For months, Mitt Romney's stump speech accused President Obama of "trying to divide" Americans, an argument which was invariably followed by the Republican's promise to "bring us together."
There was always an exception: teachers' unions. Romney said he rejects all efforts to pit one group of Americans against another, except for school teachers, who the Republican candidate said deserved voters' scorn.
With this in mind, it was interesting to see Romney attend NBC's Education Nation forum in New York this morning.
Romney and Brian Williams covered quite a bit of ground in 45 minutes, but this was probably the most politically salient.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said on Tuesday that Democratic politicians have a conflict of interest in dealing with teachers' unions because the unions contribute so heavily to their campaigns. He suggested that money should somehow be diverted or cut off, although he did not offer details. [...]He later added that "we simply can't have" elected officials who have received large contributions from teachers sitting across from them at the bargaining table "supposedly" to represent the interests of children. "I think it's a mistake," Romney said. "I think we have to get the money out of the teachers' unions going into campaigns. It's the wrong way for us to go. We've got to separate that."
I realize Romney's developed an allergy to pre-election details, but it'd be great if he could flesh this out a little. It seems that Romney -- who's expressed support for unlimited contributions -- is fully comfortable with lobbyists, corporations (which are people, my friend), and hedge fund managers donating to their hearts' content, no matter what their dealings with government might be.
But school teachers? For Romney, their involvement in elections must be curtailed.
I realize teachers have never been a loyal Republican constituency, but has there ever been a presidential campaign as eager as Romney to go to such lengths to antagonize teachers?