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Jul 27 2012

Romney Adviser Tries to Otherize Obama

Mitt Romney is on an overseas tour, beginning in London, and his advisers are talking to the British media. One of them joined the loony right’s constant attempts to otherize Obama, to pretend that he’s anti-American and even anti-white and anti-European.

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”.

The campaign is now claiming that this doesn’t reflect Romney’s views:

Mitt Romney’s campaign disputed a report in The Telegraph in which an unnamed adviser suggested that the Republican nominee better understands the American relationship with Great Britain than does President Obama, whose father was born in Africa.

“It’s not true,’’ said campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”

This is a classic dog whistle, a tribal signal that Romney is a Real American and Obama is not. It’s standard rhetoric for the far right and is right in the wheelhouse of at least some of Romney’s advisers, like John Bolton. And it may well be a case of good cop/bad cop — an intentional and anonymous leak, denied for political purposes. Signal sent, signal denied.

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  1. 1
    Raging Bee

    “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney…

    Didn’t Romney once say Britain was a tiny island unworthy of our attention?

    Oh well, at least he’s got the BNP on board. Maybe he can get some attention at the next Question Time…

  2. 2
    busterggi

    My grandparents came from Poland and the Ukraine so I guess Mitt doesn’t consider me a real American either.

  3. 3
    W. Kevin Vicklund

    Particularly funny, given that many of the birthers claim Obama’s not eligible for the Presidency due to the fact that he could have claimed British(? – I’m a little fuzzy on the correct term for this case) citizenship due to his father’s nationality.

  4. 4
    Gvlgeologist, FCD

    My wife says that the Repubs will say anything to win. I thought, at one time, that she was wrong.

    No lie is too large for them. No blow too low.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    abb3w

    My impression is that it is more likely to represent some divisions within the Romney camp. Romney seems a centrist Moneycon; he wants power, he wants money, and he’ll pitch any BS at the electorate that gets him the majority of votes. The remark seems to come from a Xenocon, which faction are supporting Romney as the best chance to get the black guy out of the White House. Romney, how doesn’t seem particularly interested in race or nationality, one way or the other; someone who won’t screw over foreigners any worse than he does Americans. However, he’s perfectly willing to take the Xenocon support as long as they don’t mess up his election campaign.

    So, Xenocon is working for the campaign, and expresses his own idiot ideas in dog-whistle language; the Moneycons stomp on this, because they recognize the thinly-veiled bigotry pisses off moderates that they can’t afford to lose — or rather, who will require throwing a lot more ad dollars about to keep from losing if they don’t.

    I’m not sure if it’s still considered Good-Cop/Bad-Cop when it’s not intentionally co-ordinated.

  7. 7
    yoav

    “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”

    At any given time this statement is true for a significant number of, previously held Etch-A-Sketched, mitten’s positions.

  8. 8
    Spanish Inquisitor

    He thinks he’s a freakin’ blue-blood patrician. Hey! Mitt! We’re ALL mutts over here. Get off your high dressage horse and get your nose out of the air.

  9. 9
    Crommunist

    The obvious and odious racism doesn’t even come close to being the whole problem with this bizarre statement.

  10. 10
    interrobang

    Tries? Give me a break, painting him as “Other” has been the cornerstone of the Republican strategy against him since he won the election. This isn’t even close to being the first example from RMoney’s campaign, either.

  11. 11
    slc1

    This would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Obama’s father was a British citizen who traveled on a British passport. As Vicklund @3 says, Obama could have claimed British citizenship. Just, by the way, as Donald Trump could have claimed British citizenship as his mother was British.

  12. 12
    Neil Rickert

    Apparently, this is getting “Mitt the twit” into British headlines.

  13. 13
    davidct

    It is reveling how these patriots seem willing to disrespect the office of the president now that it is occupied by a black man. One more reason not to vote for Gordon”Mitt”Geko. He might just as well have stated that the Brits would not have to deal with a Wog if he is elected. Mitt has such class.

  14. 14
    Brain Hertz

    As Crommunist explains, suggesting that Britons are primarily “Anglo-Saxon” is ridiculously off-base, but it’s even more wrong than the linked post suggests. Even prior to the mid 20th century, Britons were a mix of not just Anglo-Saxons, but Celts (including several sub-tribes listed), Picts, Britons (duh), Jutes, Normans, Gauls, Romans and Vikings. And that list only gets you up to the dark ages… the North of England is probably more racially influenced by Vikings than Anglo-Saxons.

  15. 15
    stevebowen

    He’s not made any friends over here, when a conservative priminister is publicly ripping the piss out of a republican candidate you know he will get no foreign policy cred from the UK

  16. 16
    Christoph Burschka

    Stuff like this makes me remember Lee Atwater’s quote. The cornerstone of the Republican platform is racism.

  17. 17
    Dr X

    @bustergii:

    My grandparents came from Poland and the Ukraine so I guess Mitt doesn’t consider me a real American either.

    Actually, I think most of us “ethnics” were granted honorary whiteness by the Republican Party when Nixon was trying to grab the Northern working class vote that he’d badly lost to Kennedy in 1960. That makes us almost Real Americans provided we don’t say anything disagreeable. More recently, even Jews have been made Honorary Real Americans–the human equivalent of Real Cheese Food. And these days you can be of Anglo-Saxon ancestry and DeRealized if you support a darkie Democrat, gays or any Democrat for that matter.

  18. 18
    conway

    All four of my grandparents were born in Ireland. My special relationship with England is that they think I am worthy of only starvation and extermination and that my history and literature should be erased.

    I cordially invite them to blow me.

  19. 19
    d cwilson

    Gvlgeologist, FCD:

    Not only will they say anything, they will convince themselves that it is true.

  20. 20
    lpetrich

    British papers blast Mitt Romney – Political Hotsheet – CBS News Despite his claim of superior credentials for relating to the UK, he fumbled incredibly badly, so badly that some UK journalists have compared him to Sarah Palin.

  21. 21
    coryat

    damn foreigner Angles and Saxons!

  22. 22
    davem

    We have had speeches from Mitt and Michelle Obama on UK TV these last few days. Romney comes across as an idiot, totally out of touch. He’s the sort of guy who might pull 4% of the vote here if he were racist enough. Michelle Obama, on the other hand, comes across as eloquent, with a pleasant personality. Mitt looks worse every time Michelle opens her mouth.

  23. 23
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    This is a classic dog whistle, a tribal signal that Romney is a Real American ..

    But, but, but Mittens izz one’o’dem (whisper) Mawrmons! He can’t be a real ‘merikkan eida!

    /Poe.

  24. 24
    dingojack

    And what does the market think? I’m glad you asked!*

    Intrade today
    Winner of the 2012 US Presidential Election:

    Party
    Democratic: 56.643% (up by 0.563% since 13 July). Lead by 13.586%.
    Republican: 43.067% (down by 0.1591% ” ” “).
    other: 0.3% (down by 0.4038% ” ” “).

    Individual
    Obama: 58.547% (up by 1.477% since 13 July). Lead by 17.093%
    Romney: 41.453% (Down by 1.477% ” ” “).

    [Who needs the Olympics?
    Only 101 days to go! Aren't you excited? @@]

    Dingo
    —–
    * Hey Stevo, do you remember The Curiosity Show?

  25. 25
    dingojack

    “Hello (hello hello)
    Is there anybody in there?
    Just nod if you can hear me
    Is there anyone home?”

    Dingo

  26. 26
    hunter

    If Romney and his campaign staff hadn’t already proven themselves inept, I could almost think this was deliberate: anonymous staffer says something racist, Romney’s “official” campaign disavows it, but it’s out there and it’s never going back in the box.

  1. 27
    Mitt Romney Would Never Play the Race Card « Foster Disbelief

    [...] again, big thanks to my favorite blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars for this [...]

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