The Campaign Spot

The Phony Saxony Cacophony

The coming end of Newsweek, the continuing fallout of “You didn’t build that,” a good joke from Mitt Romney, and then this top story around out the Morning Jolt

The Phony Saxony Cacophony

So, how troubling is this statement, presuming the quote is accurate?

“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”.

I guess a lot of it comes down to who the ‘we’ is, huh? The “we” could refer to the United States as a whole, or it could refer to Romney and his advisers. Of course, Romney’s foreign policy team consists of men and women with names like “Eliot Cohen” “Eric Edelman” “Walid Phares” “Condoleezza Rice” “Dimitri Simes” “Daniel Senor” and “Paula Dobriansky”… I mean, honestly, for a bunch of alleged WASPs, they don’t look all that Anglo-Saxon. So either we have a foreign policy adviser who has never seen, or heard, from any of his or her colleagues, or he’s referring to the country as a whole.

“But Jim! That’s still offensive! Lots of Americans don’t have Anglo-Saxon heritage!” But the point is not an ethnic heritage, but a legal, constitutional, philosophical and political heritage, going back to the Magna Carta. Many countries shaped the United States of America, but it  is silly to pretend that any influenced or shaped America on the scale that Great Britain did.

For what it’s worth, Team Romney is denying it and disavowing it:

Andrea Saul, Romney’s press secretary, disputed the comments and emphasized that they did not reflect the beliefs of the former Massachusetts governor.

“It’s not true. If anyone said that, they weren’t reflecting the views of Governor Romney or anyone inside the campaign,” she told in an email. Saul did not comment on what specifically was not true. 

Despite questions about the identity of the source, liberal commentators seized on the quote for its racial subtext: That Mr. Obama cannot understand the depth of the relationship between the two countries because his father is from Kenya.

Is this worth much fuss? A lot of people think of themselves as “advisers” and claim that title, and sometimes folks with little or no real influence or connection on the campaign claim to be well-plugged in.

If this is Stu Stevens or Beth Myers saying this, it’s a bigger deal than if it’s 23-year-old intern Irving Schmidlap, whose primary duty is refilling the water cooler. Even if somebody said it, it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone on Team Romney actually listens to this person.

Secondly, the British press has a reputation for sometimes being not quite… reliable sources when it comes to eye-catching quotes from anonymous sources. The Telegraph is a little better than the others, but…  Matt Lewis recalls the Telegraph retracting a story about Michelle Obama spending $50,000 on Agent Provocateur lingerie back in February.  So if something sounds a little too good to be true in the British press… there’s a good chance it is.

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