The Republicans like to speak in code, in dog-whistle vernacular. It wouldn't be prudent of course to openly attack Mr. Obama on the basis of his skin color. So you raise questions about his birthright , his religion, his schooling, his American bona fides, his political philosophy. You drop words like 'foreign' and load up your narrative with a steady stream of innuendos. The reality is you're not only preaching to the choir but dropping hints to that impressionable swath of undecideds that "it's time to get rid of the aberration in the White House: A Black man.
This is how I view the recent "Anglo-Saxon" controversy that preceded Romney's arrival in London for the opening of the Summer Olympic games.
You may recall that a mysterious unnamed member of Romney's foreign policy advisory team told a reporter for the London Telegraph that "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage. The White House didn't fully appreciate the shared history we have." Translated into dog-whistle: When those Germanic tribes were invading Britain in the 5th century, Obama's ancestors were still bent over wandering the dark continent of Africa.
Never mind that Romney and his campaign team vehemently disavowed and denounced these crass, invidious remarks. They took cover under plausible deniability. But the message was effectively delivered.
It's a despicable way to conduct a campaign. But it's no shocker. It's been the Republican M.O. since the moment Mr. Obama was sworn in. As Joe Biden said, "This assertion is beneath a presidential campaign." But it's just where the GOP likes to play: in the mud.
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