Mitt the Twit & Canadian Bacon Foreign Policy

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Mitt Romney’s disastrous European Vacation is over.  The Pink Flamingo finds it fascinating how the right is trying to tie the disaster up with a red, white, and blue ribbon, and lie to themselves that everyone was wrong and Mitt was right. This is fine, but after a while, constantly defending someone starts to take a toll on the defender’s viability to see things logically and reasonably.

He not only looked and played the role of the Ugly American, but he reinforced the image – everywhere.  In order for the right to give him a pass, everyone else must be wrong.  That in itself gets a little old and a little immature.  When you can’t admit that someone has made a mistake, or a person is incapable of admitting they made a mistake, they are incapable of normal “grown-up” behavior.

This is a major problem with Mitt Romney, and a serious problem for his supporters.  There is nothing wrong with a person making a mistake.  We are all human and make mistakes.  Sure, Mitt Romney is Perfect – perfect hair, perfect looks (if you don’t care how a person looks), perfect wife, perfect family, perfect gene pool – but he’s the most flawed candidate the GOP has nominated in my lifetime.  The very fact that he considers himself perfect, and his supporters consider him “perfect” render him seriously flawed.

“...Romney violated this rule at just about every stop on his foreign trip. He told an American TV interviewer that the Brits might not be ready for the Olympics — and of course the Brits heard and took offense. He told the audience at an Israeli fund-raiser that the Palestinians had cultural barriers to success, but of course many people outside that room heard what he said. He extended the comparison to cross-border differences between the U.S. and Mexico, which are real. But resting the explanation for that difference on culture  — rather than on rule of law, accountability, land-ownership patterns, and so on — can be tricky when it is heard by the many U.S. citizens who are proud of the American system but also of their Latino cultural identity. …”

You know things are getting a little frayed along the edges when a candidate’s press secretary shouts profanity at the press and tells them to back off.  Accordingly, the Daily Beast reports that Rick Gorka quickly apologized to the press, but the riff is already there.  Evidently Greta is furious with being kept on the bus like an animal at a zoo.  The press corp is furious.

Then, there was this joke going around the London papers.

Question:  Why was Mitt Romney‘s Friday better than his Thursday?
Answer: He did very little!

“...If Mitt Romney were to retroactively cancel his visit to the U.K., he would receive an accolade of praise from the British people, who would unequivocally welcome his absence….”

You see, none of this is Mitt Romney’s fault. The whole reason we’re hearing about all of this is because the press wants to help Obama.

…In his first comments addressing multiple gaffes during his overseas trip, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday fell back on a staple of troubled political campaigns: Blame the media.

Asked about his missteps in an interview with Fox News’ Carl Cameron before he left Poland on Tuesday, Romney accused reporters of trivializing the substance of his trip and trying to divert attention from President Obama’s stewardship of the economy.

“And I realize that there will be some in the Fourth Estate, or whichever estate, who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran,” Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview that aired on Tuesday morning. “They’ll instead try and find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country.”

Romney also seemed to back away from controversial comments he made on Monday in which he cited cultural differences as a reason for Israel’s economic superiority to the Palestinian Authority. He told Fox News, “I did not speak about the Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy. That’s an interesting topic that perhaps could deserve scholarly analysis, but I actually didn’t address that. I certainly don’t intend to address that during my campaign. Instead, I will point out that the choices a society makes have a profound impact on the economy and the vitality of that society.”…”

There is another view of Romney in Europe.

“...Back in 2008, commentators attributed much of the public adulation that candidate Obama received in Europe to the simple fact that he was not George W. Bush, whose image had sunk because of widespread opposition to the Iraq war. Likewise, the warm reception Romney received in Poland was due in part to the fact that he is not Barack Obama, whose overtures to Russia and other policies have not gone down well among Poles….”

In other words, the only reason he went to Poland is because Obama is not liked there.  He also went to Poland because they may be the only European country pissed with Russia.  One only need look to Russian oil, gas, and the fact Romney’s pimps – Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers, are basically cut off from doing business with Russia.

What did Mitt the Twit do for an encore after trashing the UK?

“...In 1958, a political novel and subsequent 1963 movie portrayed the innate arrogance and pretentiousness Romney is displaying on his world fundraising tour, and unfortunately, the American people are suffering same behavior as Willard defines himself as The Ugly American at home. In the novel, a foreign journalist says, “A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They are pretentious, they’re loud and ostentatious.” Romney certainly lived up to the Ugly American portrayal during his visit to England, and although the level of arrogance was embarrassing to America, it is the real Romney that the American people have come to know over the past six months. Obviously, not all wealthy elitist Americans stoop to Romney’s level of condescension and preeminence, but his actions are borne of arrogance associated with his wealth, religious upbringing, sense of entitlement, and apparent feeling of superiority….”

Well, he’s screwed up the whole capital of Israel thingie.  Then he managed to get Eric Cantor to shill for him. Oh, and now Bebe says that he doesn’t know Mitt the Twit!  He has insulted the Jews on a high holy day, and tried to start a war with Iran.  In Israel, he’s still insulting the Brits!

“...The reaction from the UK media to the Republican presidential hopeful’s charm offensive was decidedly lukewarm on Friday morning. “‘Nowhere man’ Romney loses his way with gaffe about the Games,” wrote the Times, while the Daily Mail quipped over a double-page spread: “Who invited party-pooper Romney?” The Independent seized on the play doing the rounds on “omnishambles” – the quip first coined on the satire The Thick Of It but cleverly appropriated by the Labour leader Ed Miliband: “Romneyshambles: Mitt begins his trip with a swipe at London.” And to really put the boot in, a quote from one British diplomat in the Times described the former governor of Massachusetts’s performance as “worse than Palin” – a reference to the gaffe-prone Republican former vice-presidential candidate….”

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, American tourists in Europe acquired the reputation of being “ugly Americans”.  They were rude, crude, socially unacceptable, thinking they knew everything.  Much fun was made of them in films.  Well, the GOP now has a candidate who embodies the very essence of The Ugly American. He came he saw and he insulted.

UK Independent

Early Friday morning, The Pink Flamingo was watching the BBC discuss the opening day of the London Olympics.  I thought about how incredibly excited we were the day the Olympics opened in Atlanta, and how furious we were when it closed, and former Olympic officials and jerks like Mitt Romney did nothing but trash Atlanta and the South.

“…The Sun dubbed him “Mitt the twit.” ”There was further embarrassment when Mr Romney said he had looked out of ‘the backside of Number 10’ to see the beach volleyball court.”

Wrote the Northern Echo: “The Republican candidate for the US presidency, Mitt Romney, appears to be something of a wind-up merchant where Britain is concerned. … But the scenes which greeted the Olympic torch parade, in every city, town and village, show beyond doubt that the people of Britain will embrace the Games with pride. Just you watch, Mr Romney.”

The Independent’s James Cusick wrote: “But rather than flaunting his statesman-like credentials, Mr Romney managed to insult his hosts and commit that cardinal sin of US politics – ‘flip-flopping’ – all within hours of landing in Britain.”

For some, Romney’s gaffes brought to mind another recent White House aspirant: Sarah Palin. The Daily Mail’s political editor, James Chapman, penned a column titled, “Who invited party-pooper Romney?”

“One British diplomat privately described the US presidential hopeful’s debut as worse than Sarah Palin’ – a reference to the gaffe-prone former vice-presidential candidate. … Even Tory right-wingers, who traditionally back the Republicans, expressed dismay. Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said: If he becomes President of the United States, he will perhaps be less casual in his language.’”

The Telegraph’s Matthew Norman wrote: “With Mitt Romney in town and busy making friends, it feels like a very long time since anyone on the Republican ticket had a gift for blurting out foolish remarks. Yet mature readers with elephantine memories may recall a certain Governor of Alaska who once ran for vice-president of the United States...”

The Pink Flamingo wonders what Mittens is going to do in Israel and Poland for an encore.

Well…

Mediaite

From Talking Points Memo:

“…I suppose it’s possible the Romney campaign is so unaware of the realities of the Middle East peace process, however moribund it may be, that they’re unconcerned with just how inflammatory an American president’s expression of support for an undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would be to the Arab world. But even with the stumbles Mitt Romney has made this week on the international stage, that seems unlikely.

So, accepting that Romney is aware of the significance, it seems likely he’s prepared to signal a very real, very controversial departure from decades of U.S. peacemaking policy, and put the weight of his potential presidency behind a declaration that he believes Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. That would be a very big deal….”

He’s still insulting the Brits.

“…Nobody in Jerusalem is going to be stoning and booing Romney on his way to or from the King David. While he’s there, he will probably shake hands or even hug a billionaire under investigation for allegedly bribing Chinese officials in Macau by both the State of Nevada and the U.S. Justice Department, and a smarmy thug who was part of an espionage ring that stole nuclear devices and other nuclear bomb materials from the United States late in the last century….”

Balloon Juice

“...Some people are trying to find signs of moderation in Romney’s reference to his “fervent hope” that “diplomatic and economic measures” will succeed. But the fact is that by making the mushy-to-the-point-of-useless term “capability” the red line (or red blur), he has empowered Israel to say at any point, “Sorry, but diplomatic and economic measures have failed; the bombs were dropped this morning.”

I agree with Peter Baker that there aren’t many clear differences between Obama and Romney on foreign policy. But now we do have at least one: Romney says Israel can bomb Iran any time it wants and America will be happy to inherit the blowback. Obama doesn’t say that. I’d call that a difference of doctrinal proportions….”

 

Buzz Feed

“...China’s official press agency slammed Mitt Romney for asserting that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem, saying his remarks “totally neglect historical facts” and could even “reignite” a war with Palestinians.

“U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel is likely to worsen the already tense Mideast situation, and even reignite a war between Palestinians and Israelis,” the Xinhua news agency wrote in an editorial Tuesday.

“Romney’s remarks totally neglect historical facts and are actually irresponsible if he just meant to appeal to voters at home,” the agency continued, saying his “radical words were intended to win the support of U.S. Jewish voters.”…”

Wolf Blitzer creamed him on the statement.

Political Ticker

“...Sununu slammed the “scandalous exhibitionist newspapers” in England for criticizing Romney for saying the same things about the Olympics they were saying before he got around to it. Williams said that Romney’s comments show he is “not a diplomat,” and Hannity asked him if Romney needs to go around apologizing for the United States to qualify.

Williams grilled Sununu on Romney’s comments in Israel that he said came across as “racist” against Palestinians. Hannity retorted that Romney, unlike Obama, showed “strength” when he spoke in Israel. When Sununu praised Romney’s speech in Poland, Williams compared him to a “man following the circus,” cleaning up after Romney’s mess….”

His campaign had a meltdown in Poland.  Let’s face some stark reality – Ann Romney’s dress is a pathetic fashion disaster.

Raw Story

At least Roger Simon is capable of a bit of intellectual honesty when it comes to Romney.  Then again, I’m not quite sure if he is sold on him.

“...Romney’s trip abroad in the waning months of this presidential campaign had three goals: establish his credibility on foreign policy while in England, woo the Jewish vote while in Israel and entice Catholic voters while in Poland.

In retrospect, he should have spent the time in Ohio, Virginia and Florida, all of which I think he needs to win in order to beat President Barack Obama.

In England, Romney didn’t show any particular foreign policy expertise. He did manage to insult his British hosts by criticizing the London Olympics, but that won’t lose him any votes in the United States.

And his campaign did get in one dog whistle, which was so obvious it was more like a dog baying at the moon: A Romney adviser told a British newspaper that Obama was incapable of fully appreciating the “Anglo-Saxon heritage” between the U.S. and Britain. “We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special,” one said.

Translation: A black guy just isn’t a member of our club and never will be.

But in Israel, where the local headlines got better, Romney screwed up by turning a pander into a slobber.

“We cannot stand silent as those who seek to undermine Israel voice their criticisms,” Romney said in Jerusalem. “And we certainly should not join in that criticism. Diplomatic distance in public between our nations emboldens Israel’s adversaries.”…”

And then there is the mess he made in Poland, getting his facts wrong – but heck, this is Mitt Romney.  Facts don’t matter.

“...But his depiction of Poland as a haven for innovation and investment is certainly exaggerated. Just attend a meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Warsaw or another business group, and the complaints are many: red tape makes it hard to start new businesses, a rigid labor code makes it difficult to fire ineffective employees, corruption and a slow court system can make it hard to enforce contracts.

Some also say that while their companies benefit from a skilled work force, the legacy of communism is still felt in a fear of risk-taking that hurts innovation.

Most Americans would also not trade in their standard of living for Poland’s. Growth has been dynamic in part because the country started off from such a low point after throwing off communism. Romney did not mention that unemployment is 12.4 percent or that wages are low. GDP per capita last year in Poland was $20,600 compared to $49,000 in the U.S., according to U.S. government data….”

In summery:

AP MY WAY

The very real problem, the way The Pink Flamingo sees it, is the fact that Mitt’s foreign policy team is a joke.  Anyone who keeps an adviser who consistently refers to Russia as either the USSR or Soviet Union is in serious trouble.  I don’t care if they are Democrat or Republican, they are out of touch, geo-politically. By keeping Richard Williamson on, in such a prominent position, speaks volumes about Romney, and those volumes are more of a Stephen King horror story that Tom Clancy.

TPM

Mitt Romney made a fool of himself in Europe.  His supporters on the right have made fools of themselves, not by defending his gaffs – they have a right to do that.  They have made fools of themselves by defending what he did on the trip – and the trip itself.

The Pink Flamingo doesn’t care if he made a fool of himself in Israel.  That’s his business.  What makes me so angry is that he said what he said while out of the US.  By doing what he did in Israel, he made huge problems for our foreign policy and for Israel.

That’s not the worst of it.

If the right were being honest, they would castigate, filet him the way they did Obama when he had his European Vacation in 2008.  What Obama did was wrong.  What Romney did was wrong.  You don’t go blundering through foreign policy, while out of the country, if you are running for office.

The right, rightfully castigated Obama when he did it, and Obama made far fewer problems for GWB.  If they were intellectually honest, they would do the same with Mitt.  But, in order to prop up this most imperfect of candidates, they must surrender all intellectual honesty.

And – that the worst of it – the right has surrendered all honesty, honor, and high ground, to support Mitt. It is going to leave a big mark, one of these days.  Their behavior is causing a huge split in the GOP.  It is only going to get worse.

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One thought on “Mitt the Twit & Canadian Bacon Foreign Policy

  1. I read that after the Tea Party victory in the GOP Texas senate race, the Tea Party, now more emboldened, is telling Mitt to walk the line and be more conservative. Interesting!

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