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Geraldo Rivera

In Mitt's Mexican Roots, Geraldo Rivera wonders what Mitt Romney meant in that secretly taped fundraiser when he joked that he would "have a better shot of winning this" election if his folks had been real "Mexican parents":

Is he suggesting that as a "real" Latino he would be more sensitive to issues concerning the group? Or more likely, is he suggesting that, superficially, he would be more attractive to the key Latino voting bloc?

  – Geraldo Rivera, Fox News: Mitt's Mexican Roots

I'm white, and I immediately caught the dog whistle that Geraldo has either missed, or is careful not to mention: Romney was making a not-so-subtle racist joke among his wealthy white peers about that bugaboo of the right wing echo chamber, affirmative action.

With his many years toiling away in the heart of that echo chamber at Fox News, I'm surprised that Geraldo didn't catch it as well. Or perhaps he did catch it, but he also recognized how – as a Fox News personality – openly discussing Romney's covert racism could help to torpedo Romney's candidacy (and possibly his own career).

Your impressions appreciated in the comments.

Please also see this morning's related diary: Asparagus, redistribution, and sab cats – a different philosophical take on the Romney exposé
3:40 AM PT:After writing this diary, it occurred to me that others who have come to the same conclusion may also have written about it, so I did a search. Here's what I've found.

From Contra Costa Times:

"My heritage, my dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan, was the head of a car company, but he was born in Mexico. Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this."

The crowd laughed as Romney continued.

"But, he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico; they lived there for a number of years. I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."

Joke or not, critics of President Barack Obama have long attributed a racial or ethnic advantage – a kind of electoral "affirmative action" – to his winning 2008 election and ongoing popularity, especially among nonwhite voters.

"If Obama was white, he would be down by 20 (percent)," radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said earlier this month. "If Obama was white, this election would be over."

  –Matt O'Brien, Contra Costa Times: Would being Latino help Romney?

From Huffington Post:
To cap it off, Romney deploys another favorite dog whistle – affirmative action – saying of his father, "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this." It is sad that beyond the obvious implied dig at President Obama's race, Romney may actually believe this. Lots of white Republicans think that they'd have an easier time in life if they were people of color.

  –Jeremiah Goulka, Huffington Post: Mitt Romney on How the Other 47 Percent Lives

From CNN:
if Mitt really wants to get in touch with his inner Mexican, I think he'll find that it's not all churros and chocolate or pinatas and pan dulce. You see – and you might find this hard to believe, Mitt – but there is still a lot of discrimination in this country against Latinos as whites hunker down and try to hold on to what they have in the face of changing demographics.

For instance, Romney has two Harvard degrees, and so do I. But I'll go out on a limb here and guess that he never had anyone suggest that he was only admitted to that prestigious university because of affirmative action. Or that he is frequently told, as I am, to "go back to Mexico" – which is ironic, given that, since I'm the grandson of a Mexican immigrant and Romney is the son of a Mexican immigrant, the GOP presidential candidate is one generation closer to the motherland than I am.

  –Ruben Navarrette, CNN: Romney better off as a Latino?

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