Re: On Romney, Obama, and Anglo-Saxons

by Jonah Goldberg

Charles — I think you make all good and right points re this Anglo-Saxon business. But my reaction is a lot simpler: It’s a stupid controversy. If the aide said it — I love the Telegraph, and I love the Brits, but sometimes British papers are a little loosey-goosey with quotes — my hunch is that he (or she) meant to generically pander to the U.K. and misused a term in good faith. As you note, people often use “Anglo-Saxon” to mean British. But they also sometimes use it to sound knowledgeable and sophisticated. They sometimes use it as a placeholder for the “Anglo-American” tradition, or in reference to the “English-speaking peoples” (a.k.a. the Anglosphere) etc.

When I read the quote I simply smell malaprop. 

“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special,” the adviser said of Mr Romney, adding: “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have”.

The bits about our “shared history” and “special relationship” strike me as wholly un-racial and in reference to a longstanding complaint about Obama snubbing the Brits (something, by the way, Bush was preparing to do before 9/11). It should not shock anyone, however, that Obama’s troops would try to turn it racial or that a British paper (or any paper) might try to gin up a controversy to sell papers.