Mitt Romney and the Rev. Wright Controversy
From Bob Siegel’s column Forbidden Table Talk on Communities At WashingtonTimes.com
SAN DIEGO, May 22, 2012 — Both the mainstream media and the Obama campaign seem determined to short circuit any GOP attempts to hold President Obama responsible for past associations. Last week, the New York Times reported plans for a possible GOP ad campaign that would examine Barack Obama’s relationship with his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
“A group of high-profile Republican strategists is working with a conservative billionaire on a proposal to mount one of the most provocative campaigns of the “super PAC” era and attack President Obama in ways that Republicans have so far shied away from.”
“Timed to upend the Democratic National Convention in September, the plan would ‘do exactly what John McCain would not let us do,’ the strategists wrote” (New York Times, 5-17-12).
In response to this news, Obama campaign strategist, David Axelrod chimed in with a Tweet:
“Stunning! Will Mitt stand up, as [Sen.] John McCain did? Or allow the purveyors of slime to operate on his behalf?”
Undoubtedly Axelrod only has Romney’s best interests in mind with his concern that “purveyors of slime” will misrepresent the presumptive GOP candidate. How heartwarming when Democrats advise Republicans on the best way to run their campaigns! Romney supporters should be moved close to tears!
Of course, Axelrod’s advice is sound as a board. He rightly reminds Romney of the proper stand John McCain took in refusing to make Rev. Wright an issue. That worked out so well for McCain. Naturally Romney should follow suit.
Unfortunately, following suit is exactly what Romney chose to do. His campaign has released the following statement:
“Unlike the Obama campaign, Gov. Romney is running a campaign based on jobs and the economy, and we encourage everyone else to do the same. President Obama’s team said they would ‘kill Romney,’ and, just last week, David Axelrod referred to individuals opposing the president as ‘contract killers.’ It’s clear President Obama’s team is running a campaign of character assassination. We repudiate any efforts on our side to do so.”
Refusing character assassination is admirable if such attacks are based upon lies or exaggerations, but a reminder that Barrack Obama sat under the teaching of a race baiter for 20 years is not merely a matter of character. It is also a matter of fact. Democrats love to shout “foul” for bringing race into the mix. They are counting on short memories. After all, Obama set this tone himself in an early 2008 campaign speech:
“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy … We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.
“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?” (Reuters, June 20, 2008).
Nobody can read Obama’s mind, but it is certainly fair to ask if such a statement finds inspiration from the pastor-mentor who fanned racial fire to the point of claiming, “America is still the No. 1 killer in the world. … We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God” (NY Daily News, March 15, 2008).
In any event, the Obama campaigners have already shown that they’ll come after Romney with everything they’ve got. The allegation that Romney may have bullied a kid many years ago in high school is supposedly relevant. But a 20 year relationship with deliberate racial division is not relevant. Democrats are great at making up these rules. That doesn’t mean Republicans have to roll over and play dead. If they do, they will deserve to lose in November.
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net
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