While the Romney campaign’s cynicism is objectionable, I still think this misses the point.
Two women contacted the Mitt Romney campaign this week, offering their memories of seeing Romney’s father march with Martin Luther King Jr., in Grosse Point Michigan in 1963. Campaign officials were well aware that the women were mistaken. Yet, they directed those women to tell their stories to a Politico reporter. The motives and memories of the two women are unknown and irrelevant; the motives of the campaign, however, were obvious — to spread information they knew to be untrue, for the good of the candidate.
By getting this story out late on Friday afternoon, heading into the holiday weekend — good luck getting a King historian on the phone before Wednesday — the campaign was pretty well assured that it could keep alive through Christmas their claim that Mitt Romney was mistaken only about “seeing” it, not about it taking place.
Then-governor George Romney did indeed march in Grosse Pointe, on Saturday, June 29, 1963, but Martin Luther King Jr. was not there; he was in New Brunswick, New Jersey, addressing the closing session of the annual New Jersey AFL-CIO labor institute at Rutgers University.
Yes, this is despicable behavior, but the real offense is that Romney would try to tie himself to Martin Luther King in any way. This is a man that employs illegal immigrants to tend to his sprawling estate while campaigning to have them forcibly expelled from the country en masse. This is a man that thinks we should double the size of Guantanamo Bay, supports an open-ended occupation of Iraq, and will not employ any Muslims in his cabinet purely on religious grounds. To associate himself with the philosophy, life, and martyrdom of King is tasteless and wrong.
That he is lying in order to do it makes this an exquisite case of ‘what it means to be a Republican’.