NOTE: I linked to the Meet the Press transcript of Mitt’s interview with Russert.
COMMENTARY | The fallout from Mitt Romney’s crass “birther” remark continued on Monday when Chris Matthews tore into Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. According to The Hill, Matthews accused Romney of playing the race card.
Romney’s gaffe came during a campaign stop in Michigan, one of at least two states, including Massachusetts, Romney claims as home.
“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” he said. “They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.”
Romney later said he was joking, but the second sentence of his remark belies the idea that it was anything but red meat thrown to birther fanatics. Birthers believe that Barack Obama is foreign-born and his birth certificate is fake.
“That cheap shot about ‘I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate’ was awful,” Matthews told Priebus. “It is an embarrassment to your party to play that card.”
Romney’s remark was a slap in the face not to just Obama and immigrants but to all fair-minded Americans.
Mitt Romney’s vote for president will be cast by a Massachusetts Democratic elector when the Electoral College convenes in December. This is part of what is means to be an American citizen, where there is no direct election of the nation’s highest office.
Obama leads Romney in Massachusetts by 18.7 points in RealClearPolitics’s average of four polls, making it certain the Commonwealth’s 11 presidential electors will vote for Bay Stater Romney’s rival. Those electors were chosen at the Massachusetts Democratic Steering Committee (DSC) meeting on Aug. 23 I attended as a journalist.
There were 24 men and women vying for the 11 spots. One of the candidates was social worker Nazda Alam, a Bangladeshi-American who also is Muslim.
No one asked her for her birth certificate.
Democrats have reached out to people from diverse groups to create a party that represents 21st century America. Criticized by John McCain for failing to reach out to Latinos, Romney’s pitch seems wholly crated to white people and designed to capitalize on the anxieties of working class whites. Those anxieties often manifest themselves as a disdain with “The Other.”
Romney’s campaign credo seems to be that it is better to direct white animosity towards minorities, gays and women than toward the rich, the one class of Americans Romney truly represents.
Given Romney’s family background, the remark is doubly despicable.
The Romneys are a member of a church that long has been vilified as a “cult.” Even more tellingly, Mitt also is the son of George Romney.
There was some question when Mitt’s father ran for the Republican Party’s 1968 presidential nomination about whether he was eligible. George was born in Mexico, the grandson of a Mormon polygamist who had crossed the border when the Mormon Church outlawed the practice.
A liberal “Rockefeller Republican”, George Romney walked out of the 1964 GOP convention that nominated ultra-conservative Barry Goldwater as president. In a Dec. 16, 2007, interview with Tim Russert, Mitt explained his father’s rejection of the ’64 ticket as occurring “in part because Barry Goldwater in his speech gave my dad the impression that he was someone who would be weak on civil rights.”
It’s a shame George’s son is not a man of similar principle.