A Debate Between Mitt Romney and Martin Luther King Jr.

A Debate Between Mitt Romney and Martin Luther King Jr.

A Debate Between Mitt Romney and Martin Luther King Jr.

And guess which one lies.


On Monday, Republicans showed their esteem for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by holding a debate on on the holiday honoring him in the last state to recognize it. To South Carolina’s credit, it only took it seventeen years to catch up with the times, adopt the holiday and remove that good old Confederate Flag from its state house. And, in perfect harmony, all the candidates standing on the South Carolina stage last night advocate and have tried to implement policies which Dr. King fought against, or would have fought against.

The only question is how overt and how extensive they are in their rejection of King’s ideas. Some candidates are more Carolinian, by which I mean more in touch with their racist sides, such as Ron Paul who, while praising Martin Luther King as his hero, voted against Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and would have voted against the Civil Rights Act. (If this is how Paul treats his heroes, I shudder at the thought of how he would treat his enemies.) On the other end of the spectrum stands Mitt Romney, who isn’t particularly racist, though his religions—free market capitalism, limited government and Mormonism—don’t have the best track record when it comes to people of color (especially black people, in the Mormon case).

But as anyone who has ever looked beyond the G-rated version of Martin Luther King Jr. knows, race, class and foreign policy were inextricably linked for King. And Romney’s embrace of unbridled capitalism and hawkish foreign policy land him at ideological odds with the civil rights leader. What’s remarkable, though, is imagining the language that Romney would use about King if he had lived to today and had his message not been sanitized and distorted. Given that Romney accuses Obama of launching class warfare, being a socialist with “European ideas” (read foreigner), what would he have said about King, who, unlike Obama, openly embraced socialist democracy, critiqued US foreign policy and called America the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world”? Thanks to video footage of Martin Luther King and Mitt Romney, we have an idea.


Thank you for reading The Nation!

We hope you enjoyed the story you just read, just one of the many incisive, deeply reported articles we publish daily. Now more than ever, we need fearless journalism that moves the needle on important issues, uncovers malfeasance and corruption, and uplifts voices and perspectives that often go unheard in mainstream media.

Donate right now and help us hold the powerful accountable, shine a light on issues that would otherwise be swept under the rug, and build a more just and equitable future.

For nearly 160 years, The Nation has stood for truth, justice, and moral clarity. As a reader-supported publication, we are not beholden to the whims of advertisers or a corporate owner. But it does take financial resources to report on stories that may take weeks or months to investigate, thoroughly edit and fact-check articles, and get our stories to readers like you.

Donate today and stand with us for a better future. Thank you for being a supporter of independent journalism.

Thank you for your generosity.

Ad Policy