Mitt Romney is Desperate to Show That He’s a True Believer

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A couple of days ago Mitt Romney suggested that Palestinians were poor because of their culture. Then he walked it back. Then he doubled down. Then the pointy-headed elites weighed in. Romney was misrepresenting the books he based his argument on, they said. One of the authors, Jared Diamond of Guns, Germs, and Steel fame, even took to the New York Times to say so himself. Romney’s riff on his book was so far off, Diamond said, “that I have to doubt whether Mr. Romney read it.” But Dan Drezner, who almost (almost!) betrays a bit of vicarious sympathy for the beatdown Romney is getting, says it doesn’t matter:

Will this make a whit of difference in the campaign? That depends entirely on whether you believe that voters still respond to cues from elites… so for me the answer is “probably not.”

Ah, but this was never a play for elite opinion, except maybe in the sense of assuring voters that Romney isn’t part of the fuzzy-headed, PhD-wielding, social science wimpocracy. Romney was basically suggesting that Palestinians are lazy and violent, and that’s why the milk and honey doesn’t run through their land. It was a crass shoutout to the Christian right, the Jewish right, and the neocon rump, all of whom already basically believe this. Romney is just sending a not-so-subtle signal that he’s one of them.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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