Via Ace and Twitchy, whose managing editors, Lori Ziganto and Jenn Taylor, are southern transplants and who seem palpably impressed that Mitt would “go there.” CBS reporter Jan Crawford calls this, half-jokingly I presume, “the ultimate dis.” Our own Mary Katharine Ham is a Durham, North Carolina native and would be able to settle this straightaway, but she’s unavailable right now; hopefully she’ll update my post or add one of her own to clarify.
Question for our southern readership, then, while we wait for the Hammer to chime in: How big an insult is this really? I’ve always understood it to be a gentle, almost pitying, but clearly condescending sort of jab, tantamount to “it’s precious how stupid you are.” But there must be more to it than that. Romney’s said flat out before that he doesn’t think Obama understands the economy, which is the gist of what he’s saying here too. The “bless his heart” thing obviously adds a bit more of a putdown oomph to it, enough so that southerners seem to think it’s an unusually potent shot, but I’m not getting it. What nuance am I missing? Should I be mentally substituting “President Doofus” for the BHH bit? Inquiring Yankee minds want to know. Frankly, Romney being Romney, he probably means “bless his heart” literally. Click the image to watch.
Update (MKH): Sorry to be chiming in late on this. My response is “meh.” “Bless his heart” is a catch-all phrase, used after a criticism, ostensibly to soften the blow rhetorically. It’s always slightly condescending, but can either denote real affection for the target (for an accident-prone child, for instance: “He’s always skinning his knees, bless his heart.) or derision, as it does in this case. This sounds like a continuation of Romney’s standard line about Obama not understanding the economy. If he’d lingered on “bless his heart” it would have come across more insulting. This just sounds like a surprisingly apt use of the phrase by a Northeasterner who’s comfortable with it. That being said, Touré will be calling it racist in 3, 2, 1.