By Rachel Brody |
Mitt Romney has decided to skip over all the dog whistles. Tuesday night in Ohio, Romney called nation's first black president "angry." Of course, Team Romney will deny any racial overtones in this remark, but people of color certainly know better. The stereotype of the "angry black man" looms large.
President Barack Obama has been attacked throughout his presidency for being "too cool" and collected, but suddenly he's "angry," according to Romney. Romney told a raucous crowd in Ohio, "This is what an angry and desperate presidency looks like. President Obama knows better, promised better, and America deserves better… Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America."
Angry and desperate? Obama is leading in most battleground state polling and in several predictions of the electoral college outcome. It's true that anything can happen between now and November to change that, but it's a little rich for the losing campaign to call the winning campaign desperate.
Maybe it's Romney who is desperately trying to save his flailing campaign. Team Romney certainly knows that polling shows a very limited Electoral College roadmap to victory. With fewer than three months left until Election Day, time is running out for Romney to turn things around. His selection of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his vice presidential running mate to please to the conservative base hasn't had the impact or polling bounce Team Romney hoped for. Romney still refuses to release his tax returns and insists that his business record is off-limits even though his business experience is his central argument for being president. Romney is desperate for the "Big Mo"—the phrase often used to describe momentum in modern political campaigns—and it doesn't appear to be coming his way any time soon.
Romney is the pot, calling the kettle angry. This campaign should be about issues. Both sides should be able to launch attacks on the opposition's policy proposals, its records, including Romney's time at Bain Capital, and the claims it makes every day on the campaign trail. Romney should leave the personal attacks, like calling the president "angry," out of it.
About Zerlina Maxwell Democratic Strategist and Writer
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Activist, and Political Analyst
Brandon Rottinghaus Associate Professor of Political Science