Bill O’Reilly was up in arms that Nancy Pelosi and an MSNBC commenter accused Mitt Romney of deliberately trying to get booed when he spoke to the NAACP convention earlier this week. Supposedly, it was Romney's secret plan to use his victimhood as a way of boosting his cred to racist conservatives. But instead of trying to disprove it, O'Reilly debated – raged against, really – Hilary Shelton, the Washington Bureau Director of the NAACP. And guess what? O’Reilly suggested that the real racial intolerance was coming from the NAACP.
Speaking of Pelosi’s accusation, O’Reilly said, “In a fair country – that innuendo absolutely unacceptable.”
Shelton said, “You can’t dismiss” the theory. “Quite frankly, the way that Mitt Romney came to the NAACP was clearly not to garner support. If you have a better idea, quite frankly – keep in mind the NAACP’s non-partisan and we always invite candidates from at least both parties… but if you want to garner support, at least meet people where they’re at.” To illustrate Romney’s lack of outreach, Shelton said many found it “quite offensive” that Romney called the Affordable Care Act “ObamaCare” as well as “the manner in which he presented” his desire to repeal it. “Mr. Romney said he would repeal that to save money but he didn’t talk about what he would replace it with to save lives.” So, Shelton said, you have to wonder why he put himself forth in that way.
O’Reilly interrupted. “I don’t think anyone would object to anyone disagreeing with the governor about the repealing of ObamaCare.” But he went on to complain that John McCain “got jazzed” by the NAACP when he spoke at their convention in 2008.
Shelton disagreed. The record indicates Shelton is correct. You can read the full transcript or watch the full speech and let me know if I’m wrong. Shelton also noted that George W. Bush spoke when he was a candidate and that neither got treated disrespectfully.
That’s when O’Reilly turned mean. “They got jazzed by your crew and you know it!”
When he was a presidential candidate, Bush 43 spoke to the NAACP in 2000 and seems to have been treated respectfully. He declined to speak to the NAACP in 2004. But he was booed in 2006 (not a year he was running for anything) when he brought up charter schools and the war in Iraq. However, as far as treating Republican candidates goes, Shelton was correct. Adam Serwer, writing in Mother Jones, noted, “Prior to that, you have to go back about twenty years of white guys not getting booed to 1983, when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush was booed because of his defense of the Reagan administration’s civil rights record. Even then, ABC News describes him as being ‘well received’ when he returned as a presidential candidate in 1988.”
It’s understandable and forgiveable that O’Reilly got mixed up but there’s really no excuse for his attacking Shelton as a liar – especially when Shelton was the one telling the truth.“I hope you’ll go back (and check),” Shelton said.
I hope he’s not holding his breath. “I remember covering it,” O’Reilly said, implying that he saw no need.
Ironically, it was O'Reilly now displaying a racial chip on his shoulder. “Mitt Romney gave the same speech that he gives everywhere… Are you gonna sit there and tell me that he should have pandered to your audience and not given that speech?”
“Pandering is not the word,” Shelton said. “You speak to the audience that’s in front of you. …He was not interested in reaching our audience.”"
It's hard to imagine O'Reilly - or even Romney who, by the way, said he expected to get booed - wouldn't know that politicians always, or almost always, tweak their remarks for the particular crowd they're facing. It says a lot about O'Reilly's own racial hostility to insist that Romney treat a crowd of African Americans as if they’re the same as the other audiences at Romney speeches.
Unfortunately, that line of argument was discontinued and the segment devolved further as O’Reilly and Shelton vociferously disagreed over what Romney did or didn’t say about improving education. Once again, O’Reilly was oafish and bullying. “I’m gonna go back 30 seconds and tell the audience that you basically did not tell the truth on this broadcast!” he said accusingly to Shelton. Shelton, on the other hand, remained polite and respectful throughout. Later, as the segment began to close, O’Reilly jabbed his finger and yelled, “You want a politician to pander to your crew! That’s what you want! You don’t want him to tell the truth, you want him to pander… You want him to kiss your butts!”
I don’t know if Romney deliberately got himself booed at the NAACP or was just terribly tone deaf (for the record, I tend to think the latter). But one thing is indisputable: He didn’t do himself any favors with African Americans with his speech to the NAACP and O’Reilly didn’t do him any favors with the black community in this segment, either.
Video available at Mediaite.
Obama has done his share of whining too. All politicians “whine” about the other side. But I won’t stoop to your level and try to figure out who is “whinier”. That’s not how I judge candidates and it’s not helpful to the debate over policies.
I donât think Romney did it to attract racist white voters, and I donât believe thatâs what Nancy Pelosi was implying in her statement. He did it to try to play his appearance to appeal to two different constituencies. By appearing at the NAACP, he thought he would appeal to independent and undecided voters as being open-minded. By deliberately provoking them with what would obviously be taken as an offensive comment, he thought he would show conservatives that he wasnât pandering to the NAACP. That isnât the same thing as getting a white racist vote. Itâs a matter of appealing to conservatives who donât like the NAACP and say things like several Fox commentators did the night prior about the organization. It wasnât a specifically racist vote Romney was appealing to in his base â it was the specific right wing vote, which is still not convinced that Romney is their guy.
This is totally plausible, maybe the most plausible explanation.
Can you present a factual, sourced argument or not?
Why is “Obamacare” offensive? Look at this.
Diana, and I say this with all due respect, go look in the mirror before accusing others of any wrongdoing. Then, go f*** yourself with a cactus (though I have a feeling you wouldn’t even feel it).
But when it’s their turn to pony up, the response every last time is “I don’t have to validate anything- do your own research!”
But I guess I honestly can’t (and shouldn’t) expect more from people who lied that craig, Foley and Sanford were Democrats because there was no way to make them victims when they were caught.
Romney can choose which way he wants his embarassing performance to be interpreted. Either he deliberately said something he knew would provoke that audience to have a bad reaction (as he has admitted he did), or he so misunderstood that audience that he thought he could do it with impunity. I personally think it was the former, based on his statements, and based on the immediate right wing reaction that this behavior would give him “street cred” for having stood up to the NAACP. Even Dick Morris was touting that line on Fox the night before. But now O’Reilly wants to walk that back somehow…
I don’t think Romney did it to attract racist white voters, and I don’t believe that’s what Nancy Pelosi was implying in her statement. He did it to try to play his appearance to appeal to two different constituencies. By appearing at the NAACP, he thought he would appeal to independent and undecided voters as being open-minded. By deliberately provoking them with what would obviously be taken as an offensive comment, he thought he would show conservatives that he wasn’t pandering to the NAACP. That isn’t the same thing as getting a white racist vote. It’s a matter of appealing to conservatives who don’t like the NAACP and say things like several Fox commentators did the night prior about the organization. It wasn’t a specifically racist vote Romney was appealing to in his base – it was the specific right wing vote, which is still not convinced that Romney is their guy.
The argument about schools took O’Reilly down another blind alley for him. Romney’s comment about how he would deal with schools was blatant code for throwing education funding into a voucher program, where rich people could be subsidized for putting their kids in private school while poor people could choose between either spending a lot of money on private school past what the voucher would cover, or leaving their kids in the public schools, which would see their funding base gutted even further than what we have seen so far. That’s long been on the right wing wish list, and it hasn’t happened because smart people on the other side have been able to keep the right wingers from getting away with it. This has never been about school choice; it’s a matter of rich people not liking their tax money going to fund schools their kids don’t attend, and wanting to get a little bonus in the form of a voucher.
It’s a sad situation for Romney that the one time he pops up in public recently, he makes a poor showing at the NAACP and embarasses himself. This is not a good omen for the many public appearances and debates he will need to somehow ace in September and October. It’s no wonder that we’re seeing desperate twitters from Rupert Murdoch and increasingly frantic media appearances by people like John Sununu.