On Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph, a leading conservative newspaper in Britain, quoted an anonymous adviser to Mitt Romney commenting on the so-called special relationship between Britain and the United States:
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr. Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
The paper pointed out that the comments “may prompt accusations of racial insensitivity,” and they did.
“It’s not true,” Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said in quotes confirmed by T.P.M. “If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Gov. Romney or anyone inside the campaign.”
Whew, that’s quite a bit of back and forth, and yet it remains unclear, to me at least, what the Romney campaign is saying. If it is accusing the newspaper of misquoting someone or fabricating quotes, it should demand a retraction.
If Romney’s team is suggesting that someone in the campaign could have said it without Romney’s knowledge or blessing, then the campaign should seek to identify the adviser and dismiss him or her from any role in promoting Romney’s candidacy.
But as is often the case with this campaign and with the modern Republican Party, Romney’s team stopped short of issuing a complete repudiation and demanding a total cleansing of these poisonous ideas from their ranks.
The phrases “if anyone said,” and “weren’t reflecting the views” are weak and amorphous and don’t go far enough towards condemnation.
The reason is simple: the Republican Party benefits from this bitterness. Not all Republicans are intolerant, but the intolerant seem to have found a home under their tent. And instead of chasing the intolerant out, the party turns a blind eye—or worse, gives a full embrace—and counts up their votes.
No amount of corporate money and voter suppression can hold back the demographic tide washing over this country. As each of these gaffes further reaffirms the Republican Party’s hostility to minorities, the shorter the party’s lifespan becomes.
I for one don’t believe that this is a coordinated effort. It’s the seepage from a hateful few slipping in like water through a compromised dam. But it will not be enough for the Republicans to plug the holes. They must drain the reservoir.