Mitt Romney accepted an invitation to speak before the NAACP.

It didn’t go well. Color me so surprised?

You have to give Mittens some credit. It takes a certain amount of guts to be the Whitest White Man Alive and walk into a convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People knowing there aren’t many potential votes in the crowd. It probably wasn’t the high point of the week for him.

Win or lose, unless there’s a Monica Lewinsky in Barack Obama’s closet, he’s going to get over 95 percent of the Black vote. Everyone knows this. Nobody doubts it. We can argue whether he should get over 95 percent of the Black vote, but there is no denying it.

It was a given Romney would offer nothing of substance to chip away at Obama’s most solid base of support and he didn’t. His platitudes to the good deeds of the nation’s oldest civil rights organization and cheerleading for school vouchers received a polite, but cool response. The membership of the NAACP may be middle class and aging, but you can’t bullshit them.   Romney may smile pretty and offer an accommodating open hand, but there isn’t anything in his past that leads anyone to believe this is a guy who cares about anyone who isn’t White and wealthy.

Obama knows who he has his back.

Watch the  G.O.P. debates again and look for a moment where this conservative cabal of candidates expressed any idea, proposal, program or even  a passing interest in issues of interest to Blacks.  Romney spoke approvingly of Republican-passed voter I.D. laws deliberately designed to disenfranchise African-Americans and has aligned himself with the forces trying to turn back the clock on Black progress.

The best person to judge the Republican outreach to Blacks are Black Republicans. They’re not optimists. Former Republican National Committee Chairman, Michael “You Da’ Man” Steele has shrugged it off as window dressing. “As far as I’m concerned, at this stage of the game this is kind of a moot point,” Steele said. “The RNC has done very little since I left office to expand on the work that we had done in this area. They’ve got a website, God bless them. It’s always good to put a website up with some black faces on it. Outreach.”

For his part, Romney seemed pleased with his soft-shoe act.

“I spoke with a number of African-American leaders after the event and they said, you know, a lot of folks do not want to say they will not vote for President Obama but they are disappointed in his lack of policies to improve the schools,” Romney said in an interview on Fox News. “The president has not been able to get the job done and people want to see someone would can get the economy going so I expect to get the African American votes, and at the end of my speech having a standing ovation was generous and hospitable and I believe we disagree on some issues like ‘Obamacare’ on a lot of issues people see eye to eye, they want someone getting the economy going.”

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Mittens really does have “Black leaders” whispering in his ear how they would like to say they support him but if they do they’ll get crucified for selling out the brother in the White House.   There’s a lot of nodding and winking and handshakes by those looking to cut a better deal for themselves if nobody else.  Hustlers gotta hustle, ya dig?

Not that it means anything.  Romney was in Houston speaking to the NAACP, but he was talking to White people in swing states looking for a reason to vote Republican.  Mitt said to them, “Look, I’m not pandering to please the Black folks.  I do believe in something and you can trust me.”

If anyone is wondering why Romney would go somewhere he knew he wasn’t really welcome, the answer is, why shouldn’t he go to the NAACP convention?   To White independents he looks moderate and inclusive.  When the crowd booed for saying he’d repeal Obamacare,  it makes Romney look tough to White conservatives.   It’s a win-win that costs Romney nothing but time.

Two weeks earlier, Romney turned down an invitation to speak at the National Association of Black Journalists convention.  He would have received an equally polite reception, but wouldn’t have received the boos.  Romney wanted the booing.   It didn’t hurt him in the least and his willingness to go before a skeptical audience trades short-term embarrassment for long-term viability with swing voters.   Obama did the same thing when he went before the American Legion in 2008.  He knew the rewards were minimal, but the potential for looking like the president of all Americans made it worthwhile.

Obama, who is skipping the NAACP convention, knows why Romney walked onto his home turf.    It’s not likely Obama follow Romney’s lead and speaks to the National Rifle Association.

Give Romney credit for speaking to the largest assemblage of Blacks he’s ever been around, but take it away for not providing a good reason for showing up.   Mitt may be shallower than a puddle on the sidewalk, but never doubt that he’s not slick.

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How Mitt Conned the NAACP

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