On the vexed question of whether Mitt Romney is playing some deep game, or is just dimwitted, I did a further riff on the "Anglo-Saxon" business in this weekend's Radio Derb, access to which is explained in that first box on my website's home page.
Bottom line: Romney is surely not a stupid man. His accomplishments speak to that.
A smart person can still, though, be cluelessly unimaginative ? an adherent of what Peter Brimelow calls "the extreme center."
I think that's the case with Romney. He is genuinely uncomfortable dealing with ideas outside the narrow scope of core conventional wisdom (as defined, of course, by the media lefties, academic log-rollers, and corporate PR flacks).
All I could get out of him on the immigration issue at our single face to face meeting, during a drop-in at National Review a year or so ago, was that immigration is a jolly good thing. He allowed that secure national borders are a good thing too, but on everything else ? moratorium, employer sanctions, state-level enforcement ? he bunted: "I'd have to think about that."
Well, here's Radio Derb's take:
"Anglo-Saxon heritage"! That's code for "white people," you see. Or as the currently fashionable idiom has it, Romney, via that aide, is dog-whistling for white Christian votes.
Well, why wouldn't he? At least 96 percent of blacks will vote for Obama come rain or shine, out of simple racial loyalty. Two-thirds of Hispanics will vote for any Democrat over any Republican, because they are poor and want the federal handouts that are a key part of every Democratic platform. Jews, Muslims, and Hindus vote Democratic because they think Republicans are too Christian. East Asians, other than Korean evangelicals, vote Democrat for complicated historical and psychological reasons that I tried to explain in a column on VDARE.com some years ago.
That leaves the white vote, still nearly two thirds of the electorate, as the big fishing ground for Republicans. Why wouldn't they cast their nets there?
I actually hope that's what Romney's doing, because I'd like to see him win. I hoped the same thing in '08 in regard to John McCain. I hoped, for example, that McCain would put the Rev. Jeremiah Wright front and center, and all the shady revolutionary types Obama was hanging out with for most of his life.
I was of course disappointed then, and I'll likely be disappointed now. In fact I see that Romney has already repudiated the aide's remarks very indignantly.
Why? What's going on here? John McCain wellnigh threw the '08 election rather than bring Barack Obama's sleazy acquaintances to the public's attention. It looks as though Mitt Romney's inclined the same way.
Back after 9/11, when the George W. Bush administration was being extravagantly polite to Muslims lest anyone would assume that Islam had anything to do with the attacks, back then I coined the phrase: "Better dead than rude." That is, we'd all rather be killed in another terrorist attack than hurt the feelings of Muslims.
What we see with Barack Obama's opponents is a sort of electoral equivalent. John McCain preferred to lose the '08 election rather than leave anyone thinking he had a single racially discriminatory bone in his body. I cut McCain some slack on that, figuring that a man of his generation — McCain was born in 1936 — would be weighed down with guilt over Jim Crow.
I thought Mitt Romney, being a few years younger, might be a bit bolder, but he seems to be just as race-spooked as McCain. Like McCain, he's determined to keep up the pretense that race is of no electoral importance whatsoever, even when 96 or 98 percent of blacks vote for the black candidate without a flicker of embarrassment.
Romney would rather throw the election than give anyone cause to think he nurses racially impure thoughts.
That's the Republican slogan nowadays: Better electorally dead than rude.