Mitt Romney fully embraced birtherism today at a campaign rally in Michigan. In remarking on his Michigan roots he said:
“No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate,” Romney said to cheers. “They know this is the place where we were born and raised.”
It’s being widely spun by the media as a joke. I watched the video and it didn’t sound like he was trying to be funny to me. It came across more as the sort of snide remark the leader of the pack of mean rich girls in the high school cafeteria would make about the poor kid sitting at the next table. Still, if this was just one isolated botched one-liner, I would have been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
But this isn’t an isolated incident. Romney is still out there every day pushing his false welfare claims which have been rated a “pants on fire” lie by every factchecker in the universe. He and his surrogates have been pushing the theme that Obama is not a real American, that he’s some dark foreign “other” who doesn’t understand our ways. And this so-called joke was dangerously pandering to the most frightened, angry and deluded faction of the GOP base.
Over the last few hours, I’ve seen Romney’s apologists justify it as equivalent to the dog joke Obama recently made. Of course, the dog story was true as told by Mr. Romney’s own son to the media, whereas birtherism is a crackpot conspiracy theory. Otherwise they’re just the same.
Others have said, well, Obama makes birther jokes too. Fine. Let me make a similar joke to ones Romney has made in the past: Of course, no one has asked for Romney’s birth certificate. His five grandmothers all signed affidavits attesting that he was indeed born in the USA.
Any Mormons find that funny? Didn’t think so. Even though that “joke” has a grain of truth to it. Mitt Romney’s grandfather did actually have five wives.
Mitt Romney has done nothing by whine about how Obama is being so mean and divisive, but Romney is the one who is dragging this campaign so deep into the muck that he needs a ladder to climb to the bottom of his cesspool of innuendo and racist dog whistles. As Jamelle Bouie points out, (in a piece that should be read in full), “Romney’s victory depends on winning a huge share of the white vote, to do so, he’s decided to play the politics of white resentment in the most explicit way possible.”
And by the way Mr. Romney. It’s true that no one is asking for your birth certificate. But there are millions of voters out here who are asking to see your tax returns. I believe you called us “small-minded” for wanting to see some proof of your credentials. You can call us 63% of Americans every name in the book, but we still want to see them.