Romney’s threatening whiteness

Here, as part of VFR’s observance of Martin Luther King’s birthday, is an article from the January 14 New York Times which demonstrates what modern liberalism in general and the King holiday in particular are really all about: the venomous delegitimization of white gentiles, and of anything and everything about America that was created by or is associated with white gentiles—which means, really, America itself.

The irony, as I’ve pointed out many times, is that white mainstream conservatives have long since given up any racial consciousness, given up any thought of trying to preserve white America from demographic transformation or even of defending white people from verbal and physical attacks, because, in their mind, to express any consciousness of race is immoral and racist, if you’re white. Yet the fact that white conservatives have so fully signed on to the right-liberal agenda of race-blindness and white suicide gains them no credit with the racially conscious, openly anti-white left-liberals. The fact that the conservatives are still white and not formally a part of the liberal faction makes them weird, disgusting, “privileged,” always vaguely or blatantly menacing, and barely human.

I should also add that it is not irrelevant that the author of this anti-white article is Jewish. Notwithstanding that America has been the most philo-Semitic country in history, many left-liberal Jews have a deep-seated animus against white gentiles and will be content with nothing less than their total dispossession.

I’ve bolded the most pungent passages from Lee Siegel’s article.

What’s Race Got to Do With It?

Like a cross to Dracula is the sight of Romney’s family to the New York Times.

Mitt Romney may not have officially clinched the Republican nomination, but his victory has never really been in doubt. Nor has his viability in November: the most fanatical Tea Partiers are not about to withhold their votes and risk allowing President Obama to be re-elected.

Pundits have already begun the endless debate over whether Mr. Romney’s wealth and religion are hindrances or assets. But there has yet to be any discussion over the one quality that has subtly fueled his candidacy thus far and could well put him over the top in the fall: his race. The simple, impolitely stated fact is that Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory.

Of course, I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president. It is a whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America.

In this way, Mr. Romney’s Mormonism may end up being a critical advantage. Evangelicals might wring their hands over the prospect of a Mormon president, but there is no stronger bastion of pre-civil-rights-America whiteness than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Yes, since 1978 the church has allowed blacks to become priests. But Mormonism is still imagined by its adherents as a religion founded by whites, for whites, rooted in a millenarian vision of an America destined to fulfill a white God’s plans for earth.

It’s true that Mr. Romney’s opponents are all white as well. But each is tainted in his own way. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich appear soft on Hispanic immigration, and Mr. Gingrich is hardly the standard-bearer for the invincible nuclear family.

Rick Santorum is an Italian-American Catholic, while Jon Huntsman, though a Mormon himself, wears his cosmopolitanism too brazenly. (Does he really think it’s an asset, in the eyes of a Republican primary voter, to speak Mandarin?) And Ron Paul’s isolationist conspiracy-mongering recalls, if anything, the radical-right fringe of the ’50s and ’60s, of the John Birchers and the followers of George Wallace, a manic moment even most evangelicals would rather forget.

Contrast that with Mr. Romney’s meticulously cultivated whiteness. He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like “oh gosh” with Stepford bonhomie. He has mastered Benjamin Franklin’s honesty as the “best policy”: a practiced insincerity, an instant sunniness that, though evidently inauthentic, provides a bland bass note that keeps everyone calm. This is the bygone world of Babbitt, of small-town Rotarians.

Mr. Romney does not merely use the past as an inspirational reference point, as the other candidates often do. He conjures it as a total social, cultural and political experience that must be resurrected and reinhabited. He speaks of the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence as phases of national creativity that we are destined to live through again. He frequently accompanies his recitative with verses from “America the Beautiful.”

And while Mr. Romney may, in some people’s eyes, be a non-Christian, he is better than any of his opponents at synching his worldview with that of the evangelicals. He likes to present, with theological urgency, a stark choice between, in his words, President Obama’s “entitlement society” and the true American freedom of an “opportunity society.” By the time he intones the Puritans’ alabaster ideal of America as a “shining city on a hill,” you wonder if he is not also asking us to choose between two different types of mountaintops.

In this way, whether he means to or not, Mr. Romney connects with a central evangelic fantasy: that the Barack Obama years, far from being the way forward, are in fact a historical aberration, a tear in the white space-time continuum. And let’s be clear: Mr. Obama’s election was not destiny, but a fluke.

Despite a general revulsion against George W. Bush and his policies, despite John McCain’s lack of ideas and his remoteness from contemporary American problems, the Republican ticket was ahead of Mr. Obama by several points in September 2008. Then came the fall: Lehman Brothers, the stock-market plunge and skyrocketing unemployment (not to mention Sarah Palin).

By the iron law of elections, the country threw the bums out and rejected anyone even remotely tied to them. The result? America’s first black president.

And yet, as became immediately apparent in 2009, millions of Americans were unwilling to accept the basic democratic premise that Mr. Obama legally and morally deserved to sit in the White House—and that was before they confronted his “socialist” and “un-American” policy agenda.

Mitt Romney knows this. He knows that he offers to these people the white solution to the problem of a black president. I am sure that Mr. Romney is not a racist. But I am also sure that, for the many Americans who find the thought of a black president unbearable, he is an ideal candidate. For these sudden outsiders, Mitt Romney is the conventional man with the outsider faith—an apocalyptic pragmatist—who will wrest the country back from the unconventional man with the intolerable outsider color.

Lee Siegel is the author, most recently, of “Harvard Is Burning.”

- end of initial entry -

Karl D. writes:

I love this one: “Mr. Romney’s meticulously cultivated whiteness.” I never knew that what I and millions of other whites were doing by living our daily lives was actually meticulously cultivating our whiteness. I am pleased to know that that is what I have been doing.

Hannon writes:

Do you think Siegel’s rhetoric would be different, perhaps less strident, if Obama were black rather than mulatto? I cannot recall your having written on this subject but it is quite striking how Obama’s white maternal lineage is so blatantly sidelined by so many writers.

Steve N. writes:

Reporter Lee Siegel has nearly convinced me to vote for Romney!

Kristor writes:

Gosh, learning that I’ve been meticulously cultivating my whiteness is rather like being told that I’ve been speaking meticulous prose.

Julian C. writes:

Trawling through the sadly predictable comments at the Times agreeing with Siegel, I found this refreshing comment from “Zhou” in Hong Kong:

This article must make one concession—Obama would never have been elected if he were not black. He never would have received attention or obtained the energy that he did. During the last election, there was significant energy behind doing something “historic” by electing America’s first black president.

This more accurately frames the picture this article tries to paint—it isn’t so much that whites are looking to get over this “aberration”; rather, in reelection, Obama doesn’t have the same appeal because we’ve already elected a black president once. As such, voters are left with a president who lacked qualifications to begin with and now has a disappointing record to boot.

Matthew H. writes:

Here’s a first, visceral reaction to the photo of Mitt Romney and his family: My cynicism falls away. Romney-care, the cozying up to the sodomites, his status as the hands-down favorite of the GOP establishment with all the standard issue foreign and domestic policy positions that come with it—all of that recedes in an instant to relative unimportance. Look at that family. There has to be something good in this man.

And the bit about “Like a cross to Dracula … ” That by itself is nearly sufficient to seal the deal.

The issues remain but the GOP has given us a tough decision. Accept this middle-of-the-road, Mormon (?!) flip-flop artist or walk away from the most robust embodiment of the traditional America ethny in public life today. Perhaps they are counting on our unspoken (in truth, unspeakable) yearning for the wholesomeness, the (yes) whiteness that he and his brood project to make us forget all the other stuff.

Alright. His family isn’t everything. But it sure is something.

January 17

Howard Sutherland writes:

I have spent the sainted civil-rights hero’s commemorative weekend flattened by a sinus infection, so I had not looked at VFR for a while. This morning when I saw your post about Newsweek’s hit on Geert Wilders, I was about to send you this Sunday’s New York Times hit-job on Mitt Romney and white Americans generally, with the comment that if you thought Newsweek is nasty, the NYT can always be nastier. (My wife buys the Sunday NYT mainly for the crossword; please don’t think I prefer the NYT to VFR!) Scrolling farther down VFR, though, I see that you already have Lee Siegel’s little bit of hate-speech well covered.

I should have known that when it comes to the cutting edge of societal devolution, nobody spots these things faster than you do! Cheers. HRS

LA replies:

Thank you Howard. :-) I hope your MLK commemorative infection has cleared up.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 16, 2012 04:33 PM | Send

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