The worst raaaaacism charge against Romney evah?

Ron Fournier, editor in chief of National Journal, has taken time out of his busy day to pen a hit piece on Mitt Romney which really must be read to be believed. (Though you may want to brace yourself ahead of time with either strong drink or your acid reflux disease medicine.) Titled, Why (and How) Romney is Playing the Race Card, it appears that Ron feels he’s struck on the final, definitive, proof-positive that Romney is running for the position of Racist in Chief and is relying on all of those evil, secretly racist white people to hustle him into office while keeping their ignorant views on the Down Low.

Our story begins with the author speaking to two middle class, working guys. I should point out… white guys since Ron takes such pains to do so. And one of them is a childhood friend of his. They are discussing the question of “middle-class blacks and Hispanics are far more optimistic about their children’s future than are whites of the same economic status.

“What do you think the unemployment rate is among blacks? In Detroit, it’s probably 40 percent. If the unemployment rate is that high, why is it that they are so optimistic about their future and the future of their children?”

Benson paused, heard no reply, and answered his own question.


There it is. The Macomb County buzz word for welfare, a synonym that rests on the tongues of the white middle class like sour milk.

And even though Ron takes pains to point out that these men “don’t use the N-word” and are not “filled with hate,” he decides to translate their words for them. (Including his friend.)

“It’s a generational apathy,” Miller said, “and they keep getting more and more (apathetic) because they don’t have to work. If they sleep all day and free money …”

” … Comes in the mail,” Benson said.

“… not in the mail anymore,” Miller said, “It’s in a magic card they can swipe.”

They poked at their egg yolks until Miller broke the silence. “I feel like a fool for not jumping on that shit and getting some (welfare) myself,” Miller said. “But I couldn’t sleep at night.”

I share this story to crack the code – the subtle language of distrust and prejudice that whites use to communicate deep-set fears, and that cynical politicians translate into votes. Translating Miller and Benson:

“Subsidization” = Welfare

“Generational Apathy” = Lazy

“They Slept All Day” = Blacks Sleep All Day

“I Feel Like a Fool” = I’m Mad As Hell

So Ron has decided to take these friends who he defines as people who don’t engage in hate speech and redefine their answers to his questions to make them racists. Why? Because he wants to talk about Mitt Romney’s opposition to the recent changes proposed to welfare rules by President Obama. Fournier dismisses the idea that “work is being removed from welfare” even though it flies in the face of the entirely vague, open door nature of the order. So since we’re not going to bother actually reading the rule and seeing what sort of “options” might be enacted by the states in such an open door situation, Ron finds another reason for Obama penning it.

Kaufman who I’ve known and respected for years, accused me of playing the race card — a fair point, strictly speaking, because I raised the question in a public setting: a joint interview with CBS’ John Dickerson before a large audience and live-streamed.

Still, Romney and his advisers stand by an ad they know is wrong — or, at the very least, they are carelessly ignoring the facts. That ad is exploiting the worst instincts of white voters — as predicted and substantiated by the Republican Party’s own polling.

That leaves one inescapable conclusion: The Romney campaign is either recklessly ignorant of the facts, some of which they possess — or it is lying about why (and how) it is playing the race card.

In one overly wordy swipe, Ron throws his own friend under the bus for the sake of claiming that an advertisement on this subject by Romney doesn’t prove that Mitt is a racist. Oh no! He charges that working class white people across the country are racists, and Mitt is the disingenuous scam artist seeking to capitalize on their hatred for electoral advantage.

This, my friends, is what derangement and desperation look like.