The column is by Lee Siegel, an opinion writer of the liberal persuasion, whose main point is – and these are his exact words – “Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory.”
“Of course,” he says, “I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president.”
Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Just kidding.
Romney’s “whiteness,” says Siegel, is “grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America.”
Sounds good to me. But Siegel’s not-so-subtle point is that this was also racist America.
So what’s he getting at? Simple, that Romney offers “millions of Americans” who are unwilling to accept Mr. Obama as someone who legally and morally deserves to sit in the White House “the white solution of the problem of a black president.” He goes on to say that, “I am sure that Mr. Romney is not a racist. But I am also sure that, for the many Americans who find the thought of a black president unbearable, he is an ideal candidate.”
Ok, so let’s review: According to Lee Siegel, Mitt Romney is not a racist, but he appeals to millions of racists in America – because of his whiteness – and this whiteness “could well put him over the top in the fall.”
This is not political analysis. It is something mean and shallow that is only masquerading as political analysis. Are there racists in a country of some 310 million people? Unfortunately, yes. Do some of these bigots like Romney because he’s white and Mr. Obama is black? Probably. But in a big country like ours there are also black racists who also see things through a prism of color. That’s not Barack Obama’s fault; and the white racists aren’t Mitt Romney’s fault.
It’s true that Siegel never blames Romney for the racists out there. But like a drive-by gangster he sprays his bullets recklessly. After all, what are we to think of a white man who appeals to bigots?
A few weeks ago, Andrew Rosenthal, the paper’s editorial page editor, published a blog about white racism in America, or at least his view of it, saying that, “There has been a racist undertone to many of the Republican attacks leveled against President Obama for the last three years, and in this dawning presidential campaign.”
He even goes further than Siegel and accuses Romney of “oblique” racism because Romney has said that president Obama wants to create an “entitlement society.”
So merely saying that the president believes in big government, with its many programs that “spread the wealth around” – which strikes me as nothing more than a run-of-the-mill political accusation – somehow, in the liberal mind, is racist.
My friend Bill O’Reilly believes these people are saying these inane things in order to energize the black vote. I don’t think so. I think they’re saying these inane things because a) they honestly believe that conservatives have bigotry running through their DNA and b) these pundits, despite their SAT scores, are not very smart people.
They fancy themselves progressives, but they haven’t progressed at all from the bad old days of segregation and Jim Crow. They still live in 1955 America. They see racism everywhere. In a strange and sad way, this warped view of America makes them feel better about themselves. They’re the good ones, they can tell themselves. The ones who aren’t racists.
And I’m starting to think that the liberal nonsense that dresses itself up as analysis is the face of a growing fear among the liberal elite. Fear that their messiah may fall. They could never accept that he may be rejected because of his policies or because of incompetence. That would be too painful, given how much of their own hopes and dreams they have invested in him. It must be something else. And what else could it be, except for racism?
Inside their comfy, liberal elite bubble, the only reason the great Barack Obama could lose is because of the rampant bigotry in America. It’s nonsense, for sure. But it’s a lot easier for them to take than reality.