Thursday, July 19, 2012

You people want too much

Social net outrage of the day comes to us via Ann Romney backing Slippery Mitt's tax return embargo. Her rhetorical slip into snobbery inspired the hashtag #youpeople on the twitter. Within hours it was trending.
“We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life,” she said.
I watched the clip at the link and I'm with Steve M.. I'm not inclined to make a federal case out of the phrase "you people." There's not one person on this planet who hasn't used that term, though granted it's usually in jest. You probably said to a group of friends as some point in your life, "You people are all crazy!" Or all drunk. Or all wrong. Or something.

Her voice inflection gave no added weight to the words. It's just a figure of speech and she clearly didn't mean it as an insult. But it wasn't said in jest either. And even when said in jest, it's worth noting the phrase indicates putting yourself outside, and indeed above, the group. The group in Ann's case being all of us who are not Romneys or their intimate inner circle. As Charlie so often reminds us, to the Romneys, all us people are the help.

But the real outrage was in the context of the entire remarks. Ann is effectively saying, my husband is a good man on the surface and we've given out all the financial details the public deserves to know to judge his value. We don't have to justify our wealth, or the means by which we obtained it, any further to the people.

I'm beginning to think Ann understands the internets better than anyone else on Team Rmoney. She figured out the shiny object to distract the narrative. The words "you people" (the subtle dog whistle is silent)were catnip for the snarkerati. For the first time in almost two weeks, my tweet stream was mostly playing the #youpeople game and not talking the tax returns. With gives Ann the added bonus of having pissed off "teh left." That shit energizes the GOP's angry base. Something the Rmoney campaign desperately needed to do.

Ann Romney practiced that line. She knew it would come up. She chose the perfect words. So Ann wins the day and well played. Of course, it's summer silly season. Few will remember any of this by election day. And in a way, everybody is having fun. So there's that...

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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