“What`s Race Got To Do With It?”

Lee Siegel blogs in the New York Times:

Pundits have already begun the endless debate over whether Mr. Romney’s wealth and religion are hindrances or assets. But there has yet to be any discussion over the one quality that has subtly fueled his candidacy thus far and could well put him over the top in the fall: his race. The simple, impolitely stated fact is that Mitt Romney is the whitest white man to run for president in recent memory. 

Of course, I’m not talking about a strict count of melanin density. I’m referring to the countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways he telegraphs to a certain type of voter that he is the cultural alternative to America’s first black president. It is a whiteness grounded in a retro vision of the country, one of white picket fences and stay-at-home moms and fathers unashamed of working hard for corporate America. 

… Contrast that with Mr. Romney’s meticulously cultivated whiteness. He is nearly always in immaculate white shirt sleeves. He is implacably polite, tossing off phrases like “oh gosh” with Stepford bonhomie.

Somebody a little less hot under the collar with resentments he doesn`t quite understand than Siegel might notice that Romney`s affect has probably held him back more in the 2008 and 2012 GOP campaigns than it has helped him.

By the way, is wearing clean clothes really a dead give-away that the wearer is white? I hadn`t actually noticed that. I have noticed that the Japanese tend to be polite, even “implacably polite,” so I guess that makes the Japanese white.