Quote of the Day: On Mitt Romney’s “Disgraceful” Foreign Policy Attack
Officially, they’re not backing down. Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, his staffers and his talk radio and new media supporters are in many (but not all) cases doubling down on his controversial comments about the tragic events in Egypt, Libya and the Obama administration’s purported attitude.
which brings us to our political Quote of the Day via CNN’s John Avlon, CNN’s official independent analyst and also a writer of columns on The Daily Beast. In a CNN commentary, he calls Romney’s comments “disgraceful” — a perception I am willing to bet is held by a large chunk of independent voters. Some excerpts:
“Partisanship ought to end at the water’s edge” is a longstanding adage of American politics.
But in the hours after the death of the first U.S. ambassador killed in decades, Mitt Romney — panicked as his poll numbers have slipped — punched hard against the president, unleashing an unwise, inaccurate and unpresidential attack on the Obama administration.
Despite the fact that U.S. missions in Egypt and Libya came under attack after that embassy statement, with crowds besieging the Cairo embassy and the consulate in Benghazi in the late hours of September 11, the campaign released a statement from Romney saying, “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
…This barely qualifies as dog-whistle politics. At a moment when sovereign U.S. soil was under attack by Islamist radicals, the Romney campaign tried to tie the president to those extremists attacking us, saying that he had “sympathy” with their cause.
And then, in the clear light of morning, Mitt Romney doubled down on the claim, repeating it — perhaps for fear of appearing weak — and his campaign released talking points to hammer home the point. He picked precisely the wrong time, and over the wrong issue, to go “bold.”
This is not just politics as usual but something far lower. By point of comparison, when Ronald Reagan was confronted with the downed-helicopter rescue mission ordered by President Jimmy Carter to save the American hostages in the U.S. Embassy in Iran, he did not see it as opportunity to score political points. Instead, Reagan said, “This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united.” Likewise, George H.W. Bush, then also running for president, said “I unequivocally support the president of the United States — no ifs, ands or buts — and it certainly is not a time to try to go one-up politically. He made a difficult, courageous decision.” …
No wonder a wide array of Republican foreign policy experts rose to condemn Romney’s comments…
He quotes some GOPers — some of whom were not impressed with Romney’s statement. And also:
On the flip side were conservative populist luminaries like Sarah Palin, who took to Facebook, her only dependable perch these days, to write this: “We already know that President Obama likes to ‘speak softly’ to our enemies. If he doesn’t have a ‘big stick’ to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one.” Once again, Palin proved that she doesn’t have the temperament or the intellect to be within a thousand feet of the Oval Office.
It is also noteworthy that the Romney campaign’s instinct is to attack the president on foreign policy but then refuse to articulate its own policy positions as a useful point of contrast. This “attack and distract” approach to politics is beneath the office; when you criticize there is an obligation to propose new solutions to the problem.
And he ends with this:
Romney is a good man, but his lack of core political beliefs combined with his otherwise admirable competitiveness has led him to make claims about opponents that are often overheated and unrelated to reality. The dishonest drumbeat that Obama travels around the world compulsively apologizing for America is a core Romney campaign tactic. This time, he went definitively too far — trying to score petty political points with incomplete information at a time when our nation’s embassies were being attacked overseas on the anniversary of September 11.
It was disgraceful.
Go to the link and read it in its entirety.
1. Yes it is disgraceful but what we are seeing is a constant redefinition of the former “givens” in our politics. Forget what was once considered serious campaigning and serious debate. The bar on our politics on so many fronts is being lowered so far that you can see polar bears waving at you.
2. You have to look at Romney’s campaign where he seems to be exclusively talking to his base and trying to please Rush Limbaugh and ask this:
Is Mitt Romney running for President of the United States or President of Talk Radio? It is all about soundbyte charges that can fit on bumper stickers, accusatory words that never seem to offer solid, serious, non-emotional alternatives to policies we have now. Precisely when is he going to get out of primary mode and talk to the country at large — a country that is not 100 percent conservative and wants more political content and specificity, and less polemics.
3. I’m reading the book “The Real Romney” and have been very impressed by his early years when he proved himself to be so dedicated to his family, his faith, and to the love of his life who later became his wife. I LIKE the Mitt Romney who I’ve read about in the early part of the book.
4. When I did a batch of cable talking head appearances from various cities as I was traveling during 2010-2011, techs at four sites said their favorite guest was Mitt Romney, who was such a nice guy and drove to the studio himself.
5. Romney’s problem is that perceptions matter in politics. He is acquiring an image of someone who is combo political chameleon and a mouthpiece for the GOP’s neocon wing. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that” — not intrinsically. But politically? He’s appears to be political silly putty, rash and weak, even when he talks as if he intends to be strong.
6. Romney needs some new political operatives and strategists as he heads into his home stretch. He’s not coming across as another Ronald Reagan; he’s coming across as another Thomas E. Dewey, sans moustache, on Red Bull and often sounding as he’s delivering the last word of that energy drink.
7. It’s hard to see how he changes perceptions. He is now largely defined, by Team Obama and his own talk radio political culture style comments. Ann Coulter may be pleased, and good for her — but many other voters most likely are not.