5 Ways ‘I Wish I Was Mexican’ Mitt Reveals Contempt for Brown and Black People
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses a fundraising event in Salt Lake City.
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
The reason, of course, is the now-infamous video of Romney's remarks to a group of well-heeled donors at a fundraising event in Boca Raton last May, in which the Republican presidential candidate, a multimillionaire, paints nearly half the American population as moochers -- people who, he said, "see themselves as victims," and believe they have a right to food, shelter and health care at government expense.
The candidate seems not to grasp that, included in the 47 percent painted by Romney as takers are senior citizens, members of the armed forces, a portion of the unemployed and others who comprise part of Romney's own constituency. The fallout is said to have set on edge the teeth of the very wealthy donors whom Romney once courted with such words of wisdom.
But nestled amid the contempt Romney shows for everyday people of all races who receive tax credits or Social Security is a simmering resentment of brown and black people. First, Romney says he wishes that he had been born to Mexican parents, rather than to an American father born in Mexico, because "I'd have a better shot at winning this."
Then, as he derides those who fall below the threshold that triggers an income-tax obligation, Romney concludes that all of those people "will vote for the president no matter what" -- presumably because the black president, as Romney has alleged in the past, is all about fostering a culture of government dependency.
Later in the video, which was obtained by Mother Jones, Romney describes Palestinians as a fundamentally violent group.
Up until this point, as I chronicled the race-baiting and bigotry of the Romney campaign, I had seen it all as a cynical strategy deployed simply to appeal to the basest instincts of the Republican base -- and not necessarily reflective of Mitt's own biases. But the video tells a different tale. There, in the well-appointed home of leveraged buyout mogul Marc Leder, Romney seems to be, at last, his authentic self, speaking in a relaxed manner before people of his own social class, giving the subtext of Romney's wish-I-was-a-Mexican remark the feel of a more authentic racial resentment.
Here are five examples of ways in which Romney has demonstrated disrespect for brown and black people.
1. Latinos get all the breaks. Early in his remarks to the Boca burghers, Romney discusses his "heritage:"
My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.
Because, you know, there have been so many Latino U.S. presidents.
Mitt's Mexican dream has given rise to all manner of hilarity on late-night shows and in the Twitterverse, where the newly hatched @MexicanMitt ("I am the Juan Percent!") is presently holding court.
Viewed in the context of his later comments about Obama voters as being freeloaders, Romney's rationale for wanting to be Latino seems to be that all those moocheros would totally vote for a guy just because he looks like them, as would, presumably, all those other dependency-addicted Americans, since a Latino prez, like a black one, is, in his view, emblematic of the dependency culture. It's a novel variation on the old producerist trope that dates back to the pre-Civil War Jacksonian age, and was used as a rationale for maintaining slavery.