The “Posse” Man: Romney Brings Black Posse to NAACP Convention

Posted on July 16, 2012 by


Mitt Romney Message Draws “BOOS” From NAACP Gathering

By Brother Mxolisi

“I’m going to get rid of every non-essential, expensive program I can find . . . including Obama-care.” With those words, and a smirky look on his face, and who knows what in his flip-flopping heart, Republican presidential candidate Willard Mitt Romney — (I wonder why he doesn’t use his first name) – got an emphatic, sustained, prevailing round of “boos” from those assembled at the 103rd NAACP annual convention in Houston, TX last week (July 11, 2012).

Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, as she introduced Romney to a Florida rally.

You may or may not know that Romney had his hand-picked posse of bought-and-paid-for African American supporters in attendance, including the Lt. Governor of Florida, Jennifer Carroll. She for one acknowledged that she was in attendance because Romney asked her to come. When asked who paid her transportation, she reportedly deferred that question to the Romney campaign. I’m concluding that this posse was at the core of those in attendance who thought the booing was an inappropriate, disrespectful response to be extended to Mr. Romney.(Speaking of posse: This is the same Willard Mitt Romney who as a high school student, with the support of his posse of that day and time, used scissors to cut off the long locks of a fellow student in that elite institution because Romney & posse were disturbed by his unique, non-conformist appearance. The posse held him down; Willard did the clipping. Romney has said he doesn’t remember that episode; that he executed many “pranks” in his youth.)

Much speculation has gone forth as to what upset the convention attendees, most of it centered on Romney’s use of the often used term, “Obama-care;” and the probability that the speech was really meant for his base support group, with the NAACP gathering and its predictable response serving to invigorate his supporters.

While there may be some validity to that line of thinking, for me it seems that the deeper issue was/is the disdain for what the NAACP – past and present – represents and has fought and marched and bled and died to achieve, that was embodied in Romney’s salient “Obama-care,” “non-essential, expensive program” remark, that touched and tore at the nerves of the authentic NAACP-ers.

(Later that day, Romney made these remarks at a fund raising even in Hamilton, Montana:  “By the way, I had the privilege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you . . . When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren’t happy, I didn’t get the same response. (Apparently the Montana crowd enjoyed that thought.) That’s ok, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don’ stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that’s just fine. But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you 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. It has to be paid for by people in the private sector creating goods and services, and if people want jobs more than they want free stuff from government, then they are going to have to get government to be smaller. And if they don’t want to repeal Obamacare they are going to have to give me some other stuff they are thinking about cutting, but my list takes Obamacare off first and I have a lot of other things I am thinking of cutting.” . . . I wonder if Romney brought his African American posse with him to the Montana event.)

We know the NAACP. Throughout its existence, it has been at the forefront of the legal battles against the grossly unequal and vicious “separate but equal” mentality that once drove this nation, including its 30-year campaign against 100 years of separate but unequal lynching of African Americans. From its beginning, its goal has been to ensure that the legal rights articulated in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution – which outlawed slavery, among other things — were upheld for all Americans.  It was highly instrumental in the fight to overthrow segregation in the military, the federal government, and the nation’s schools. It also fights for laws that ensure voting rights and other policies designed to bring about racial and economic (employment) equality; and we might add health care equality.

But its core mission has always involved increasing educational opportunity, reflecting the way W.E.B. Dubois had seen it: “Education is that whole system of human training within and without the school house walls, which molds and develops men,” he wrote. Along the way, it might be said that the NAACP has had no reservations about insisting that local, state and federal resources be used to facilitate the effective reach of the “whole system of human training” – and enforcement – to see that these rights are respected and protected for all Americans — and other such “free stuff.” If this “free stuff” is too expensive, it is most likely because too much “separate but equal,” and all its complexities, continues to drive the hearts and minds of too many Americans.

Someone had fun with this photo-shop depiction of Romney in the wake of NAACP convention treatment

From other of Romney’s recent statements, in the face of teacher, police and firefighter layoffs, we might conclude that sufficient support of these services, too, are among the “free stuff” that a President Romney would seek to get rid of.

Finally, for now, Romney’s clincher for the NAACP crowd: “If I could really communicate to you what’s in my heart, and how I want to make things better for the African American community, you would vote for me in landside numbers.” (Or words to that effect.)

One can only wonder what keeps Mitt, or Willard, from really communicating what is in his heart. Does he really know? Is it his heart or his mind that keeps him flip-flopping like a fish out of water? Or does he have a Panderer’s Box in there — somewhere within the makeup of his character that makes him fearful or perplexed when it comes to his own thoughts and aspirations?