“Mitt Romney — He’s Not One Of Us”

“I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message.”

I must admit that I could not devote my full attention to last night’s final Presidential debate. I had just seen the latest from President Obama’s attack machine, a television spot approved by Barack Obama, that concludes with the legend, “Mitt Romney—He’s Not One of Us.”  It is an unfair, shocking, miserable, indefensible, dangerous argument to be employed by any party, any candidate, in any race for any office in the United States, at any time in the nation’s history. For it to be employed with the approval of a President of the United States, and this President in particular, should be cause for mourning, but also anger.

If I thought that President Obama was actively involved in releasing this disgrace to his campaign and the ideals he claims to represent, I would have no difficulty concluding that it alone disqualifies him for a second term. I don’t believe that. Perhaps I won’t let myself believe that. One of Obamas myriad weaknesses as a leader, however, is that he tolerates unethical, incompetent and untrustworthy staff and advisors. He trusted his campaign advisors, and they betrayed his trust. Still, he is accountable.

“He’s not one of us” is a direct call to division, bias and bigotry. It has always been so. I have been trying to think of any campaign in which such a tag line wouldn’t have provoked a storm of protest from the national media. Would the Republican have dared to use such a closing statement against Keith Ellison, Congress’s only Muslim? Would Richard Nixon have approved of such an ad when running against John F. Kennedy, trying to become the first Catholic to achieve the White House? Could George W. Bush have survived making the same statement in an ad attacking the Democratic ticket in 2000, with Joe Lieberman running as Vice President? Imagine the condemnation that would have deservedly buried Sen John McCain’s campaign in 2008 if he had endorsed an ad that concluded, “Barack Hussein Obama: He’s not one of us.”

Yet the same man who said, in that same campaign, these words: “If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from”—not Richard Nixon, not John McCain, not George W. Bush—the man who once appealed to idealism and hope by pledging to unite the country and not to engage in the politics of division, has specifically embraced a direct call to bigotry.  That’s what “He’s not one of us” means; that is what it has always meant, and it does mean anything else. For four years, the President’s race-baiting supporters have twisted logic and the English language into pretzels to argue that various statements from his opponents were “coded” appeals to bigotry—“dog whistles.” Some of them may have been, or a least served the useful purpose of being heard that way by those bigoted Americans who were so inclined. “He’s not one of us” however, is not code; it’s direct bigotry. It is code, too, I suppose: the Obama campaign has not (yet) directly attacked Romney on the basis of his much-derided religion, but I’m sure whatever Machiavellian crew of Obama minions who devised this ad knew that it would ring that bell as well.  Primarily, however, the bigotry the ad chooses to salute is the bigotry of Occupy Wall Street, of Marxists, and of class warfare. Romney isn’t “one of us” because he’s rich and successful. He’s the shadowy, menacing, stereotypical  “Other” of tribal anthropology because Mitt Romney has more money than “we” do, and so we should fear, hate, and distrust him. Never mind that America is traditionally a land in which everyone wants to be successful, has the opportunity to be successful, and admires, rather than envies, those who are. Is this really the political and social philosophy of the Democratic Party and Barack Obama? If so, then they are precisely as vile, sinister and anti-American as the most hysterical voices of conservative talk radio have been insisting.

I don’t believe that either. I believe a desperate campaign, without a record to run on and panicking, has abandoned all common sense and decency and crossed a line of campaign hyperbole and rhetoric that must never be crossed. It is profoundly depressing, and tragic too, that President Obama, a decent and admirable man, allowed himself to be stained by his participation in such a revolting tactic.

Now he can’t even lose with honor.


Pointer: James Taranto


19 thoughts on ““Mitt Romney — He’s Not One Of Us”

  1. For the president to approve a statement that divides one American from another, in this case by class, while subtly playing on race and religion is a dirty, shameful move. You’re right: this statement would never be tolerated if it were coming from the other side. It is despicable.

  2. You are too kind, Jack. Based on what I saw and heard last night I have no doubt the message was personally approved – – maybe even written – – by IMPOTUS.

  3. The concept of “shooting first and aiming second” bears mention.

    According to a goodly portion of the tolerant Left, Romney’s a “liar,” a “murderer,” a “tax cheat,” a “thief,” a “racist,” a “classist,” an “out-of-touch elitist,” etc.

    To those whose benevolence ends where someone else’s incongruent or differing worldview begins, it stands to reason that one wouldn’t want to be included with those that are “…not one of us.”

    He can’t run on his record and now he can’t run from it, so it’s this with which we’re left.

    This is a pattern and it begs a very serious question; who has Obama’s ear?

    • We have had a parade of loathsome, unprincipled political operatives in every White House at least since Bush in 1988. The last President who had competent, trustworthy advisors was probably JFK. But Obama’s are both loathsome and inept—whoever they are. How could he NOT flag this as unacceptable—unless he didn’t see it first?

  4. Give me a break. Too busy to respond with two words: Karl Rove. You reap what you sow. There’s nothing that implies anything more than the fact that Romney is who he is – someone concerned about only his selfish interests of his family and shareholders. “Not one of us” is the working people of this country trying to make a profitable living and survive in an “Export the jobs for better profit margins” world. “It’s just business.” This ad? “It’s just politics, Karl.” Bain Capital Case in point:


    This is the point of the ad, not – Romney is a Mormon. Or a Muslim. Or Successful. If I become a Bazillionaire by manufacturing Daisy Cutter Phosphorous bombs for the MIC, and also support arming and cajoling the Muslim population to violence by my corporation’s policies and belief system, that doesn’t make me “successful”. The only thing I am successful at doing is gaming the system to take advantage.

    It’s the same philosophy at the companies who manufacture radar detectors. They also (usually) make the radar guns. New radar gun. New radar detector. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    • Give me a break. That’s an impressive set of rationalizations you’ve assembled in defense of the indefensible, but the sentence is beyond whitewashing. It’s OK for Obama to appeal to bigotry and class hatred because of KARL ROVE? How does THAT compute?

      “Romney is who he is – someone concerned about only his selfish interests of his family and shareholders.” Of course, this is bigotry too, AND hateful, AND unsupportable, and ignorant as well. Virtually nobody who cares about selfish objectives only goes into public service, not even sociopaths like Bill Clinton and JFK. No wonder you make excuses for the ad.

      I think I toted up nine separate rationalizations you use in you post, but it could be a couple more or less. The statement “he’s not one of us” has a long, long tradition of encouraging hate and even violence, and Obama just recycled it. Hope and Change, you know.

      Give everybody a break. You should be embarrassed.

      • W is not a sociopath. H.W. has the noblest of intent. Gurl, you qwazy.

        And your blanket statement of “Virtually nobody who cares about selfish objectives only goes into public service” is complete bunk! There are 2 kinds – the Bush // Kennedy model, where high office and privilege is inherited, as in their first office is at the National Level, or those who start out on a school board and work their way up, either thru talent and good deeds or shady, Machiavellian manipulation.

        Either way, your usage of the term “Virtually” is as infinitely big as it is infinitely small. That being said, I am not embarrassed by my remarks and I stand by them – but as a person who has been in the ad business, I probably would have chosen a tag line that was much more concrete than the flim-flam “one of us” that is being misconstrued by those on the Red side of things. As in – “Mitt Romney – He doesn’t really give a s**t about the 98% – and he thinks that “middle class” means making 250K a year”.

        • All nonsense. Was Mom frightened by the Monopoly Man when you were in the womb? There are exceptions, but the vast, vast majority of American public servants, and I’d say 100% of Presidents, did so against self-interest. They can make more money, be healthier, even have more power elsewhere. Almost 25% get shot at or otherwise are stalked by maniacs. Your assignment of malign purposes is contradicted by history (real history, not Howard Zinn) and common sense.

  5. Do you think the ad, negative as it is, would have sent a more effective populist message if only the graphic at the end had said something slightly different…like for example, “Mitt Romney – Let HIM Fail” ? (I do.)

    • That’s pretty bad, too. Who runs on a “you’re all failures, and that’s a GOOD thing!” message? This is where the Obama campaign and narrative went off course. That’s just nasty.

      “He’s not one of us” isn’t a populist message. It’s not an effective message—never mind “more” effective. It’s an un-American message.

      • Whoa, I don’t disagree with anything you say in your second paragraph. But, I don’t think that the typical undecided voter (if there is one) is going to look at that ad, with the alternative ending I suggested, and even think about Obama running a “You’re all failures, and that’s a GOOD thing” message. The alternate graphic would turn around the key phrase Romney used that is allegedly so insensitive and ruthless (to those who bite the class warfare bait) and apply it to him.

  6. No President or national leader is “one of use” , All national leaders , including the POTUS live in a world that none of us, unless we are billionaires, can imagine.

  7. I don’t even want the President of the United States to be “One of Us”. I expect him to be a lot smarter and more successful than most of us.

    Obama 2012: “I’m that lovable underachiever who you all love to root for!”

  8. Amazing! For the last four years I’ve heard nothing but phrases like “he’s not one of us” when republicans reference Obama. “We’re taking America back.” “The American people have spoken–Obama must go!” The whole Republican message is that he’s a European Socialist, who is not an American, who does not understand American values. This particular commercial refers to Romney not being one of the 98%, which is accurate. Or you could say that he’s not middle class, as the commercial shows a bunch of middle class people talking about their jobs.

    • What is amazing is that so many supposedly educated people don’t understand that wrong is wrong, whether others have done the same wrong thing or not. Your argument is fatuous and inaccurate. Every political party has used versions of taking back the country/government/White House—it’s a matter of historical record. Your complaint is just another race-baiting defense that Democrats have used to stifle legitimate criticism of Obama from the beginning, using the race card as a muzzle. Despicable. “He’s not one of us” is per se bigotry, in contrast. It is dishonest and, frankly, slimy to try to justify a classic quote used by racists by picking one supposedly reasonable interpretation of it. But then, it is not reasonable. This is America, and every individual is special. Obama, as a multi-racial millionaire, is no more one of “the 98%” that Romeny is, nor am I, nor are you. It’s divisive and bigoted language by definition.

      The ad didn’t say “he’s not a member of the middle class.” Quiz, genius—who was the last major party US Presidential candidate who was a member of the middle class? You’re spinning a despicable ad that can’t be defended.

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