Romney – Out of Presidential Picture

I know this isn’t an “official” declaration of a lack of intent to run by Mitt Romney, but seriously, how can someone of this magnitude make a statement like this and be taken seriously as a Presidential contender.  This is not the final nail in the coffin for Romney’s hopes, but they are currently laying in the coffin and the nails are on order.

From AccessNorthGeorgia

Gov. Mitt Romney has apologized for referring to the troubled Big Dig construction project as a “tar baby” during a fundraiser with Iowa Republicans, saying he didn’t know anyone would be offended by the term some consider a racial epithet.

In a speech Saturday, Romney, a Republican considering a run for president in 2008, acknowledged he took a big political risk in taking control of the project after a fatal tunnel ceiling collapse.

“The best thing politically would be to stay as far away from that tar baby as I can,” he told a crowd of about 100 supporters.

Black leaders were outraged at his use of the term, which dates to the 19th century Uncle Remus stories, referring to a doll made of tar that traps Br’er Rabbit.

62 comments

  1. Demonbeck says:

    I can see it now…

    Romney Apologizes Again

    Atlanta – Mitt Romney has found himself in a bit of hot water again after statements made to the NAACP National Convention yesterday.

    “I’m just not quite sure what I said wrong – don’t those people like that kind of music?” Romney was quoted as saying after being booed off stage for singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and making several references to lynchings and “swinging like a slave from the lowest hanging branch of a Sycamore tree.”

    This guy is an idiot.

  2. rugby_fan says:

    ah well, as they say…Mitt Happens…

    FWIW: I know a fair number of Mormons.

    Some of the are OK and even normal. MR seems like one of the normal ones. 😀

  3. Demonbeck says:

    Mormons aren’t well known for mingling with people of color, unless by color you mean white, tanned and sunburnt.

  4. Broty says:

    Romney is hardly an idiot.

    Tony Snow used the term in one of his first briefings as White House Press Secretary. Is he an idiot too?

    Tar baby, while not the best phrase to use, is not a racial slur.

  5. Demonbeck says:

    It was clearly not meant as a racial slur, but both are idiots for using the term. There are many ways to easily say what they meant without trying to be cute. Any Republican politician with half a brain would know to stay away from saying “tar baby.”

    A Democrat might get away with it.

  6. Broty says:

    Demonbeck,

    That may be a fair point, but I don’t think it takes him out of the running for the Rep. nomination – especially if he can get the Big Dig turned around.

  7. Bull Moose says:

    He’s an idiot for not knowing it was a racial slur. He’s out of touch with the entire country… He’d make a great VP or something like that, but he’s not ready for prime time to run for President.

  8. Demonbeck says:

    Frankly, I don’t think anyone outside of Boston really cares about some construction project in New England.

    This is what will be remembered. Mark my words – this will come back to haunt Romney.

  9. StevePerkins says:

    “Tar baby” is a racial slur now? Funny, I never got the memo. It’s not an expression I’ve heard very much under ANY context, but when it has been used it was referring to something sticky that traps you… similar to a “quicksand” metaphor.

    Anyway, I think that calling an end to Romney’s Presidential hopes over this is pretty laughable. George W. Bush is a quasi-draft dodger with a past history of alcohol problems and cocaine use, who eeked out 10% of the black vote. The GOP candidate is going to do WORSE in the ’08 general election. Highly doubtful.

    Besides, this might just end up inspirining Giuliani or McCain to “accidentally” drop the n-word in front of a live mic soon. You know, to “energize the base” and build conservative credentials.

  10. Broty says:

    This only matters to people who have a predispostion to not vote for him either because they’re democrats or they don’t like the fact that he’s a Mormon.

    And the Big Dig will be important if he can fix it because it will add to his narrative of being a “turnaround speacialist”.

  11. JB says:

    This is the kind of junk that drives me crazy. It is only ever a problem because we have allowed otherwise benign words and metaphors to be redefined by race-baiting hustlers. Nice work, Demonbeck, giving credence to this nonsense. And if you really think that something as silly as this will keep someone that might have otherwise voted for Romney from doing so, I’d question your qualifications to post on the front page. What an easy, third rate civics teacher line to take.

  12. Demonbeck says:

    JB,

    I got this story from the Drudge Report – which is read by a Gazillion people daily. It was posted by AP – which is read by a gazillion more people. To say that I am lending credence to it by posting it on PeachPundit for discussion is either egotistical or asinine.

    I am not declaring that the argument made by folks offended by Romney’s statements are credible, nor am I giving any more credence than the story already had when it was posted by the sources noted above.

    You may thik this is “an easy, third rate civics teacher line to take” but the fact of the matter is that slip ups like this make or break campaigns. If I’m running in a primary against Romney, I use this over and over again. On Social Security, “Well Mitt, I’m not sure I’d call this program a ‘tar baby’ like you, but it certainly is broken and needs fixing.”

    Now given that he is a Mormon – the whitest of all “white” religions and from the Northeast, this statement has painted himself in a corner and will label him as an elitist New Englander who knows nothing about life outside of Boston.

    This statement will come back to haunt him.

    Remember Dukakis in the tank? Mondale declaring he would raise taxes? Karen Handel’s former boss’s misspelling of “potatoe”? The “Daisy Girl” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisy_(television_commercial) commercial?

    Little things can add up to big things quickly.

  13. me says:

    Far be it from me to defend Mitt Romney, but it’s not as sinister as it sounds. Strange as it may seem to Peach Pundit readers, few northerners know that the term “tar baby” means anything other than “a sticky situation”.

  14. Broty says:

    Demonbeck,

    I would agree with you that this would be a big deal, and a potential campaign breaker, IF we were in the middle of a presidential campiagn and if Romney had made other racially sensitive remarks.

    All the gaffes you pointed two had a huge effect for two reasons: 1) they were their party’s nominee and it was in middle of the election and 2) they accutuated suspicions the electorate may have already held about the candidate.

    This will have minimal effect – unless he does something like this again closer to the primary.

  15. me says:

    Oh, but it is racial in derivation. Brer rabbit and the tar baby. No question about that. But nobody explains the story that way in the North. Race is a taboo subject.

  16. Broty says:

    Demonbeck,

    Romney’s from Michigan and has spent considerable time living in Utah so I would think he knows more about life outside of New England than you’d think.

    Now, what he knows about life in the South…

  17. Demonbeck says:

    Uncle Remus stories were originally told in Gullah/Geechee dialect spoken by many slaves and freedmen along the Georgia Coast. Historically, it is actually a story that has roots in African culture. Do you think that NBC Nightly News is going to promote that fact though?

  18. Demonbeck says:

    Broty,

    I am not saying he doesn’t, I am saying what is going to be played to the masses about him.

    Perception is reality in politics. Reality takes too long to explain to the masses. You lose them if you cannot say it in under 30 seconds.

  19. Demonbeck says:

    From UncleRemus.com

    “ON July 20, 1879 an undersized thirty-year-old journalist from Atlanta known as Joe Harris began a journey from relative obscurity to interregional fame. On that day, the Atlanta Constitution published the young copy editor’s “Story of Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Fox as told by

    Uncle Remus.” Within months, magazines across the country were reprinting his tales, and after more than 1,000 written requests for a collection, the first Uncle Remus book was published in November, 1880. ”

    Have none of you ever been to Eatonton?

  20. Big Mack says:

    Having to waltz around words and phrases that some people consider racially inappropriate makes me sick. I hope that before I die we can get back to calling a spade a fucking shovel. Oh dear, spade, probably shouldn’t have used that word.

  21. rjhatl says:

    Isn’t there enough in the world for people to be offended at without making up new phrases? Tar baby is a racial slur now? Apparently people need to read Uncle Remus so they can understand that the tar baby is part of a trickster story where the “victim” is the white “master” who is always outsmarted in the end. Even Toni Morrison understands the true meaning:

    She described it as a “forbidden word” that she sought to restore to its original meaning, one that illuminated an old African tale about the connection between a master and slave.

    “How it became a racial epithet, I don’t know,” she said. “It was my attempt to rescue the phrase from its low meaning. I wanted to annihilate the connotation and return the meaning to its origins. Apparently, I haven’t succeeded.”
    (from the Boston Globe)

    I’ve always considered that the people who use the phrase tar baby aren’t ignorant, it’s the people who get offended at the phrase who are being ignorant.

  22. CobbGOPer says:

    Again, no Mormons in the White House. I’ve known Mormons too, normal and somewhat creepy, and I’ve investigated the religious precepts of that faith, and I just find it to be the 1800’s equivelant of Scientology. Brigham Young = L. Ron Hubbard, who said (seriously, he said this, but I’m paraphrasing) “the best way a man can make alot of money is to start his own religion.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not real keen on Christianity either, but I’m not interested in giving the reins of this country over to someone who thinks he’s getting his own planet to run after he dies…

  23. Demonbeck says:

    It would be his campaign motto, “Why wait ’til I die, when I can get my own planet to run in ’08?”

  24. Broty says:

    CobbGOPer –

    Is there any other group we should add to the list that is off limits from running for President?

    I think it would be helpful for the candidates to know, that’s all.

  25. CobbGOPer says:

    And for that matter, I’m not real keen on Islam, Judaism, voodoo, Buddhism, Hinduism, animism, any sort of -ism. Except maybe Darwinism, but even that’s suspect.

  26. CobbGOPer says:

    I’m totally serious about Mormons. Not so much the other stuff, like Americanism:)

    But Communism and Socialism = definitely Bad for America.

  27. DTK says:

    “Frankly, I don’t think anyone outside of Boston really cares about some construction project in New England.”

    This shows how clueless you are. The “Big Dig” has been railed against by conservatives for years now because it was “only” supposed to cost about $2 billion when it was proposed, but now has cost about $15 billion after years of delays, with federal taxpayers having to pick up much of the cost.

    Yes, the average voter might not know much about the project, but donors and other influential people do. How Romney handles the current fallout with the “Big Dig” might have more bearing on a presidential run than his success in operating the Salt Lake Olympics.

    As for all the outrage over the “tar baby” quote: this just smacks of ignorance. Yes, the phrase may have had racial overtones in other settings, but the original use meant “a sticky situation.” Romney’s use of the phrase fits the latter interpretation. This uproar reminds me of the D.C. council employee who had to apologize a few years ago for using the word “niggardly.” Apparently dictionaries are in short supply in Washington and common sense can’t be found in Massachusettes.

  28. SOUTHERNCOMFORT says:

    Bad choice of words, but he by far is no idiot.He’s selfmade and articulate however he has little chance of being on the ticket at either level.Mistakes happen to the best of us…

  29. Bill Simon says:

    This reminds me of the time in D.C. about 8-10 years ago when a white guy on the city council used the word “niggardly” to describe the black mayor’s budget and he had to “apologize” for the use of the word and resign….even when the word had ZERO to do with race.

  30. DTK says:

    Demonbeck,

    And all enlightened people just knew Reagan’s constant use of “welfare queen” would just backfire on him, because, you know, he obviously was speaking in code. Or maybe he was just tapping into the frustration many had over people who saw nothing wrong in sitting on the porch all afternoon waiting for a check to arrive in the mail rather than working.

    The uproar over Romney’s quote is making a mountain out of a mole hill. He likely won’t go far in the GOP primary, but it will have absolutely nothing to do with this quote. People will be talking about this quote for as long as they talk about Joe Biden’s quote about Indian-Americans.

    Oh, wait, nevermind. People aren’t talking about that anymore, are they?

  31. me says:

    The tar baby in Brer Rabbit may have been used to trick the white master, but it also had to do with the tensions between lighter- and darker-skinned blacks. So it’s a mistake to try to portray those who think its uncomplimentary to blacks as uninformed.

  32. landman says:

    Romney will never be President nor will Rudy,or Hillary and anyone else who lives in the Northeast,it wont happen.Romney would stand the best chance if it were not for him being a Mormon.The guy is very smart and unlike many vying for the nomination has actually accomplished somthing outside of the Politrical arena.Should he have used the phrase ..no but he is hardly an idiot.

  33. JackDill says:

    Does Mitt suffer from a genetic problem? Or does he use the same incompetent advisors that torpedoed his father’s campaign. George Romney withdrew from the Republican presidential race in 1968 two weeks before the New Hampshire primary after explaining, on national TV, that he had been “brainwashed” about Vietnam while on duty there. Sounds like Mitt is following the same general strategy.

  34. jacewalden says:

    Romney was, is, and (until he officially withdraws from the race) will be my choice for President. I could care less if he’s a Mormon. This is hardly the end of his candidacy.

  35. Chris says:

    I’m opposed to scientologists being President. And anyone from Hollywood. Unless the can re-incarnate Reagan.

  36. Batman says:

    I understand concerns with moronism, but I think Romney has shown that in many cases he has actually been able to separate his religious beliefs from what he does as a politician and the initiatives he brings. But, he is almost forced to do it because the same evangelical christians who have become so active in the Republican Party to promote their religious philosophies, also look down on his religion, so he therefore has to separate himself to be viable in a major race. What a concept for a Republican these days, keeping his religion separate from politics. My point is that he has a done a decent job at separating what he has done as Governor from crossing over with his religious beliefs, but people are unfortunately still going to hold it against him, which is a shame.

  37. mercergirl says:

    I’m just so aggravated in general with people needing to be so damn politically correct.

  38. bird says:

    Kowtowing to an unwritten set of rules that is manipulated for gain is the worst form of political correctness. Being respectful of others is the best form.

    Just an interesting fact, the most Republican voting precinct in the most Republican voting county is one of the most Republican voting states is comprised of the Mormon fundamentalists just outside Salt Lake City. What’s that expression about politics and bedfellows?

    And a great book on Morman fundamentalists (that term generally refers to polygamists) is Under the Banner of Heaven, by John Krakauer.

  39. northside elephant says:

    What about his mandatory health insurance plan? Do ya’ll think that it could hurt his presidential ambitions?

  40. John Konop says:

    northside,

    His mandatory insurance plan makes him a player. The idea is backed by many conservative groups like Heritage & Cato.It is an issue that will bring people from all parties to the game.I would not count him out.

    I do think the “tar” thing will have a minor effect. My guess more people will know about Mel Gibson and Condi Rice latest deal than this.

  41. northside elephant says:

    I think that mandatory health insurance is a great idea too. I was just wondering what the average Peach Pundit thought.

  42. DTK says:

    Konop,

    Have you ever been right about anything?

    Here’s Cato’s director Michael Tanner on Romney’s plan:

    “Health care needs more consumer control and freer markets, not more government regulation, controls, and subsidies. The Massachusetts reform takes us in the wrong direction”

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=6407

    And Heritage’s support can only be described as lukewarm.

    “Several features of the Massachusetts health plan could revolutionize the traditional health care sys­tem by empowering individuals to buy and own their health insurance policies and keep these poli­cies with them regardless of job or job status. How­ever, officials in other states should shun the imposition of employer mandates and avoid public program expansions while making modifications and improvements to other significant components of the Massachusetts plan.”

    http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg1953.cfm

  43. John Konop says:

    DTK,

    I am sorry ,I was wrong about CATO I had heard that on a panel did not check it out.

    Yet the concept of mandatory pay health insurance is a key element in fixing the problem. You cannot have a system that is driving toward less people paying that getting the service.

    As far as your personal attack about not being “right about anything” I would be happy for you to show all the mistakes I made on facts via trade, immigration and spending.

  44. DTK says:

    Konop,

    We’ve already tussled over trade over at jasonpye.com a few months ago. I’m agnostic on the immigration issue and we probably agree 99.8 percent of the time on spending.

    Accept my apology for the “pesonal attack.”

  45. Demonbeck says:

    John Konop has been whining a lot lately about people attacking him personally. I’m not saying that would lead a rational person to any conclusion, I am just pointing something out – publicly.

  46. John Konop says:

    DTK,

    I have a question for you. If you want you can e-mail me direct [email protected].I will not give out your answer unless you agree.

    We both agree Earmarks should be eliminated.

    We both agree the Highway bill,Energy bil, No child…… are pork bills.

    As a fiscal conservative Republican I was shocked in the debates between Steve , Tom and I that Steve Sinton agreed that he would not of voted for the pork and wanted to end earmarks.He also made simular comments in front of the Madison Group, which many of us were surprised. As you know Tom Price supports voted for the spending and does not want to eliminate earmarks.

    Who would you support and why?

    I am asking you out of respect for your understanding of the spending issue.

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