Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tagg Romney Wanted To "Take A Swing At" Obama and a Salon Writer Made It About Race

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Taggart Romney, son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was interviewed by North Carolina radio station WPTF following the second Presidential debate, and was asked by host Bill Lumaye what it felt like to have President Barack Obama call his father a liar (starting at 00:35 here).

Tagg's response?:

"[you want to] jump out of your seat, rush the debate stage and take a swing at him"

Which isn't a brilliant response, particularly from a 42 year old man who should know better than to say something like that on the airwaves, considering that he's currently serving as an adviser on his father's campaign to be elected the President of the United States.

I can get why he felt that way — after all, no one who actually likes their father enjoys hearing him called a liar. It's an emotional thing. It happens. You don't talk about it on the radio, but it happens.

But this response from Salon.com's David Sirota takes the topic and (to borrow a phrase from Deadspin.com) abandons the damn yard with this absurd tangent about white privilege:

In a post-debate interview with a North Carolina radio station, Tagg was asked about his visceral reaction to President Obama, and he said his first thought was that he wanted to “jump out of your seat and you want to rush down to the stage and take a swing at him.” He then laughed and added, “But you know you can’t do that because, well, first because there’s a lot of Secret Service between you and him.”

One of the hallmarks of White Privilege is the unquestioned and largely unchallenged assumption that white people can say heinous things about people of color without blowback or even mild criticism — things that people of color rarely dare to say about white people, for fear of serious retribution. Tagg — aka Mr. White Privilege — proves the point perfectly. He feels totally comfortable fantasizing about committing physical violence against an African American man. And remember, he’s not just any white guy pondering such grotesque dreams. On the contrary, he’s one of the public faces of a national presidential campaign appearing in a public media interview, meaning White Privilege has made him feel so comfortable airing such notions, that he didn’t hesitate to whimsically broadcast them to thousands of voters.

Seriously? I know that I'm a Hispanic staffer for a newspaper and website that tends to have a leftward lean, but even I'm of the opinion that this was just a stupid, stupid thing said by a son who wants to defend his father's honor.

There's nothing that suggests "white privilege" in his comment — I don't doubt that, had he been asked the same thing about hearing Joe Biden call his father a liar in a public forum, he'd have a similar response.

Tagg Romney needs to be more careful with what he says, and I don't doubt that he'll be shuffled behind curtains for some time while his father deflects questions about Tagg's comment by praising his passion. But to write that Romney said what he did because he's white and President Obama is black is so empty-headed it defies description.

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