An item quoting a Romney adviser in The Telegraph might be summed up as saying, “Mitt Romney is the white candidate and Barack Obama is not.” Unlike the Romney campaign, I realize that promoting my interpretation as the actual statement would be unfair, so here is the context of the report:
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”.
This is hardly an isolated moment. We’ve had Romney refer to Obama’s policies as extraordinarily foreign while campaigning in Pennsylvania: “Celebrating success instead of attacking it and denigrating making America strong. That’s the right course for the country. His course is extraordinarily foreign.” Romney surrogate John Sununu has expressed similar beliefs, saying Obama “has no idea how the American system functions, and we shouldn’t be surprised about that, because he spent his early years in Hawaii smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia, another set of years in Indonesia, and, frankly, when he came to the U.S. he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and then got into politics in Chicago.”
We have already seen evidence of Romney’s homophobia. These statements raise questions as to the degree to which racism also permeates the campaign, as with much of the conservative movement.
Romney’s attempts to appeal to an Anglo-Saxon heritage also makes me wonder about his current thought about France. In 2007 there were reports that Romney planned to use France-bashing as part of his campaign, including using the slogan “First, not France.”