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Posted by on Aug 24, 2012 in Politics | 24 comments

Quote of the Day: On Mitt Romney’s Obama Birther Joke

Our political Quote of the Day reacts to presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s nosedive into birtherism as well as to a response by a Romney adviser. The New York Times’ Editorial Page Editor’s blog:

Politicians sometimes think they can get away with saying something profoundly offensive or just plain stupid by acting like it was a joke. It never works, just like it didn’t work today when Mr. Romney shamelessly played the birther card in what seems like an increasingly desperate campaign against President Obama.

Further down at the end:

But today’s crack was way over the line. His audience laughed and applauded, probably not because they thought Mr. Romney was doing hilarious stand-up comedy, but because they knew exactly what he was up to.

The Romney campaign’s response was especially lame. An adviser, Kevin Madden, said Mr. Romney was “only referencing that Michigan, where he is campaigning today, is the state where he himself was born and raised.” Right.

A spokesman for the Obama campaign, Ben LaBolt, pointed out that Mr. Romney has “embraced the most strident voices in his party instead of standing up to them.” But, he added, “Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America.”

That’s absolutely right. The birther charges are not really about trying to disqualify Mr. Obama from being president. The point is to remind voters that his father was Kenyan and that Mr. Obama is a man of mixed race with brown skin. It’s racism, pure and simple.

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • EEllis

    Since the polls show him as even I hardly think he’s desperate yet, heck I think with the bad economic news he is most likely optimistic and truly, it’s just poking fun at what has been a big issue for Obama. Making it something else just seems like a lot of effort. It may not be funny, individual tastes and all, but to say some throw out joke means something is just weak. Rosenthal has just got to ease up. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t made a joke about the whole BC thing, from late night comics to Obama himself.

  • DaGoat

    I don’t like Romney for many reasons, but this joke isn’t one of them. People are making mountains out of molehills here.

  • dduck

    If you made a lame joke, you didn’t do it alone, some devil made you do it. Calling Hey Biden, we need some new gaffe material, Mitt is one up on you.

  • Agree with DaGoat. It’s a lame joke. Actually, I found it a little funny.

  • dduck

    So people got it, some don’t. Perhaps with better joke writers paid for with WH funds, perhaps he can do better. Or else, make the jokes self deprecating, take my budget plan, please (drum beat).

  • roro80

    I’m white, nyuk nyuk.

  • dduck

    If I may extrapolate, I’m white so forgive me for not having any rhythm.

  • take my budget plan, please (drum beat).

    Now THAT’S funny!!

  • zephyr

    It’s only funny if you think appeals to ignorance are funny. Ha ha.

    Btw, it’s foolish to view the Romney campaign as “desperate”. Citizens United is allowing them to amass cash reserves the Obama folks can only dream about. When that cash advantage starts getting translated into non-stop propaganda democrats will wonder what happened. They would be wise to wake up before that happens.

    http://www.npr.org/2012/08/23/159768245/jane-mayer-obama-in-impossible-bind-over-donors

  • zephyr

    (that wasn’t a response to you Barky, but to the birtherism)

  • bluebelle

    Agree 100% with zephyr. Mitt finally found a personality— but it looks like he’s borrowing it from the Donald

  • davidpsummers

    I agree with DaGoat, not that big a deal. There has been much worst from both sides already. The same joke could have been made if Obama was white and was alleged to have been born in France, so the racism charge seems to be based on assuming racist intent.

  • StockBoyLA

    Sure, some people think MItt’s comment was a joke, other people think he’s buying into the Birther movement.

    Because many Republicans believe that Obama is a foreigner and was not born in the US, and Obama’s birthplace IS a huge issue, I tend to think that Mitt is playing to the birthers.

    In my mind Mitt was saying, “Obama is foreign (and by implication not an American) and you need to ask for his birth certificate just to find out where he is from. But it is so obvious that I, Mitt Romney, am an American that no one has ever asked me for my birth certificate. I am a true American, not someone who is half foreigner, like Obama.”

    So yes, I think Mitt’s “joke” is racist and an attempt to show his conservative base that he is the only real American in the race. No pun intended.

    Now, where are Mitt’s tax returns? Obama showed his, let’s see Mitt’s.

  • The_Ohioan

    “But it is so obvious that I, Mitt Romney, am an American that no one has ever asked me for my birth certificate. I am a true American, not someone who is half foreigner, like Obama.”

    Nailed it, StockBoy. And that’s why the crowd found it so funny. The very idea of asking Romney for his birth certificate! Ridiculous!

    On the other hand, Mitt’s tax documents are not so funny. GAWKER has asked tax experts to review what they posted and the experts have responded. Not funny, not funny at all. Now if he goes to jail, that might be funny, kinda sorta.

  • bluebelle

    Agree totally, Stockboy. Mitt’s handlers knew they had to excite that part of the GOP base and may have concluded that McCain lost in ’08 partly because he refused to buy into the birther conspiracy.

  • ShannonLeee

    I just don’t think that anyone who believes or wants to believe that Obama is not American born will be any more motivated by Mitts comments.

  • The_Ohioan

    SL

    I don’t think they will (or can) be any more motivated, either. The thing is, Mitt wants them to believe their bigotry is something everyone shares in and can be laughed at, not that I think he is a bigot, but he would be willing to say things like this if that’s what he needs to do. Once again his candidacy can say two opposite things and everybody hears what they want. The rabid right hears “I might be a bigot, too, tee hee” and those who desperately want him to really be the moderate he used to be be hears “It’s a joke, son, a joke”.

    His handlers now say it was not on the teleprompter (TELEPROMPTER! Lord know if anyone needs one, it’s Mitt) but off the cuff. This with all his other strange comments about firing people, etc. and just yesterday talking about how businesses can use the tax laws to keep money – I think either he has a death wish about this campaign or the theory that they are planning now for Ryan in 2016 is really true.

  • ShannonLeee

    A bad off the cut remark is pretty par for Romney. Remember him insulting London? Not exactly the kind of guy we want representing our country to the world.

  • merkin

    I don’t think that the majority of Republicans are racists*. If Obama was not black they would find something else to defame him with. There is a need on the part of the Republicans to diminish the opposition in personal terms, to paint them as usurpers, not personally qualified for the position. If Clinton had won the presidency we would be hearing the strong under currents of misogyny in all of the Republican attacks.

    * However, there is no denying that the majority of racists are Republicans. The Republicans have made a comfortable home for racism.

  • dduck

    If you made a bad joke you are human and average. If you need a teleprompter then someone helped you, you didn’t do it yourself.

  • ShannonLeee

    If you used a teleprompter… you wrote it, thought about it, and verified the statement before ever opening your mouth.

    Merk… a lot of Dem bigots out there too. Hillary was hit numerous times by the Obama campaign with the woman card. I am sure Taylor could give us the highlights. Racism is everywhere, just better hidden than before. I will agree though that it is most at home in the Republican party.

  • davidpsummers

    Romney might have been trying to make a joke. He might have been trying a cute attempt to get some mileage out of the Birther controversy without having to actually sign on to it. The thing is, he _might_ have been doing one or the other and I’m not psychic and I don’t presume to be able to read his mind (an ability partisans all seem to have).

    In my mind Mitt was saying, “Obama is foreign (and by implication not an American) and you need to ask for his birth certificate just to find out where he is from. But it is so obvious that I, Mitt Romney, am an American that no one has ever asked me for my birth certificate. I am a true American, not someone who is half foreigner, like Obama.”

    So yes, I think Mitt’s “joke” is racist and an attempt to show his conservative base that he is the only real American in the race. No pun intended.

    I simply don’t follow this. You talk about how Romney might be capitalizing on the view of Obama as a foreigner and conclude its racist. Being “foreign” and being “black” are not the same thing.

  • ShannonLeee

    DS, to some people… black Americans are “foreign”, or at least not part of their America. Ever hear the phrase, “Go back to Africa”?

  • davidpsummers

    DS, to some people… black Americans are “foreign”, or at least not part of their America. Ever hear the phrase, “Go back to Africa”?

    OK, “maybe” Romney was thinking this and people are accusing him of racism because he “might” be racial motivated.

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