Please write and send praise, critique, interesting links or random musings to

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mitt Watch - An Idiot Abroad

July 26th, 2012

In the American right's fantasy narrative of the Obama presidency, the most pernicious alternative to reality continues to be their portrayal of him as an inept diplomat. It is on this count that the "anyone but Obama" crowd is today experiencing a rude awakening. Barely out of the country on his first international tour as the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney has managed nothing less than the instigation of a minor diplomatic incident over sport. That's just for starters.

Before the day began, Team Romney was already in defensive mode over the jaw-dropping and racially explosive "Anglo-Saxon heritage" remark attributed to an aide. The irony here is rich. That remark smugly asserted that Romney would somehow naturally, even magically, usher in a closer, smoother period in our "special relationship" with England because of certain racial cultural characteristics.

Today's events do not lend much credibility to the claim.

In a matter of mere hours, Mitt Romney did more to undermine his perceived capabilities as a potential commander in chief than the opposition has accomplished in a year. 

He first insulted the English by insinuating that they weren't adequately prepared to host the Olympics. 

This provoked a rousing public dressing down in front of a crowd of 60,000 from London's mayor and star of their Conservative Party, Boris Johnson. 

It also drew an understandably abrasive response from Prime Minister Cameron which has, in turn, sparked a feud between Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker and, well, England. 

In other news, Romney seems to have casually disclosed the rough location of the head of MI6 to the public which is, to say the least, a serious breach in protocol. 

While his gaffes continued to mount, his meeting with the Prime Minister apparently went so poorly that it has resulted in leaks from sources present comparing it to a "car crash" and stating that Romney was "worse than Palin." 

The cherry on the cake was his awkward meeting with Labor Party representative Ed Miliband during which he appears to have forgotten Miliband's name

Oh, and he referred to the United Kingdom by the wrong name.

One really has to hand it to him for uniting the members of Labor and the Conservative Party in mutual disgust.

This was all before dinner.

He managed to pack this much incompetence into a single day.

You can't invent this stuff.

What makes this spectacle all the more amazing is that Romney arrived in England with plenty of baggage. This is a candidate who has a long history of glibly dismissing America's most important military and political partner.

In his book, No Apology, Romney notoriously wrote (H/T):
"England is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy. And if it hadn't been separated from the continent by water, it almost certainly would have been lost to Hitler's ambitions."
So much for honoring Britain's historic courage.

Ahead of the last presidential contest, Romney singled out England as a nation in decline and called it "second-tier."

In spite of what some folks are saying, this was a pattern and it is a big deal.

Romney had to be perfect today. This trip is his one chance before the election to prove himself as a statesman rather than just another partisan American opportunist. Instead, he has so far rendered himself a laughing stock at best. At worst, he's coming across as so un-skilled at international relations that it presents some serious security concerns.

It will be very interesting to watch the GOP attempt to recover from all this. The relative silence of the right wing's fear factories today gives the impression that they understand how bad this is. It's the smart move not to start the pro-Romney spin in earnest just yet. After all, there's no telling how much damage he can do on day two.

No comments:

Post a Comment