To no one’s surprise but the delight of some, Mitt Romney gave a terrible speech to the NAACP this week, where he was booed multiple times while attempting to illuminate the Republican logic about President Obama. The glaring problem: there is no logic, and a speech in front of fired-up conservatives is much different than a group of people that holds a more diverse opinion on the matter.
Romney’s popular target, Obamacare, was front and center. His message to the black community was clear: Obamacare is killing jobs. How dumb does he think black people are? Does he think they are as ignorant as his white supporters? Obamacare is killing jobs? Already? When only a tiny fraction has taken effect?
Citing the Chamber of Commerce, Romney frames a survey that the Affordable Care Act is making businesses less likely to hire. It is important to note that the source Romney is using to assert his claim is run by the staunchly conservative Tom Donohue whose remarks about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare destroy his objective credibility: “the health care law is fundamentally flawed.” Romney and the Chamber of Commerce are both fighting for the same thing, preferential treatment for corporations at the expense of the American public.
This strategy of attacking Obama with no real point beyond a general discontent works with people who are idiotic enough to revere George W. Bush, but not among a group whose biggest civil rights achievement is sitting in the White House. Romney, assuming that every single American is the same, tried to deliver the same message. But he forgot the number one thing to remember in public speaking, writing, communications at all: know your audience.
Maybe it’s because Romney doesn’t know anything about black people, maybe it’s because the Republican party is controlled by white fear mongers who try to make life so bad for immigrants that they self-deport. Maybe it’s that Romney’s position of privilege does not relate to a group that had to work hard for every thing they have. But Romney couldn’t have missed the mark by more. It may yet prove a costly move.