Wednesday, July 25, 2012


One of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign advisers blundered into political quicksand by explaining to The Daily Telegraph that President Obama doesn't fully understand the "Anglo-Saxon heritage" of the United States. “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage,” the adviser said, “and [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.” Coming on the eve of Romney's trip to England, the  could be seen as mere political pandering if not for the nasty undertone of the remarks (and there were more) which raised charges of racial and ethnic insensitivity.

Ignoring the fact that the USA and the UK are now more multicultural than ever, and that the US was multicultural from its inception, these advisers' ill-advised attempts at cozying up to the Brits backfired, sending candidate Romney backpedaling faster than a juggling unicyclist in the Cirque de Soleil. Mitt denied everything, of course, but one gets the distinct impression that had these remarks not raised eyebrows he might have been content presenting this racially narrow view of an homogenized nation, an exclusive country club of a country that not only skips the contributions of so many (that, at the core, is the American experiment; something a presidential candidate should know) but also manages to skip the importance of forging alliances with other (non-Anglo-Saxon) countries. More insidious than these blindspots, was the fact that these advisers also managed to play the race card, since--needless to say--Obama is obviously not of Anglo-Saxon heritage.

 “Obama is a Left-winger," continued another adviser, apparently acting out the script of Dumb and Dumber. "He’s very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him. He wouldn’t like singing [the patriotic British anthem] ‘Land of Hope and Glory.’"

 One might argue that Mitt Romney didn't deliberately intend to present such cultural insensitivity, and that his monochromatic view of the country, and the world, merely reflect HIS view from the elite country club vantage point of the ultra-wealthy from which he hails, a world where WASPS are exceedingly well-represented, but that's no excuse. The man is running for president, after all, and that means president of all of us, not just a single social class or racial group, skin color, or tax bracket.

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