Will right-wing racism derail the Romney campaign?
There’s been a lot of talk about outside factors that could conceivably doom President Obama’s chances at re-election. The most recent theory is that Europe’s debt crisis may spur destabilization of banks, which would send unemployment rates soaring and cause the kind of global economic crisis sure to hurdle an already slow U.S. recovery — and Obama’s prospects of besting Mitt Romney in November to boot.
Things are slightly looking up after pro-bailout candidates in Greece fared well in a recent election, so I guess the next “OMG! OBAMA MAY LOSE IT ALL ‘CAUSE OF….” is to be determined.
In the meantime, since speculating is currently all the rage, let’s look at the newest poster child of indecisiveness and how he, too, has plenty of “this might hurt me” scenarios out there — and you don’t have to travel over the pond to find his potential indirect weakness. Romney tried super duper hard to pretend he could rock with the ultra-right views of the more ardent bloc of his party during the Republican presidential primary, but now that he has moved on to the general election he wants to seem as middle-of-the-road as possible.
Some of his Republican brethren surely are not aiding him in that cause with their antics netting national headlines — particularly the racist ones. Say the Montana Republican Party, who over the weekend at their state convention showcased a bullet-ridden outhouse they described as the “Obama Presidential Library.” Delegates even took pictures with the outhouse, which featured a “fake birth certificate.”
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Even more despicable was the fact that the outhouse made sexual references to first lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Shout out to the birthers, the simpletons who just won’t fall through a well no matter how hard I wish for it.
In response to the criticism, State Republican Chairman Will Deschamps said: “It’s not something I’m going to agonize over. Some of that stuff is not real good taste. We do have a president of the United States, and we have to honor that.”
How about acknowledging that he was born in this country, doesn’t warrant shooting, and well…not talking disrespectfully about his wife, cabinet members, and fellow Democratic leaders?
Make no mistake: I don’t think a stupid story like this will ruin Romney. However, this public display of prejudice is just one of several instances that have hit the news cycle in mere weeks. There is also that big-mouth birther, Donald Trump, who recycled yesteryear’s conspiracy theory — which I’m sure alienated voters long tired of such an asinine critique of the president. Likewise, the reported proposal calling on Chicago billionaire Joe Ricketts to spend $10 million on a negative ad campaign aimed at Obama centered on Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
Additionally, there are quite a few members of the GOP yammering about “amnesty” for “illegal immigrants” in light of President Obama’s executive order that eases the pressure on young undocumented immigrants to avoid deportation and helps them apply for work permits. This comes at a time when there may be as many as two million more Latino voters in 2012 than 2008.
It’s hard not to imagine certain conservatives will waver on these lines of attacks…or in some cases “pranks” as some Montanans would call them. That is, unless they get a little nudge to quiet down.
Mitt Romney may not have orchestrated any of these ill-advised stunts, but they do come from his party and as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he is the de facto head of it. That leads him in a precarious position: Does he politely inform the loonier side of the GOP aisle to tone down the rhetoric? It would certainly show much needed symptoms of a spine. At the same time, though, he runs the risk of irking a base that’s already not especially impressed by him.
What to do? What to do? Better decide soon, Mittens. You know those more reckless Republicans only love to rant more once they notice people are watching. And for all of Obama’s doomsday scenarios, allowing Joe and Yokel to soil your center-right posturing doesn’t sound all that promising for you either.
Follow Michael Arceneaux at @youngsinick