On Wednesday morning, Mitt Romney thought it'd be a good idea to tell the NAACP he intends to kill a health care reform law that brings coverage to 7 million uninsured African Americans. On Wednesday night, Romney attended a fundraiser in Montana, and reflected on the audience that booed him.
For those who missed Rachel's reporting last night, Romney told his donors of the NAACP convention attendees, "Remind them of this: if they want more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy -- more free stuff. But don't forget, nothing is really free."
Hmm. So, the far-right presidential candidate deliberately antagonized the nation's most celebrated civil rights organization in the morning, then complained to his donors in Montana about the black voters who want "more free stuff" from the government in the evening.
I speculated yesterday that Romney may have provoked the booing on purpose. Soon after, he told Fox's Neil Cavuto he "expected" the negative reaction, and soon after that, Romney was using the incident to deliver a cheap line at an exclusive fundraiser.
Remember, for nearly a year, one of Romney's standard lines has been that President Obama is trying to divide Americans, pitting people against one another. Yeah, tell us another one, Mitt.
One of the standard lines I heard after Romney's NAACP appearance is that he showed "courage" by going to the conference and presenting his vision. But there was nothing courageous about the candidate's remarks at the fundraiser. As Adam Serwer noted, "[I]f you're going to accuse people of wanting 'free stuff' from the government, you might want to do it to their faces."
As someone who's read the transcript of nearly every Romney speech for a year, I should note in fairness that he's used the "free stuff" line before. But in this case, this realization isn't especially helpful to his defense.
A few months ago, for example, the GOP presidential hopeful responded to questions about contraception access by saying, "If you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, vote for the other guy." Soon after, Romney complained that Obama is trying to buy students' political support by offering them "free stuff."
There is a pattern to this. If you're a woman who wants access to preventive care you might not otherwise be able to afford, Romney sees you as wanting "free stuff." If you're a young student who can't afford higher-ed tuition, Romney assumes you expect "free stuff."
And if you're an African American supporter of the NAACP who wants your family to have access to affordable health care, Romney suspects you're just looking for "free stuff."
You see, Mr. Car Elevator already has vast wealth, thanks to his rich family and vulture-capital firm that reaped benefits by laying off American workers. And now that he has riches, Romney seems annoyed by the little people who keep asking public institutions to provide basic government benefits as part of a sound safety net and/or access to economic opportunities.
It seems insane to me that a presidential candidate would adopt such an elitist attitude during difficult economic times, but Mitt Romney is a special kind of candidate.