Last month, a political firestorm erupted when Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist, made comments about Mitt Romney's wife, Ann Romney. After Romney made public that his wife was the source of his opinions relating to the economic concerns of women, Rosen lashed back, noting that Ann has "never worked a day in her life."
The comment, as it turns out, was accurate, and taken out of context. Rosen was trying to tap into a larger point -- that Ann, the wife of a very wealthy man, was probably in no position to speak about the concerns of ordinary American women. Regardless, few doubted that Rosen's remarks were distasteful and unnecessary.
Unsurprisingly, President Obama immediately came to the defense of his opponent. "There's no tougher job than being a mom," he said. "Anybody who would argue otherwise, I think, probably needs to rethink their statement."
It didn't matter that Ann was the wife of his rival, or from a different political party, or that he was attacking one of his own -- Obama felt something wrong had been said, and he didn't hesitate to speak out.
You can only wish that his opponent had the same confidence and decency. Even after Obama was forced to display his birth certificate, Donald Trump, who accompanied Romney to a fundraiser Tuesday night in Las Vegas, continues to suggest that the President is not a citizen. Last Friday, he said of the President: "He didn't know he was running for president, so he told the truth... He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia." Tuesday night, he reaffirmed his thoughts, saying, "Nothing's changed my mind."
What did Romney have to say about this? In a word -- nothing. All he had have to offer was a hollow response: "You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in."
To recap: If you have a big name and a lot of money like Donald Trump, it doesn't matter what you stand for. As long as you are willing to stand by Romney's side at a fundraiser and rack in the bucks, you can say the most racist, derogatory or inaccurate comment you can think of, and no one will call you out.
Indeed, this is not the first time Romney has turned a blind eye to blatant falsehoods. He failed to speak out when his own son stated that Obama should release his grades, nor did he say a word when Gov. Bobby Jindal claimed that Columbia University should return tuition dollars for not teaching Obama geography.
When an accurate, although slightly disagreeable, statement was made by a mere Democratic strategist, Obama did not even blink before speaking out. But when countless rude, disrespectful, inaccurate and, frankly, racist remarks are directed at President Obama by people directly aligned with Mr. Romney, he hides in the corner. Welcome, everybody, to Romney's coward politics.
It's unfortunate that there are some who insist on bullying our first black president and turning the clock back on history. And it's unfortunate that the Republican nominee is too scared to speak out.
If Congress ever wishes to push its approval rating back to an acceptable number, it better start learning from Obama. You can disagree, and you can argue -- but when it escalates to an offensive rampage of attacks, it serves no one's best interests. You may not agree with President Obama, but at least he doesn't accept politics, or fear, as a barrier to doing what's right.
Follow Jess Coleman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jesskcoleman