Vixen Strangely and her Rumproast cohorts have been doing a good job with skewering Mitt Romney's speech at the NAACP convention. While much attention has been focused on the moment when Romney was booed, I want to focus on another portion of the speech. I'll be annotating the portion that I've excerpted.
As you may have heard from my opponent, I am also a believer in the free-enterprise system. I believe it can bring change where so many well-meaning government programs have failed. I’ve never heard anyone look around an impoverished neighborhood and say, “You know, there’s too much free enterprise around here. Too many shops, too many jobs, too many people putting money in the bank.”
Of course, contrary to the muddle-headed thinking of Libertarians, the free market historically didn't work for African-Americans. Additionally, while noone's looked around an impoverished neighborhood and claimed that there was too much free enterprise, too many shops, too many jobs, hostile whites have looked around thriving black neighborhoods and have done just that, with fatal results. It seems that Mitt's ignorance of his personal history is merely a reflection of his ignorance of world history.
What you hear, of course, is how do we bring in jobs? How do we make good, honest employers want to move in and stay? And with the shape this economy is in, we’re asking that more than ever.
Free enterprise is still the greatest force for upward mobility, economic security, and the expansion of the middle class. We have seen in recent years what it’s like to have less free enterprise. As President, I will show the good things that can happen when we have more – more business activity, more jobs, more opportunity, more paychecks, more savings accounts.
Of course, Mitt is asking how we bring in jobs when no matter what weasel word he uses, Romney was responsible for sending high-paying jobs overseas, while any jobs that he created in the U.S. were low wage service industry jobs. Also, Romney's assertion that "free enterprise is still the greatest force for upward mobility, economic security, and the expansion of the middle class" ignores the black experience... the reality is that , since the 1940s many blacks found work in the public center, which was less hostile to them than the private sector. Of course, public sector workers have been under attack by GOP governors, who have slashed government jobs.
Romney continues with his five point economic plan, which is pretty much GOP boilerplate bullshit:
On Day One, I will begin turning this economy around with a plan for the middle class. And I don’t mean just those who are middle class now – I also mean those who have waited so long for their chance to join the middle class.
I know what it will take to put people back to work, to bring more jobs and better wages. My jobs plan is based on 25 years of success in business. It has five key steps.
First, I will take full advantage of our energy resources, and I will approve the Keystone pipeline from Canada. Low cost, plentiful coal, natural gas, oil, and renewables will bring over a million manufacturing jobs back to the United States.
Second, I will open up new markets for American products. We are the most productive major economy in the world, so trade means good jobs for Americans. But trade must be free and fair, so I’ll clamp down on cheaters like China and make sure that they finally play by the rules.
Third, I will reduce government spending. Our high level of debt slows GDP growth and that means fewer jobs. If our goal is jobs, we must, must stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we earn. To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits.
Fourth, I will focus on nurturing and developing the skilled workers our economy so desperately needs and the future demands. This is the human capital with which tomorrow’s bright future will be built. Too many homes and too many schools are failing to provide our children with the skills and education that are essential for anything other than a minimum-wage job.
I'm going to address the final paragraph of his jobs plan, because I think it's the biggest bullshit of the lot:
And finally and perhaps most importantly, I will restore economic freedom. This nation’s economy runs on freedom, on opportunity, on entrepreneurs, on dreamers who innovate and build businesses. These entrepreneurs are being crushed by high taxation, burdensome regulation, hostile regulators, excessive healthcare costs, and destructive labor policies. I will work to make America the best place in the world for innovators and entrepreneurs and businesses small and large.
Here's Mitt, standing in front of a black audience, and singing the praises of deregulation when such regulatory bodies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have been instrumental in curtailing the abusive and discriminatory policies of the largely white male "employer class". By "destructive labor policies", he's probably alluding to unions, which have been instrumental in allowing a black middle class to emerge in postwar America. Mitt is pretty much telling a crowd that has traditionally been at the bottom of the economic heap that a further race to the bottom is a good thing. Meanwhile, in the real world, just about at the time Romney was speaking one of the biggest banks in the U.S. was settling a lawsuit stemming from its policy of unfair lending practices towards minorities... this asshole really believes that decreased regulation would help African-Americans?
Of course, Romney's actions after his speech were even more odious than the speech itself... Mitt stated that he expected to be booed during his speech, which pretty much means that he was just trolling the NAACP. Even worse, Mitt then appeared in front of a bunch of his donors and said:
"Remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy -- more free stuff. But don't forget, nothing is really free."
Factually, if applied to the healthcare reform act, this is false- Romney himself was the father of "mandated" healthcare coverage, so he knows that there is a penalty paid by uninsured persons. On a more visceral level, Romney's repeating the racist calumny that African-Americans are a bunch of freeloaders- it is his "welfare queen" moment. Romney's awful statement, like the movie Birth of a Nation, was meant to slander and vilify a race. Beneath his blandly handsome Ken-doll looks, Mitt Romney is a nasty piece of work. Forget his soft, manicured hands, he's as much of a brute as the nastiest Southern sheriff out of Central Casting.
Vixen Strangely has been on fire all week with posts about Mitt, and she'll soon have to drop the word "slackerish" from her tagline.
In a comment at Roy's place, mortimer knocks it out of the park with an observation about a desired effect of Romney's speech:
The goal of conservatives is to frame the PPACA as something to "make blah people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." The more white suburbanites think that Obamacare is yet more welfare for those people the more they will oppose it and Obama, despite knowing almost nothing about the law or how it works -- Democrats and the "liberal" media to blame for the latter, IMO. Romney's mission wasn't just to get an NAACP audience to boo him, it was to directly tie Obamacare around the necks of black people -- metaphor chosen deliberately. Mission accomplished.
Finally, Matt Taibbi's piece on Willard's white lies is another must read.
I know Mitt's got new problems now, but I've been working on this post for a few days, and I really needed to write it to express how much I despise this nasty, duplicitious d-bag.