Romney's Birther Joke

8/25/2012 08:03:00 PM
Yesterday in Michigan, Romney said this:
"I love being home, in this place where Ann and I were raised. Where both of us were born...No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."
and the Obama campaing issued a reply:
 "Governor Romney’s decision to directly enlist himself in the birther movement should give pause to any rational voter across America."
I think that a lot of the commentary surrounding this has missed the point. I believe Romney when he says that he does not actually think, and did not mean to imply, that Obama is not an American by birth. He was merely making a joke, while trying to highlight is ties to his home state.

The problem is that even if Romney did not intend to sound like a birther, the joke is still discriminatory and a bit offensive. The joke is only funny if you accept as its premise that you wouldn't be able to tell Obama is american unless you see his birth certificate. In otherwords, Romney is implying that Obama seems like a foreigner, because he's black and has a funny name. I can't help but think that that is racist in any context.

Even if Romney is not literally a birther because he accepts that the President actually is american, he is still committing the same indignity that the birthers are--no one would have asked to see the President's birth certificate if he was white and had a name like Matthew Martin.