Ann Romney’s snobbish snub

Ross Perot suffered for calling black voters "you people," but 20 years on, we're all "you people" to GOP elitists

Topics: Ann Romney,

Ann Romney's snobbish snub (Credit: AP/Steven Senne)

Are we allowed to criticize Ann Romney yet? I have a call into Hilary Rosen, but she hasn’t gotten back to me.

I’m thinking that with Mitt Romney’s shot at Teresa Heinz Kerry the other day, for not releasing sufficient information from her personal tax returns, maybe we’re beyond the “wives are off-limits” phase of the campaign. Or maybe “wives are off-limits” always applies, but only to Republican wives.

Whatever. I find it impossible not to comment on Ann Romney Antoinette’s remark that her husband has provided enough tax information to “you people.” Or as she told ABC News: “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.” Like everyone else, I immediately thought of the trouble Ross Perot caused for himself when he referred to the NAACP audience as “you people” in 1992. It’s so disrespectful.

Now, it may be OK, in some circles, to call the media “you people,” which is what Romney would probably argue she was doing. But in fact, she’s talking to American voters, a majority of whom (including a third of Republicans) want the Romneys share more tax returns, according to a USAToday poll released Thursday. The poll didn’t ask whether voters would like more information generally about how the Romneys “live our life,” but that seems if anything an even more arrogant and elitist reaction from Romney.

Ann Romney’s comment about “you people” is particularly fascinating to me because I can’t get over the way the contemporary right has taken insults they once reserved for African-Americans and applied them to a much broader swath of the country, including white folks, who happen to make up 90 percent of their base. The obvious example I’ve written about before is Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” which blames the hard times suffered by the white working class on its own laziness, aversion to marriage, and fondness for the dole – the same personal traits he blamed for African-American poverty in the 1980s.



Ann Romney is too well-bred to call African-Americans “you people” in public, of course, especially after what happened to Ross Perot. But she obviously has no problem referring to other folks she holds in contempt that way. Of course Romney has displayed contempt for certain African-Americans – like when she and her husband told the Obamas to “start packing,” because in Ann’s words, “It’s Mitt’s time. It’s our turn now,” to live in the White House. As if the Obamas were troublesome tenants who’d overstayed their welcome in the home that rightly belongs to the Romneys.

She displayed her plutocratic sense of entitlement when she proclaimed Hilary Rosen’s remarks about her stay-at-home-mom status “a birthday present.” Romney’s sincere reaction wasn’t outrage but opportunism; she enjoyed the sight of Rosen being grilled on a spit over a bipartisan open flame. Good to know it’s all about you, Ann.

Politico and other mainstream media Romney defenders think some of us are being unfair focusing on the Romneys’ wealth and “the way we live our lives,” in Ann’s snippy terms. They think it’s mean to talk about Romney’s dressage habit, which involves a really expensive horse now headed to the Olympics, whose care and feeding allowed the Romneys to take a $77,000 tax deduction. That’s almost twice the median wage in this country.

But in a time of unprecedented income inequality, the Romneys’ wealth, tax history, lifestyle and values are absolutely fair game. And so is Ann Romney’s barely repressed elitism.

We’re all “you people” to the Romneys. It’s good to know.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>