before they reference geography. Do they think the Atlantic Ocean ends at Britain or even Europe? The whole western seaboard of Africa is on the Atlantic. That’s right, Romney campaign; black people are touching the Atlantic Ocean even as I type!

  19. 19
    Kevin

    Romney’s people said he was going abroad to campaign for votes from US citizens living abroad.

    Personally, I think he’s just going to visit his money.

  20. 20
    sumdum

    I bet somewhere along that immense coast right now, there’s a black man making love to his girl, right in the sea spray. The horror!

  21. 21
    usingreason

    a) the Romney campaign is staffed by people who are so grossly incompetent…

    Is obvious considering what he said in front of the NAACP; going there was stupid and talking about rescinding Obamacare was even more stupid. As far as the Atlanticist crap, I guess they are unaware that Africa is on the Atlantic just a bit; although Kenya is on the Indian Ocean, or is it the Arabic Sea? OMG, Obama is a Arabist!!!

  22. 22
    ashleymoore

    I also love the idea that Obama is too ‘left-wing’ to understand the UK. Only Romney is right-wing enough to understand a country that has universal health care, gun controls so strict that most police don’t even carry them, forced subscription to public television and one of the largest public transport systems in the world.

  23. 23
    Crommunist

    Hot damn, this comment wins.

  24. 24
    Onamission5

    Apparently Mitten’s staffer is entirely unaware that there is such a person as a black Brit. More than one, even. Has been for ages.

    *headdesk*

    My brain read the word Atlanticist and immediately defined it as someone who thinks the Atlantic ocean is the best ocean ever and wants it to take over the world. I am against that, for obvious reasons, not the least of which that I’m not that great of a swimmer, get sick on boats and can’t eat shellfish. It’s dry land for me, thanks but no thanks.

  25. 25
    CT

    No, I don’t mind your joke, mainly because I don’t understand it. :) There’s very little that could be said about NC that I would be able to be offended by since the state as a whole has decided to become the biggest shithole on the east coast.

  26. 26
    CT

    are you saying there are black people in Canadia? cuz the teabag asshats here in NC who have declared they are moving there if the black man wins again might be upset when they find out. /snark

  27. 27
    Crommunist

    Oh it’s REALLY easy to find places without black people in Canada. Their (our) numbers are proportionally much smaller, and demographic spread isn’t exactly even. Read more here

  28. 28
    CT

    It’s pretty easy to find them here also. They are called gated communities. /more snark

    But I see what you’re saying, I’ll peruse that link when I’m home. Work, it just fricking interferes with everything. ;)

  29. 29
    CT

    Oddly enough, I just read an article about his NAACP visit. The columnist pointed out that Mittens wasn’t there for the NAACP, he was there for the white moderates that don’t like the teabag racist party line so likely won’t vote for anyone who acts like those asshats. [meta] Mittens was there for the people who weren’t there but will hear about him being there, like that means shit.

  30. 30
    astro

    Reminds me of a favorite book title by Hanna Arendt: The Banality of Evil

  31. 31
    magicthighs

    Rmoney understands England better, because Obama’s father came from Africa. Kenya to be more precise. Which was a British colony.

  32. 32
    CT

    Or any Terry Pratchett novel. Jingo comes to mind as the forefront of an exploration of the banal evil idea. His latest Snuff also explores it.

  33. 33
    PatrickG

    Homeopaths have described him as a ’30C human’.

    Coffee. Nose. Keyboard.

    It’s a bad sequence. Well played, sir.

  34. 34
    mythbri

    *Slow Clap*

  35. 35
    mythbri

    Tostitos has made its famous salsa available in ‘hot’, ‘medium’, ‘mild’, and ‘Mitt’ (where ‘Mitt’ is just a can of tomato sauce that has been lightly rubbed against an onion).

    This made me LOL, because I’m actually an ex-Mormon, living in Utah, and I can’t tell you how true this statement is. Mitt particularly, of course, but there is definitely a feeling that “Bland is my favorite flavor” here.

  36. 36
    dianne

    black man making love to his girl

    I rather hope it’s a black man making love to his woman, because otherwise there are some statutory rape laws that are going to come into play here. A little awareness of sexist language and infantilization of women, especially black women, please.

  37. 37
    mythbri

    Jingo is amazing. So is Terry Pratchett. So are you, for bringing him up in conversation.

  38. 38
    dianne

    No offense meant to Brits or Canadians, but we in the US fought two wars to avoid being British. The “special relationship” can go hang for all I care. In this year of the anniversary of the war of 1812, why is Mitt making up to the people who burned Washington, hum?

  39. 39
    sambarge

    No offense taken. But I feel I need to point out that you sort of lost one of those wars and the Brits still let you live.

    Don’t mind me, as a Canadian I’m obliged to remind Americans of the War of 1812 at every opportunity. They’ll take away my passport if I don’t.

  40. 40
    CT

    :: blush :: really, it’s just that his work is so accessible and easily understood, and, well, I’m a Pratchett whore and think that the world would be improved by everyone reading his work.

  41. 41
    dianne

    But I feel I need to point out that you sort of lost one of those wars and the Brits still let you live.

    Only because they were too busy fighting the real war (the one with France) to bother with some little skirmish in the colonies. We all know that they’re planning to come back and finish the job some day…

    Actually, there was a “how to invade Canada if we need to” plan in the US through at least the 1920s. Could still be one for all I know. I am fond of the Canadian contingency plan should that occur, which, if I understand it was something like: 1. Counter-invade and rip up all the roads leading to Canada we can get to. 2. Retreat north. 3. Hope the Brits save our asses. It probably works best if the invasion occurs during the winter.

  42. 42
    whiskeyjack

    As an aside, does anyone know why the bust of Churchill was returned? I’m just curious.

  43. 43
    mythbri

    @CT

    I completely agree. In fact, one could even start a Terry Pratchett religion, which runs exactly counter to everything he writes about. If there was such a religion, however, I suspect there would be only two commandments:

    1. Think for yourself.

    2. Don’t treat other people as things.

  44. 44
    Crommunist

    In all likelihood, it was returned because he put a bust of MLK in his office in its place, and since it was on loan from England the proper thing to do was return it (rather than put it in the basement or something).

  45. 45
    Pen

    Agreeing also.

  46. 46
    Jadehawk

    I had exactly the same thought. Clearly no one explained to these clowns that Africa is also across the Atlantic from the US

  47. 47
    left0ver1under

    In 2008, the wingnuts blathered about Obama being “The One”, aka the “antichrist”. Such talk was uttered to incite assassination attempts, though thankfully they never amounted to more than talk (e.g. the want ad wishing Obama to “follow in the footsteps” of Kennedy and Lincoln, or the “let his days be few” bible quote).

    Failing in 1994 (re: vans up in the basement carpark) didn’t stop Osama bin Laden from trying again in 2001. In the same way, just because the “antichrist” talk didn’t lead to assassination, it’s not going to stop the rightwingnuts from trying other inflammatory speech, such as calling Obama a traitor or foreigner…which is ironic, considering the last two republican candidates. Romney hides money on Swiss bank accounts and his father was born in Mexico. McCain gave up intelligence to the Vietcong without being tortured, and McCain was born in Panama.

  48. 48
    Kes

    Also, his mother, Ann Dunham (who never seems to get a mention from anybody at all, barring a few snide right-wing-nut comments about her marital history and general “hippiness”) was, y’know, *really* Anglo-Saxon. I mean, her last name was *Dunham*, it’s not like she was mostly-German or mostly-Italian or something.

  49. 49
    sceptinurse

    Well, except for the forced television subscription, it sounds pretty good. Unfortunately I don’t think they’d let me immigrate there.

  50. 50
    northierthanthou

    Lotta white sheets in those closets.

  51. 51
    smrnda

    I can’t believe there is a politician making a point of being “Anglo-Saxon.” It sounds like something that a politician would have said in the 19th century, contrasting the “Anglo-Saxon” with those dirty immigrant Slavs and Poles and Italians. It just doesn’t strike me as racist, but a racist phrase from another century. It’s not just ‘white’ it’s ANGLO SAXON.

  52. 52
    smhll

    Atlantacist? Wow. I live on the Pacific Rim, and I heard some people call this the Pacific Century. I guess the people fronting on the Atlantic feel like their Right Coast privilege is threatened? Ooh, Hawaii is so exotic and all the peeps in California and British Columbia and points in between are so nutty. Why, they don’t even attend the correct prep schools.

    (My apologies to the nicer Atlantic Seaboard folks for broadbrushing with my caricature.)

  53. 53
    Dianne

    Good point. It’s strange, now that you mention it, because most of the US Atlantic seaboard-at least the northern part of it-is not traditional Romney voting material. Traditionally, Republicans bad mouth the eastern seaboard as effete liberals unlike “real” Americans in the midwest and south.

  54. 54
    CT Chimako.27

    A lot of the south is on the east coast. Arguably, since I don’t have time to look at mileage, there may be more ‘south’ on the east coast than ‘north’.

  55. 55
    Dianne

    DC is traditionally known as the city of northern hospitality and southern efficiency, reflecting its position as the southern end of the north and the northern end of the south. Florida probably makes the bulk of the Atlantic “southern” though.

  56. 56
    leilah

    Thanks for the link to the Black Canadians articles – those are some great reading. I’m an immigrant to Canada from the US, so I never even got the whitewashed Canadian history… just the US version where Canada doesn’t come in to it at all. I’m pretty shocked to find all of that out, as I really do see Canada as so much nicer than the US – it’s good to find out where my own blind spots are.

  57. 57
    Crommunist

    I am inordinately proud of that series. Yes, it’s just me reading a book and then blogging about it, but considering the fact that almost none of the contents of that book are part of mainstream conversation about Canadian history, I am still going to call it a ‘win’.

  58. 58
    chrisj

    It’s actually slightly more complicated than that. If you want to watch any tv, then you need to pay the annual BBC support fee (TV license). But if you don’t watch live TV, there’s no need to have a license. The fee-collecting organisation used to have a (well-earned) bad reputation for bullying people, but these days they simply send you a letter every couple of years asking you to visit their website and type in a code if you’re still not using a TV. I can live with that, and frankly there are days when I think about giving the BBC the money even though I don’t watch any TV.

  59. 59
    David Hart

    Actually, even the forced TV subscription is pretty good on balance – you get an organisation that has the budget to put out good quality stuff, with no advert breaks, which I reckon is worth paying a little extra for.

  60. 60
    Nathaniel Frein

    Wow, that cheered me up after reading this blog. Ty hall :D

    CT, Hall-of-rage is making a pun on the fact that your nym is also the state code for Connecticut.

  61. 61
    lilandra

    Palin answered the same lack of foreign experience criticism by saying she could see Russian from her backyard. Romney claims he is whiter than his opponent. Brilliant.

  62. 62
    salo

    *Would that make him a Pacificist?

    I think that comment just made my day!

    Seriously though: I think you are spot on that it’s either a case of covert-but-not racism or just stupidity. What saddens me is that it doesn’t really matter which one it is in the sense that, either way, the Republican base will still rally behind the statement.

  63. 63
    CT

    HA! lol okay, I get it. it had me worried.

  64. 64
    usingreason

    Sounds
    Possible
    I am
    Not buying

  65. 65
    auntbenjy

    Sorry if you’ve seen this before:

    http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/mitt-romney-writes-erotic-fiction-about-himself

    Just felt the need to share.

  66. 66
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    Racist? Sheeeeeet I wish I wasn’t. I try not to be.

    Human nature?

    Honestly, I treat people equally. Sometimes its hard not to feel or think certain things that I wish I didn’t.

    I’m sure there’s a great many better at it than me.

    Apologies to all I’ve failed.

    I try to become a better person. I’ll keep trying.

    I ain’t even a Republican. We don’t have ‘em here in Oz.

    @ Crommunist : Thankyou. I’m learning and I’m human and, well, I appreciate what you write and the insight you give everyone. If I can ever help you with anything, just say & I’ll do whatever I can to help.

  67. 67
    dianne

    Ah, irony. Romney goes to Britain and pisses them off. In contrast, nearly everyone in Europe I’ve talked to (admittedly few of them were Brits) had an at least semi-good opinion of Obama.

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