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Dumb Outrage Of The Day: Romney Hates Britain, Or Something

Mitt Romney’s first day on his European tour admittedly didn’t start off very well. It began with some comments he made about the London Olympics during an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams in which he said that he found “disconcerting” some of the reports that had come out in advance of the London Olympics, particularly as it concerned the security company that the Organizing Committee had contracted with. To be fair to Romney, there really are concerns in this area due to the fact that the company in question ended up being unable to provide the full compliment of personnel it had agreed to employ to provide security during the games. As a result, the British military has been forced to take over security duties to a large degree and there will be thousands more  military personnel in the Greater London area and at other Olympic sites than originally planned. Nonetheless, Romney’s comments didn’t sit well with the always cantankerous British press and even Prime Minister David Cameron felt obligated to chime in with a response:

Asked directly about Mr Romney’s comments, Mr Cameron said he will give the Republican candidate a positive message when they meet later today.

Mr Cameron said: “This is a time of some economic difficulty for the UK but look at what we are capable of achieving as nation even at a difficult economic time.

“This is not a London games, this is not an England games, this a United Kingdom Games.

“I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom but also we’re extremely good at welcoming people frpom across the world.

He added: “I will obviously make those points to Mitt Romney. I look forward to meeting him.”

By the time his meetings with current and former British officials were over, Romney was singing a slightly different tune: 

“I don’t know of any Olympics that’s ever been able to run without any mistakes whatsoever, but they’re small, and I was encouraged, for instance to see, things that could have represented a real challenge—such as immigration and customs officers on duty, that is something which was resolved and the people are all pulling together,” Romney said in a short availability with both American and British reporters.

“I’m very delighted with the prospects of a highly successful Olympic games,” Romney responded to a follow-up question. “What I’ve seen shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organization and I expect the games to be highly successful.”

So, basically, Romney said something that was largely true about the Olympics, the British press didn’t like it, a minor controversy ensued, and amends were made. It’s over, right? Oh, if you think it’s over you don’t understand what silly season really is, because within a few hours after the Olympics kerfuffle, Joshua Keating had dug up a quote from Romney’s book No Apologies about England which many on the left are trying to claim is some kind of insult to the United Kingdom:

England [sic] 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. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.

Andrew Sullivan takes this quote as evidence of Romney’s “contempt” for the U.K., while Keating calls the quote “not-so-flattering.” I have to wonder, though, if either one of them bothered to read anything beyond the words “just a small island.” That part, at least is absolutely true. The island of Great Britain is listed as 9th in terms of total land area among the world’s islands with just 80,823 square miles of total land area. He’s also largely correct that the U.K. is not, and never really has been a major world exporter, although there was a time when it was the largest importer on the planet. And, the relative safety from invasion that the English Channel has given the Brits over the centuries is a simple historical fact. Despite many who may have wanted to, nobody has successfully invaded Great Britain in 946 years. If the logistics of getting from the continent of Europe to Great Britain had been easier, it seems quite likely that they would’ve been subjected to as many invasions as many of the other nations of Europe. Despite all of this, the Brits rose to become the mightiest nation on the planet and controlled territory in North America, Africa, and Asia along with islands in all the world’s ocean’s.

That’s quite a testament to a nation’s legacy, and that, quite obviously, is what Romney was saying in this quoted paragraph. The idea that he’s showing “contempt” for the U.K. as Sullivan suggests is quite simply absurd and the only possible way one can reach that conclusion is if you stopped reading after the word “island.”

I doubt any of today’s kerfuffle is going to have any impact on the election. This is just another example of the silliness that this campaign has descended into, and when you add the wild frenzy of the British tabloids into it, it was inevitable that this would become a story for a day. The fact, though, that people used the Olympics non-troversey as an excuse to go back and dig up a quote from a book which they then blatantly misrepresented shows us the extent to which “journalism” has devolved. If you can’t find decent copy for the day, then don’t make stuff up guys.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Matt says:

    As my mother says, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. For instance, don’t be a condescending assbag about urban security to a major ally who’s had to deal with way more in the way securing urban centers in the last 100 years than you yourself has.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 3

  2. DC Loser says:

    Next stop on Romney’s “No Apologies” tour:

    http://youtu.be/7xnNhzgcWTk

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  3. Latino_in_Boston says:

    You’re right that this will have zero effect on the American voter, but what does it say that on his first trip to burnish his foreign credentials he managed to get into a public spat with that country’s leaders and became the butt of the joke from many in that country’s press? He said the truth, sure, but I think that fails to appreciate that in foreign affairs, saying the truth is not the best course of action like for example that Taiwan is independent in China, or that Russia is not a democracy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  4. How about the fact that Keating and Sullivan are blatantly lying about what Romney said in the paragraph that got their panties in a wad?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 50

  5. sam says:

    Gee, Doug, I wouldn’t think it such a trifle if it moved PM Cameron to say:

    We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.

    Gosh, whatever could he mean by ‘nowhere’?

    “I doubt any of today’s kerfuffle is going to have any impact on the election.”

    Probably not, not in itself. But it feeds into the narrative, becoming well-established, I think, that Gov. Romney is a maladroit doofus.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 49 Thumb down 1

  6. Once the trashy British tabloid press made it a thing, Cameron was quite obviously obligated to say something for the sake of domestic political considerations

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 46

  7. Moosebreath says:

    You know, when every time you discuss a point brought up by the Obama campaign you start out by calling it the “Outrage of the Day” (clearly intended to be sarcastic), and when every time you bring up a point brought up by the Romney campaign you report it as scripted by Romney, you’re not exactly refuting the consensus that you carry enormous quantities of water for Romney. Just sayin’.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 1

  8. I realize this is a different complaint that the “stretched version?”

    So, basically, Romney said something that was largely true about the Olympics, the British press didn’t like it, a minor controversy ensued, and amends were made. It’s over, right? Oh, if you think it’s over you don’t understand what silly season really is, because within a few hours after the Olympics kerfuffle, Joshua Keating had dug up a quote from Romney’s book No Apologies about England which many on the left are trying to claim is some kind of insult to the United Kingdom

    Come on, who doesn’t know that when you are on the ground as a visiting politician in any country you express confidence in that country and their leadership? Who wouldn’t have that instinct?

    Those are the rules.

    Even when you get home you don’t snark on allies.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

  9. Please, Moosebreath, explain to me why this is a story that anyone outside of the trashy tabloids of Fleet Street should care about, and why it was okay for Keating and Sully to quite so obviously misrepresent what Romney wrote in his book

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 40

  10. Davebo says:

    If only the American press were not so trashy as to quote word for word what world leaders said.

    Missing Dubya and his lapdog a bit Doug?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  11. I am not a politician but I can hear myself answering automatically with the obvious response:

    “I have every confidence in the London Olympic committee, and look forward to the games.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 1

  12. What a knucklehead.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  13. John,

    Keating or Sullivan? Because they were both kind of dumb today.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 32

  14. Ron Beasley says:

    This is not a good start. Daniel Larison predicted this trip would be a train wreck and within a few hours he jumped the track. Israel should go alright but even there I wouldn’t put it past Romney to say something stupid or offensive. In Poland he’s going to complain about stopping a missile defense system that the Poles never wanted and he’s going to say something stupid about Obama’s reset with Russia which Poland did in 2007 (he might even refer to it as the long gone Soviet Union).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  15. michael reynolds says:

    Not to go all pedantic, but actually in the days before roads the fact that England was accessible by water made them more vulnerable, not less. The Vikings certainly thought so. It was a whole lot easier to hop in a longboat and sail to England than it would have been to, say, go overland to the future Switzerland.

    In fact they were successfully invaded by a fair number of folks over the years and the invasions only stopped when the island came under more unified control and achieved control as well of the channel. (Always excepting Scotland which is perfectly capable of deciding to invade next week, and of making a fair fight of it.)

    As for not being exporters, I’d bet they were during the days when British textiles dominated the world markets. (And setting aside that said dominance was helped along a bit by the Royal Navy.)

    Also, England has some rather large homes. Some great big homes with names like Downton Abbey. (Or something like that from the real world.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  16. Ron Beasley says:

    @john personna: Right John, Romney may be good at rubbing money together to make more money but he’s no diplomat.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 1

  17. michael reynolds says:

    I’m surprised Mr. Romney is avoiding France where he made such an effort once upon a time to convince the French to give up coffee, tobacco, alcohol and screwing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 1

  18. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: Good point about the British textiles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  19. @Doug Mataconis:

    I guess this is Romneys full quote:

    Romney told NBC News: “There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials – that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

    That is a guy with hubris, but also no restraint. That is not what any guest, particularly a guest talking to a reporter, says.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

  20. @Doug Mataconis:

    Though I might agree they jumped on the wrong criticism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  21. michael reynolds says:

    Probably also worth mentioning that Britain was saved from Hitler not just by geography, but by the magnificent Royal Navy and RAF. And even more so by those darned commie Russians.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  22. Lynda says:

    Yes, the British press is notoriously prickly but if Mitt cannot handle the talking about the Olympics (his specialist subject) in London (special relationship etc) without getting bad press how the hell is he going to handle genuinely difficult and delicate situations?

    I await his trip to Israel with bated breath

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1

  23. stonetools says:

    Mitt in Jerusalem:

    ” I’m so proud to be in your capital city, a Mecca for Jews everywhere. I promise that on day one of my presidency I will begin a crusade to resolve the issue of Middle East peace. “

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 2

  24. Lynda,

    Again, Mitt didn’t say anything wrong about the Olympics. If you think he did, please tell me where. It may have been, as someone said, impolitic, but the comments about security issues and such is based in fact

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 36

  25. John Cole says:

    You really need to look at the complete shitshow the trip has been so far before you chalk this up to a cranky press and the silly season. In one day he pissed off Cameron, got mocked by the clown Boris Johnson who led a crowd of 60k to chant Obama’s 2008 election slogan of “Yes We Can,” forgot Ed Miliband’s name and gave him a new title of Mr. Leader, ignored his own press corps (thus infuriating them), blabbed that he had been briefed by MI6, and generally just showed his ass all day. The trip has been a disaster for Romney. Listen to what the press are reporting from those who have met him:

    “Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. ‘Worse than Sarah Palin.’ ‘Total car crash”

    “Diplomacy Romney style: casts doubt on Britain’s Olympic preparations; says last thing he wants is for US to be like Europe. Way to go Mitt!”

    “Romney blunders again by revealing he’s had (supposedly) top secret briefing by John Sawers, MI6 boss. Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?”

    Pretending this is anything other than Romney shitting the bed all day is ridiculous.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 71 Thumb down 2

  26. Murray says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Imagine the “dumb outrage” if the British Ambassador to the US commented that the Aurora shooting spree most probably would not have happened in the UK thanks to tight gun control laws.

    All based in fact, but ….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 55 Thumb down 3

  27. legion says:

    Back during the primaries, all Mitt had to do was keep his mouth shut and stay out of the limelight, and all his competition self-destructed. Now he’s never out of the limelight and he can’t keep his mouth shut, and his every character flaw looks ten times worse in comparison to the staid, steady guy he seemed a few months ago. Is it fair? Not entirely. But it’s politics – and everyone on Mitt’s campaign should have been expecting issues like this.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  28. stonetools says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Either he or his advisers have referred to the Soviet Union at least three times. One of his advisers spoke about the Soviet threat to Czechoslovakia.God how these neo-cons miss the Cold War, where everyone knew their place!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  29. Stupid liberals says:

    Stupid liberals making fun of a great businessman.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 28

  30. Xerxes says:

    Um, the London Underground had a colossal, system-wide power outage. Good Lord, these Games will be worse than Athens. The transportation system in London just sucks right now!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  31. John Cole says:

    It may have been, as someone said, impolitic, but the comments about security issues and such is based in fact

    That’s exactly why it was a fucking blunder, Doug. It doesn’t matter if it is factually accurate (in your opinion), it matters that he there on a diplomatic mission to introduce himself to our allies so, in the horrible occasion he wins in November, he will have already started to build bridges with our closest ally. Instead, he’s running his mouth like an idiot.

    What part of “impolitic” do you not understand in the context of diplomacy?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 54 Thumb down 2

  32. He’s not on a diplomatic mission, John. And if the idiots on Fleet Street get upset by the truth, who cares?

    Tell me, when will you call Keating and Sully out for misrepresenting what Romney said in his book?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 61

  33. Jay_Dubbs says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It may have been, as someone said, impolitic, but the comments about security issues and such is based in fact

    But doesn’t the job of President, to which he aspires, require not making impolitic statements, especially in public?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 3

  34. John Cole says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I don’t see how they misrepresented it, they just seem to think it’s insulting while you and I do not. But then again, I’m not a Brit. They didn’t truncate the quote or anything.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 2

  35. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, this latest media high dudgeon mode moment was as predictable as high rates of poverty, murder, suicide and dropouts, in big liberal cities, i.e., it’s like saying the sun rises in the east.

    Romney is on a foreign tour and is acting all presidential and such. Being interviewed. Making comments. Opining on matters of international significance. There’s a good chance in a few months he’ll be doing that sort of thing as president-elect.

    For numbingly obvious reasons, liberal airheads in the media (whether domestic or elsewhere) simply can’t deal with that possibility. It triggers various layers of mental problems. Seriously. That’s what this is about. Nothing more, nothing less. Romney is a Republican. He’s running for president. He might win. Not only that but he might defeat (gulp) Obama. Leftists ergo are in full derangement mode. Sun rises in east, again.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 45

  36. Lynda says:

    Agreed Doug, he did not say anything untrue about the Olympics. He also could have said “British people have bad teeth” – would you have expected the British press to have cheered that line?
    Being impolitic is fine with the British as it really is not going to mess anything up – with other nations and in more tense negotiations that is not always the case. In difficult situations being very politic can make the difference between the situations being resolved or the situation escalating.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  37. stonetools says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I’d feel sorry about Mitt Romney being quoted out of context… except that he and his campaign quote Obama put of context on a daily basis.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  38. Matt says:

    c’mon doug – this so clearly feeds into caricature. He’s being a pompous prat to the brits. Instead of saying something to the effect that “I have every confidence they’ll have security sorted out one way or another”, he floats in on his cloud of superiority to express his concerns as if they were all so eager to hear them, because clearly they should want to, him being mitt, king of the little people, ruler of the olymics and all.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  39. Fiona says:

    Well given that Mitt and his campaign certainly have had fun taking a wide variety of Obama quotes out of context to make Obama look bad, I’m kind of enjoying seeing the karma bus come around to get Mitt. What Mitt initially said about security was true (one of those rare occasions when Mitt actually spoke the truth without thinking of the political advantages or disadvantages of doing so) but his manner of stating said truth lacked all diplomacy.

    As for what Sullivan said–he seems to be all pissy this week and took the quote out of context. But, let’s face it, Mitt is pretty much of a presumptuous asshole who comes off as contemptuous to those he views as beneath him (which includes most of us peons).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  40. michael reynolds says:

    Obviously Mr. Romney is unready. Naive. In over his head. Not properly vetted. Just a ‘sporting event organizer.’ He’s obviously damaging the special relationship. Also apologizing for America. And given his family roots in Mexico obviously not really quite American.

    But he is white. So. . . no problem.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 3

  41. bk says:

    I can’t wait for his Polish jokes.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 1

  42. Jeremy R says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Again, Mitt didn’t say anything wrong about the Olympics. If you think he did, please tell me where. It may have been, as someone said, impolitic, but the comments about security issues and such is based in fact

    He’s there with his diplomatic hat on as a guest, and definitely not there in some sort of managerial role were he should be trying to remind everyone about his SLC Olympic success at the London Olympic’s expense. It’s one thing to have local press criticizing how their Olympics is going, but the moment a foreign leader does the same it becomes an insult to national pride, particularly when he unnecessarily takes a shot at essentially their Olympic spirit.

    Really the whole trips been a shambles so far. Romney starts by throwing diplomatic decorum to the wind and criticizes the Brits, starting a row between the Prime Minister & Salt Lake City. Next Romney publicly discloses a secret MI6 briefing. He then gets mocked by the London mayor addressing crowd of 60,000. Feel free to spin away though.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/26/mitt-romney-london-olympics-gaffe-live

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

  43. bk says:

    Shorter Doug: Editing Obama quotes – good. Quoting Romney verbatim – bad.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 1

  44. John Cole says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    He’s not on a diplomatic mission, John.

    The trip is to three of our closest allies- England, Poland, and Israel. He isn’t just going on vacation, he’s going to introduce himself to those respective nations, which is why he spent all day with senior British officials. Unless, of course, every time you vacation in England they roll out the red carpet and you meet with David Cameron.

    While this may not be an official government diplomatic mission (and if it had been, Hillary would have shot him by now), certainly it is not too much for him to act… diplomatically.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 60 Thumb down 2

  45. Me Me Me says:

    The easiest task in American foreign relations is managing the “Special Relationship”. Throw the Brits a few crumbs and you are done.

    Mittens can’t even do that.

    How the hell is he going to deal with Russia and China?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  46. Me Me Me says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Obviously Mr. Romney is unready. Naive. In over his head….

    I’m going to go there: he’s got a personality disorder somewhere on the autism spectrum.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  47. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    ” explain to me why this is a story that anyone outside of the trashy tabloids of Fleet Street should care about”

    Let’s see — if he were actually President, he likely would have created a diplomatic incident several times (certainly for insulting British security for the games, referring to Mr. Miliband as “Mr. Leader”). Given that he got Conservative politicians to mock him is not a good sign.

    “and why it was okay for Keating and Sully to quite so obviously misrepresent what Romney wrote in his book”

    So it’s only a problem to you when it’s done to Romney and not to Obama (as in “You didn’t build that”). Duly noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Me Me Me:

    he’s got a personality disorder somewhere on the autism spectrum.

    Yep. It’s called doucheophonia. It’s a syndrome where no matter what you say you sound like a douche.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 2

  49. @Doug Mataconis:

    And if the idiots on Fleet Street get upset by the truth, who cares?

    Ah, the John Bolton school of foreign policy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 44 Thumb down 3

  50. sam says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Once the trashy British tabloid press made it a thing, Cameron was quite obviously obligated to say something for the sake of domestic political considerations.

    Cool. Run with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  51. @Me Me Me:

    My personal theory is that he’s a high functioning psychopath. Most of his problems stem from an inability to understand human emotion, despite trying desperately to act like he does.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  52. Septimius says:

    Once again Romney is engaging in “dog whistle” politics. His “impolitic” comments about the Olympics are designed to subconsciously appeal to southern racists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  53. legion says:

    @John Cole:

    Unless, of course, every time you vacation in England they roll out the red carpet and you meet with David Cameron.

    And to continue the sad-trombone theme of Mitt’s Overseas Adventures, he’s just pissed people off _again_ by bragging that he had a closed-door briefing with the head of MI-6 – something he was apparently (from the reaction of the UK gov’t) supposed to have kept his big mouth shut about.

    Doug, no matter how it gets spun, there has been nothing but comically-bad PR for Mitt out of this trip – it’s a bad idea, terribly executed. It’s like that episode of ‘The Simpsons’ where Sideshow Bob is standing in a field full of rakes, and every time he takes a step another one flies up and hits him in the face…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  54. legion says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think you mean sociopath, not psychopath. But otherwise, yeah. That’s him to a tee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  55. Gustopher says:

    All in all, this is much worse than giving the Queen an iPod (which she actually wanted), and a rare songbook of Rogers and Hammerstein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  56. @legion:

    something he was apparently (from the reaction of the UK gov’t) supposed to have kept his big mouth shut about.

    As I understand it, MI6 doesn’t officially exist, so you’re not supposed to say you met with them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  57. @legion:

    psychopath and sociopath mean the same thing, the only distinction being whether it’s innate (psychopath) or the result of trauma (sociopath). Since I’m not aware of Mitt having suffered any particular traumas over the course of his life, I’m assuming it’s innate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  58. Nick says:

    The silly season? Partisans interpret facts to suit their prejudices.

    In most economic and foreign policy matters the differences between Republicans and Democrats are pretty minor. A little more money for the rich, or a little more for the poor. It’s still neoliberal economic policy for either party. On foreign policy the Republicans are a LITTLE more likely to send other people off to fight wars; it makes them feel butch.

    The big difference is on social issues: Do you really think it matters whether gay people get married (outside of a fairness concern)? Do you really think Jesus weeps when an abortion is performed? Is there any limit to the right to bear arms? Do you think it’s okay for one party to villify African Americans for political gain?

    Answer those questions and you know where you’re at politically. All the posturing around the supposedly substantive issues of economic and foreign policy is bullshit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  59. Nick says:

    And yes, Romney is effectively on a diplomatic mission. Arguing that he isn’t is nitpicking of the most trivial sort.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  60. Me Me Me says:

    @Nick:

    And yes, Romney is effectively on a diplomatic mission. Arguing that he isn’t is nitpicking of the most trivial sort.

    Or how about we agree that he is auditioning for a role – Leader of the Free World – and fluffing his lines spectacularly.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 2

  61. Tillman says:

    I don’t see how they misrepresented it, they just seem to think it’s insulting while you and I do not. But then again, I’m not a Brit.

    Going off Sully’s barrage today (“Nation of Great Britain”, “Brit Dishheads on Romney” being the latest), I’m thinking this is more cultural insensitivity on Mitt’s part rather than a straight “true or false” situation. And, well, in Europe it pays to be culturally sensitive. This is a continent with a history of wars fought for dumber reasons than ours’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  62. merl says:

    You’re working overtime today fluffing Willard aren’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  63. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Impolitic” and “wrong” are synonomous in politics. Surely, Doug, you are aware enough to realize that, hmmm???

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  64. Umm, no. The diplomacy arguments aside, please tell me what part of Romney’s comments were factually incorrect. With links to support your argument, of course

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 30

  65. Dazedandconfused says:

    He can salvage this. Anybody know a good Anglo Saxon joke?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  66. legion says:

    @Stormy Dragon: True, but my reading was that psychopaths are more erratic/uncontrolled and have a hard time functioning at all in society – the early interviewers of that Norway jackhole, Anders Breivik, wanted to declare him a psychopath. While sociopaths are, for lack of a better term, more “cool-headed”; that’s what makes me lean toward that term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. anjin-San says:

    Seriously Doug, put the water buckets down. England. Olympics. This is a tee ball level exercise, designed specifically to give Romney a chance to shine. And he is screwing the pooch.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  68. Ron Beasley says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Actually Stormy Sociopathy is the result of conditioning and although psychopathy is not an official disease what we think of as psychopathy is probably the result of chemical in-balances and possibly genetics. My guess is that Romney is a sociopath. About 5 percent of the population are sociopaths and the smart ones are CEO’s of large corporations. It should be noted that some think that sociopathy is genetic as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  69. wr says:

    @stonetools: “Mitt in Jerusalem:

    ” I’m so proud to be in your capital city, a Mecca for Jews everywhere. I promise that on day one of my presidency I will begin a crusade to resolve the issue of Middle East peace. “ ”

    Then:

    “And can anyone tell me where to get a good ham sandwich around here?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  70. anjin-San says:

    It’s factually correct that there were more than a few Nazi symphatizers in the upper layers of British society at the start is WW2. I wonder if Mitt should include that little fact in his remarks.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  71. wr says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “He’s not on a diplomatic mission, John.”

    Except that the only purpose for this entire trip is to show how much better Romney will be at foreign policy than that over-his-head bumbler Obama. So it really doesn’t matter whether or not what he said was technically “accurate” – -he presented himself in a way in which he looked like a fool, blowing his first opportunity to achieve his goal.

    Geeze, I understand you feel the need to cover for this guy — what with you not being a Republican and all — but if you want to play political analyst, you should really try to look at the politics.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  72. wr says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “For numbingly obvious reasons, liberal airheads”

    Yes, all those liberals at the Daily Mail and the Telegraph.

    You really don’t know anything about anything, do you?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0

  73. PJ says:

    The right attacked Obama over how he treated the special relationship between the US and the UK. Then Romney puts his foot in his mouth repeatedly in London and gets called out by UK politicians and press.

    Then we get things like this from the right:

    A Limp Wrist-ed David Cameron hits back at Mitt Romney over Olympic doubts

    Get over it, Britain. You’re a second rate, semi-degenerate nation still on the way down because you went too far to the left too long ago for anyone to care about. Don’t expect us to wring our hands over what you losers did. We’re too busy fighting to make sure it doesn’t happen here.

    I really give a flip about what David Cameron thinks. yawn … just be glad we continue to allow you to think you’re actually in the game on most things. Now, get out of our face and try to not screw up the Olympics more than you have already.

    Mostly a bunch of feckless wankers if you ask me. Put a Gold Medal on that and aim it at the Queen’s arse.

    I guess they see a very special special relationship….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0

  74. Gromitt Gunn says:

    It is threads like these that truly make one cognizant of the fact that James and Steven have a made a career out of navigating the peer review process, whereas Doug has made a career out of being an intransigent opposing counsel.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  75. Jr says:

    Lets call it how it is, Romney is just an awful politician.

    Seriously, how can you fuck up a good will trip?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  76. EddieInCA says:

    Doug –

    Dude! Here’s what Charles Krauthammer had to say:

    Krauthammer Slams Romney Over Olympics Comment: ‘Unbelievable,’ ‘Incomprehensible’

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/krauthammer-slams-romney-over-olympics-comment-unbelievable-incomprehensible-a-lot-of-other-adjectives/

    “On Fox News earlier, Charles Krauthammer criticized Mitt Romney for his comments saying that all the problems facing the London Olympics feel “disconcerting.” Romney made the comment in an interview last night with Brian Williams. Krauthammer said that all Romney has to do is say nothing and come out of the trip looking better on U.S.-Britain relations than the president, and he messed up on the first day.

    Regarding Prime Minister David Cameron‘s quip that you could easily hold the Olympics in “the middle of nowhere,” Krauthammer said he was clearly referring to Utah, the state where Romney helped run the Winter Olympics in 2002. He said that Romney’s comments on the London Olympics were “unbelievable,” “incomprehensible,” and “a lot of other adjectives.” Krauthammer said Romney shouldn’t be saying anything on his international trip, except for kind words about the countries he is visiting.”

    Go ahead, Doug. Keep saying it’s no big deal.

    Aren’t those buckets labeled “Willard” getting heavy?

    That’s Charles -freaking- Krauthammer

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

  77. Lynda says:

    Well Romney style diplomacy certainly gets results. Scanning the British press it appears he has managed to unite them across the political spectrum in being insulted by his initial comments
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/mitt-romney/9428764/Commentary-if-Mitt-Romney-doesnt-like-us-we-shouldnt-care.html
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/jul/26/mitt-romney-britain-gaffes

    Those are just two of the broadsheets; the tabloids as expected are a bit punchier
    Mitt the Twit
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/4456840/Wannabe-US-President-Mitt-Romney-in-Olympics-insult-but-David-Cameron-insists-Well-show-you.html

    The headline writers have also flip-flopped spectacularly and now predict fantastic games when not 48 hours ago they were all confident of a shambles and instead RomneyShambles is now trending on Twitter UK.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  78. Rob in CT says:

    LOL @ Doug.

    The one thing I will grant you, while laughing my ass off at most of what you’ve been saying, is that the quote from the book strikes me as him basically saying “look how much they did with so little.” I assume the book went on to say, basically, hey, let’s emulate that (apparently via more tax cuts for rich people and cuts to social insurance programs) and since we’re bigger and badder, why there’s nuttin’ we can’t do! Nevermind that emulating the British Empire is a bad idea for multiple reasons…

    So yes, the Brits and Sully seem to have stopped reading part-way through, pissed off that he was putting them down (small island, small houses – which by the way is a bit odd – that makes little that others want – well, actually back in the day British textiles were a pretty big thing, weren’t they?).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  79. Spartacus says:

    This essay is the perfect illustration of Doug being part of the GOP team despite all of his silly denials.

    Basically, on Romney’s first big foreign field trip, which is intended to demonstrate his potential as a global leader, he managed to insult his host country by saying some things that were offensive, but trivial and factually true. To make matters worse, he does this a day or so after his campaign attempted to accentuate Romney’s supposed greater appreciation for this special Anglo-Saxon relationship.

    Instead of simply admitting Romney’s actions were offensive, but not at all consequential, Doug would have us believe that as long as the statements are factually true, they should not be considered offensive and, therefore, Romney isn’t actually failing his first test abroad.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 1

  80. Rob in CT says:

    @PJ:

    By the way, Dan Riehl is a nasty PoS. Not that this is news, but it’s helpful to see it right out there like that.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  81. al-Ameda says:

    Romney continues to amaze me, in seeing just how tone deaf he is.

    A couple of days ago his campaign trashes Obama for not being respectful enough of the special Anglo-Saxon relationship we have with Britain, then Romney steps of the plane and nitpicks the London Olympics.

    Basically, Mitt is a cold elite plutocrat who thinks he does everything better than anyone else.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  82. PJ says:

    @Spartacus:

    This essay is the perfect illustration of Doug being part of the GOP team despite all of his silly denials.

    He has repeatedly told us that he’s not going to vote for either the Republican or the Democrat, but I don’t think he has ever made any statements regarding him refraining from transporting a certain liquid for the Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  83. john personna says:

    Literally lolz, the Guardian says Mitt talked about “looking of out the backside of 10the Downing Street.”

    I realize not everyone is up on British English lol

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  84. bk says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Umm, no. The diplomacy arguments aside, please tell me what part of Romney’s comments were factually incorrect. With links to support your argument, of course

    Shorter Doug #2 – Other than THAT, Mrs. Lincoln…. Seriously, sometimes I think that you are just pimping us to get some reactions. You can’t be this stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  85. DRS says:

    So what are the odds of Romney getting that bust of Churchill back, hmmm? Not very good, I’m thinking. But we should cut him some slack – he’s only been running for President for, what, six years now? He’s still in basic training.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  86. C. Clavin says:

    Answer: What is 8#/Gal, Alex.
    Question: How much does the Romney-water Doug carries weigh?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  87. C. Clavin says:

    The best part of this whole deal is Romney pretending to ignore the Horse Ballet.
    Seriously…his wife’s $70,000 tax deduction is in the Olympics and he’s not going to watch?
    Who really believes this lying sack of shit? Is he capable of telling the truth?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  88. john personna says:

    @john personna: sorry for bad phone input – but you get the idea

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  89. PJ says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The best part of this whole deal is Romney pretending to ignore the Horse Ballet.
    Seriously…his wife’s $70,000 tax deduction is in the Olympics and he’s not going to watch?

    Big “hoity-toity” event, that’s why.

    Krauthammer ended the segment by asking why of all the animals and all the sports in all the world, the Romneys had to have a horse participating in a big “hoity-toity event” at the Olympics. He quipped, “After he wins, he can take the horse on Air Force One if he wants.”

    Some wants us to believe that the $70,000 dressage horse isn’t an issue. It clearly is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  90. C. Clavin says:

    I guess Mormon’s just aren’t very supportive husbands.
    I don’t know what other conclusion you can come to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  91. PJ says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    My personal theory is that he’s a high functioning psychopath. Most of his problems stem from an inability to understand human emotion, despite trying desperately to act like he does.

    He’s clearly narcissistic.

    Mitt Romney Olympic pins? Talk about wasting government money….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  92. C. Clavin says:

    How’d they get the horse to England? Did they strap it to the roof of the plane???

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  93. Davebo says:

    How does one make 8 inane posts per day and still maintain a job as a lawyer in an industry that generally expects 80 hours per week?

    James? Care to tell us all?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  94. Latino_in_Boston says:

    Keating and Sullivan are definitely piling on and indeed, it might be unfair (and even unnecessary since Mitt is doing such a good job of screwing up in the present without the need to dig old quotes that might or might not be relevant).

    But Romney really seems to be running a terrible campaign. If this race was strictly about the type of campaign that the men were running, Obama would be winning by 20 points. Here’s a guy visiting various countries solely to show how better he’s than Obama, how much more serious and unapologetic and a strong leader he is, and he becomes the joke of the day (even the Tories jumping on the bandwagon). If I was the guy in charge of his campaign, I’d be tearing my hair out and trying to console myself by thinking: well, at least the independents we need in Ohio are probably not going to care about this.

    But the jokes are good. Here are some of my favorite trending on twitter:

    You can tell @MittRomney’s doing badly when he starts getting booed by rich white people

    65 year-old w/ #AngloSaxonHeritage, no business experience since 1999, seeks position, possibly as Leader of the Free World

    Not since WWII has London seen a bombing as thorough as Mitt Romney’s.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  95. jan says:

    I can see that political hyenas are out in full force today, chattering about horses, siding with the sharp-tongued jabs by the British press, taking any and all liberties to deride this rather casual, Romney trip overseas. Romney didn’t highlight this foray as a particular important foreign step abroad, but rather an initial introduction of himself dealing with the Olympics (something he has had previous experience with), Israel and Poland. I know he isn’t gathering crowds and delivering speeches, like the incumbent president did on his Berlin trip, July 24, 2008, in a similar capacity of a presidential candidate. But, Romney is more modest than Obama, and less polished in the verbal arena. So, he is going about it his way, which obviously few here appreciate.

    Nevertheless, no one touted this trip, beforehand, casting it as an atom-splitting event, least of all Romney or his team. However, whatever missteps he has had are minor, at best, exaggerated by both the British and US press, and those who gleefully await any inappropriate behavioral hang-nail from this man. It is one of those threads, where you scroll through and realize that ‘fun’ for this crowd is humiliating a political opponent.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 41

  96. Lit3Bolt says:

    Doug, when is the last time you made a critical comment about a Republican candidate in the general election? For a political blogger, you seem awfully quick to characterize any gaffe by Romney as dumb while lingering gleefully over misleading polls about Obama. A twelve year old could figure out who you’re in the tank for.

    But we love you, Doug “I’m Not A Republican But I Excuse Their Every Action And Gaffe” Mataconis. You’re just so…precious.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  97. Ron Beasley says:

    @DRS: The bust was on loan and was eventually supposed to go back. After Romney’s performance I seriously doubt they would loan it to him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  98. john personna says:

    @jan:

    Obama’s similar trip was carefully reported, dissected, and graded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  99. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    But, Romney is more modest than Obama, and less polished in the verbal arena. So, he is going about it his way, which obviously few here appreciate.

    LOL! Romney is as modest as Narcissus.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  100. @Doug Mataconis:

    He’s not on a diplomatic mission, John. And if the idiots on Fleet Street get upset by the truth, who cares?

    Actually, he very much is. Granted, it is not an official diplomatic visit in terms of the US gov’t, but his goal is to demonstrate his chops in foreign policy, which includes the ability to be diplomatic on a foreign visit. He is doing a poor job of it.

    Remember: the point of the trip was to make himself look good. So far, he isn’t accomplishing that feat.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 0

  101. Me Me Me says:

    @jan:

    I can see that political hyenas are out in full force today, chattering about horses, siding with the sharp-tongued jabs by the British press, taking any and all liberties to deride this rather casual, Romney trip overseas.

    Met with the PM. Met with “Mr. Leader”. Got a tour of 10’s backside. Was briefed by the head of MI-6 (although that was a secret.) So I can’t decide which is worse – your use of the word “casual”, or your decision to place a comma after it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0

  102. @Lynda:

    but if Mitt cannot handle the talking about the Olympics (his specialist subject) in London (special relationship etc) without getting bad press how the hell is he going to handle genuinely difficult and delicate situations?

    Exactly. While he could, no doubt, learn, the point is that this was a perfect opportunity and he hasn’t exactly done a good job with it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  103. @Doug Mataconis:

    Umm, no. The diplomacy arguments aside, please tell me what part of Romney’s comments were factually incorrect. With links to support your argument, of course

    But that’s not the issue.

    Nobody wants an outsider showing up and pointing out problems. It’s not polite and it is counter-productive,

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  104. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Well said Dr Taylor!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  105. C. Clavin says:

    @ Jan…
    “…Romney didn’t highlight this foray as a particular important foreign step abroad, but rather an initial introduction of himself dealing with the Olympics (something he has had previous experience with), Israel and Poland…”
    If you really believe that…well you will believe anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  106. Terrye says:

    Yes, it is dumb…Romney is asked a question, he gives an honest answer the British media does what the media does best..and goes off the deep end.

    BTW, since Democrats and liberals are such fans of things being taken in and out of context, why not read what Romney actually said.I saw this at Althouse’s blog:

    England [sic/[FP’s sic]] 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. Yet only two lifetimes ago, Britain ruled the largest and wealthiest empire in the history of humankind. Britain controlled a quarter of the earth’s land and a quarter of the earth’s population.

    Oh, there’s where they cut it off? Well, obviously he was in the middle of making a point. But you know the rule in journalism: Taking things out of context is okay when you do it to hurt conservatives. But I happen to have my Kindle copy of Romney’s book “No Apology: Believe in America,” so it’s easy for me to give you the context. Here are the next 4 paragraphs:

    Late in the eighteenth century, after the loss of their American colonies…

    Foreign Policy didn’t want to remind us Americans that Britain antagonized us.

    … the British set out to compensate for what had been lost, first by defeating Napoleonic France and then by expanding the reach of the crown in colonies from India to the tip of South America and from Africa to the islands of the Western Pacific.

    And all that imperialism by the British doesn’t make them look too appealing.

    Britain’s might was military, having built the most powerful navy the world had ever seen. But what enabled their military superiority was their industrial might. The British had pioneered the Industrial Revolution, and they enthusiastically promoted free trade, understanding the huge export potential for their products. By 1860, the nation’s economy was the biggest in the world.

    Here’s the great compliment to the British, but you know there’s a big but…

    But maintaining leadership proved more difficult than achieving it. Whereas other nations extended the manufacturing revolution by embracing new technology and innovation, the British reversed course and tried to contain it. The country’s culture of class immobility stymied the entrepreneurialism and initiative that propel a competitive economy.

    Here’s the serious critique.

    From owner to laborer, the British were eager to protect the status quo. Industrialists secured subsidies for themselves and tariffs on foreigners rather than face foreign competition and technology head-on. When subsidies proved insufficient for the most unproductive businesses, the government took them over. The nation spent national resources to keep sick companies alive rather than inventing new ones and investing in those that were strong.

    Britain’s economic missteps were compounded when it was forced to fight and endure the cost of two world wars. By the end of World War II, its national debt had tripled. Massive loans were required to shore up the ailing economy; they came from its former colony.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23

  107. Sorry, people. I´m the foreigner here, and I can say that yes, people will find offensive if any foreign politician travels to their country and complains about any event being organized there. Specially if it´s an American politician.

    In some countries Romney could provoke riots in the streets.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  108. michael reynolds says:

    In defense of Doug:

    1) He’s a damned hard-working blogger. I respect that. I write for a living, and I know how much work this represents. OTB wouldn’t be here if not for him. And we’re paying approximately zero dollars for his work.

    2) It’s inaccurate and unfair to accuse him of not pointing to GOP hypocrisy or foibles. He does, and frequently. Doe she hit everything I’d like him to hit? No. And we’re paying him how much again? He gets to choose his topics.

    3) He has a right to have a philosophy, even though I seldom agree with him. In fact, that’s kind of what a political blogger is meant to do. Is he more supportive of Romney than Obama? Yeah, I think so. That’s not a crime. He can be a libertarian and be more supportive of Romney without being fully a Republican. Again, not a philosophy I agree with, but there it is.

    My position is that I am a guest here. I feel I can write the things I might say in an open, contentious, but fundamentally collegial dinner party. I try not to say anything about my hosts I wouldn’t say to them over friendly drinks. There are people who come here and deserve abuse and I will heap it with the best of them. But I don’t think Doug falls into that category.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 0

  109. An Interested Party says:

    …where you scroll through and realize that ‘fun’ for this crowd is humiliating a political opponent.

    Yeah, like wearing Purple Heart band aids…oh wait, that was your crowd…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  110. @EddieInCA:

    . Krauthammer said that all Romney has to do is say nothing and come out of the trip looking better on U.S.-Britain relations than the president, and he messed up on the first day.

    Exactly. This is what is amazing about all of this. It is stunning that Romney wasn’t more, well, politic, in his comments. This should have been easy–especially given the Olympics given his resume.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  111. @André Kenji de Sousa:

    Sorry, people. I´m the foreigner here, and I can say that yes, people will find offensive if any foreign politician travels to their country and complains about any event being organized there. Specially if it´s an American politician.

    Having lived abroad, I would second this sentiment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  112. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds: Well said Michael. Doug and I rarely agree, although it does happen from time to time. I think he is mistaken about the Romney train wreck in London but it’s his place and he can do that. I see one of the other residents of this place is also taking him to task which is a good thing. I’m not a big Obama fan but when I think about a Romney presidency I can’t really throw away my vote – although here in Oregon I could probably get away with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  113. Cycloptichorn says:

    @michael reynolds:

    He has a right to have a philosophy, even though I seldom agree with him.

    Nobody’s contesting that. Instead, people are challenging the fact that he continually claims to treat both sides equally. He plainly doesn’t. If he would just be honest about the fact that he’s cheerleading for Romney, he wouldn’t be caught in traps like this.

    But then he would also have to defend the things Romney actually does wrong, instead of pretending he’s too cool for school when those things come to light.

    Sort of damned if you do, damned if you don’t when it comes to Romney these days…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  114. Ron Beasley says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Exactly – Romney is really not very smart or totally detached from reality. Not a good resume for someone who aspires to be the most powerful individual in the world. If one were to try to figure out what he would do as President by what he has said one would have to assume it would be Bush II on steroids.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  115. Xenos says:

    @Cycloptichorn: thus is blogging in the Age of Aquarius.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  116. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “If you really believe that…well you will believe anything.”

    No one has any idea what Jan actually believes — but it’s well known that if it’s pro-Republican, Jan will repeat anything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  117. anjin-san says:

    Nevertheless, no one touted this trip, beforehand, casting it as an atom-splitting event,

    No, it certainly was not atom-splitting. It was powder puff. And Romney screwed that up. Not even a little bit impressive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  118. Aidan says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Come on, Doug. You really think people outside of the UK are offended by this? We think it’s funny to see Romney get humiliated for being a pompous dick by Tories of all people.

    We think it’s funny because Romney’s entire critique of Obama’s foreign policy is that he apologizes to our enemies and insults our friends, especially the British, and he spends his entire first day gratuitously insulting his hosts.

    We think it’s funny because Romney is still charging that Obama is in over his head and weak and lacking leadership experience and he shows up completely tone deaf and unprepared to handle diplomatic situations.

    We think the No Apologies passage is funny in light of today’s events. It is obviously not noteworthy or scandalous on its own, it is just funny and people are enjoying a chance to laugh at Mitt Romney alongside the entire world because his cynicism and disingenuousness is so transparent that it only takes a day for his host country to declare his visit a sub-Palin car crash.

    What you are hearing is not outrage, it is schadenfreude, and it is about as well deserved as schadenfreude can be.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 1

  119. Aidan says:

    Andrew Sullivan: “The Brits are having some fun…I really am enjoying myself far too much.” Sounds outraged, doesn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  120. Xenos says:

    @Aidan:

    What you are hearing is not outrage, it is schadenfreude, and it is about as well deserved as schadenfreude can be.

    And much of the laughter is not just directed at Rmoney, but at his supporters in the media who are left, rather pathetically, to clean up the elephant droppings after the fail parade. These supporters should not get pissy at the people who laugh at clowns. They should ask themselves why they find themselves supporting ridiculous failures and making themselves ridiculous in the process, too.

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  121. Herb says:

    Been out of the news cycle for most of the week, so I need a little help.

    Why is Mitt Romney campaigning in foreign countries? Is he looking for future employees? New places to bank? What is this man’s problem?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  122. jukeboxgrad says:

    Mitt is out of his element. When you live a life of great wealth and privilege, you spend many years surrounded by people who kiss your butt constantly, even when you act like a jackass. As a result, you become convinced that your jackassery is charming and adorable. This can go on for a long time if you’re a big shot inside a world that’s quite private and secretive, like, say, the world of private equity.

    If one day you venture into a bigger, more open world, your old habits are hard to break, even though you are now among people who are not owned by you, and who are not hypnotized by your wealth, and who don’t think you’re adorable. So now we all get to watch Mitt being a jackass on a big stage, and it’s a great show.

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  123. M. Bouffant says:

    Something from a commenter at Sadly, No! that seems relevant:

    I got the idea to poke around in the Google Books text to see what else Romney had to say about England. For example, would Romney of Bain mention that London is not only vast and quintessentially metropolitan but (with New York) the financial center of the world, something you’d think Mitt would appreciate? No … because the book is a collection of shallow, trite conservative themes spun out into staggeringly dull prose. This is a guy so soulless that he actually did write a book around the idea that Obama apologizes for America. Not just a talking point with no basis in fact, but a shitty one at that, takes the place of a central vision. I imagine some lowbrow types might find his ponderings on the economy and the national character compelling, but I say again, look at this visionary’s organizing theme. Not national greatness — weak jingoist pablum masquerading as hard-headedness, animated (if at all) by stringing out a false, petty slur made at the sitting president.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  124. anjin-san says:

    As head of the Salt Lake Olympics, Mitt Romney became the first Olympic executive to approve a series of commemorative pins in his likeness

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  125. Robert C says:

    @john personna:

    What Romney is basically saying ( and clearly thinking) is: ” we’ll, things are ok here, but you guys didn’t dot your i’s and cross your t’s like I did in Utah, so there…niner-niner, pass the olives”. What a blowhard.

    Robert C

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  126. @anjin-san:

    They are kind of strange to see (a fairly full set here). I’d guess they are the work of sycophantic staff.

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  127. J-Dub says:

    Oh shit, Romney just arrived in Poland and asked to see them change a lightbulb!

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  128. J-Dub says:

    Romney doesn’t know when his wife’s event takes place? Good lord, does he know what the rest of his wives are up to?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  129. J-Dub says:

    @michael reynolds: In other words, don’t be rude to your host in their own house. Kind of the point of this whole conversation that Doug doesn’t seem to get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  130. J-Dub says:

    @anjin-san: And here it is in all it’s glory, made in China too: http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=16859448

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  131. homerhk says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Speaking as a brit, I think it is way off base to label the Daily Telegraph (a paper which, by the way, is heavily conservative and routinely publishes anti-Obama diatribes along tea party lines) and the Daily Mail (which, if anything, is even more right wing than the Telegraph) and the Guardian and the Times (Murdoch owned btw) tabloid press. The fact is that Romeny f**ked up. It’s not life or election threatening, but he did. In his overseas trip that was meant to show how President Obama has alienated traditional allies, the first thing he did was to piss off UK’s Prime Minister AND London’s mayor. It may not have an impact on the US election but it sure didn’t burnish Romney’s credentials.

    Doug, you always say you are non-partisan but this article is Romney supporter hackery of the highest order. You don’t have to be a fervent President Obama supporter to think so and if you were really as “independent” as you claim to be, a fair column would recognise that fact.

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  132. PJ says:

    I swear, sometimes I think some Americans shouldn’t leave the country. Are you kidding me, stay home if you don’t know what to say.

    Carl Lewis on Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  133. homerhk says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    well the threatened strike he referred to had already been called off by the time of the interview. Also, you never mention the part where he questioned whether Londoners were really going to get into the Olympic spirit (or words to that effect). Again, speaking as a Londoner yes you hear moans and groans about traffic, transport and millions of Olympic tourists but on the other hand I’ve never felt such a palpable sense of excitement in the city. Yesterday morning I went to watch the torch relay in the city of London and there were thousands upon thousands of people cheering and hollering at 10 a.m. on a workday; it seemed like everyone from the city was out there!

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  134. @homerhk:

    Yesterday morning I went to watch the torch relay in the city of London and there were thousands upon thousands of people cheering and hollering at 10 a.m. on a workday; it seemed like everyone from the city was out there!

    Yeah, people are usually at home waiting for their newspaper to be ironed.

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  135. mattb says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @André Kenji de Sousa:

    Sorry, people. I´m the foreigner here, and I can say that yes, people will find offensive if any foreign politician travels to their country and complains about any event being organized there. Specially if it´s an American politician.

    Having lived abroad, I would second this sentiment.

    I don’t think you have to have lived abroad. Think about the numerous times that foreign politicians and celebs have come to this country and critiqued things going on here. As I remember that used to be a pretty standard topic of ridicule on Rush Limbaugh’s show (usually which concluded with the order to “Just go home!”).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  136. @Doug Mataconis: Althouse nuked the “tiny island” piece http://bit.ly/NyfCan

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  137. SKI says:

    @TC@LeatherPenguin: If by “nuked” you mean “exploded it into ridiculousness that goes far beyond anything Doug was mocking in the British press”, I guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  138. J-Dub says:

    Did you make this blood pudding yourself? It tastes like it came from 7-Eleven.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  139. Nick says:

    Can you imagine how much worse this would be if Mitt didn’t have that superior understanding of the Anglo Saxon relationship?

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  140. Nick says:

    ” Worse than Sarah Palin.’ “Do we have another Dubya on our hands?”

    https://twitter.com/jameschappers

    Another dumb outrage, or another outrageous dummy? Those silly Brits don’t recognize genius when they see it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  141. Nick says:

    This is just great:

    Brits are already calling him “The American Borat.”

    “Next up: Driving around London with the Queen’s Corgi’s on the roof.”

    “Mitt Romney isn’t even qualified to represent America as a tourist.”

    https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23romneyshambles?q=%23romneyshambles

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  142. Argon says:

    The best thing one can say so far is that Mitt’s trip is finally getting more people interested in Dressage, even if he claims not to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  143. grumpy realist says:

    Look, Doug, admit that you stepped in it. Who in the heck cares if Romney isn’t in an official diplomatic situation? This was his maiden voyage out in the cold cruel international world to the most friendly of the countries out there, and he still managed to screw it up.

    How much intelligence does it take when you’re in front of a camera to say nice things about the country you’re visiting and how wonderful it all is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  144. Me Me Me says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Good one, grumpy.

    At this point Mitt could consider adding Sarah Palin to his list of advisers to bolster his foreign policy cred – that’s how bad it was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  145. john personna says:

    @Me Me Me:

    #romnershambles on the difference between Palin and Romney : “lipstick”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  146. al-Ameda says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    He can salvage this. Anybody know a good Anglo Saxon joke?

    Q: Sure, how many Anglo-Saxons does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Two – one to call for help, the other to mix the drinks (or brew the tea).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  147. jukeboxgrad says:

    Let’s face it, Mitt is a pompous ass, a spoiled brat. There’s a mountain of evidence. It’s evident in what he did with scissors when he was eighteen, and it’s evident in how he’s behaving in London at age 65.

    This would be less of a problem if he had important compensating qualities, like if he was imaginative, courageous, or honest; trouble is, he’s unimaginative, cowardly, and dishonest. It’s for all these reasons that people simply don’t like him (“Obama Has Big Likability Edge Over Romney;” link). And a lot of people are just getting to know him, so this problem is only going to get worse.

    Mitt has a severe case of Entitled Prince syndrome. We thought GWB had a problem with this, but Mitt has it much worse. He can barely get through a sentence without communicating this subtext: ‘I’m better than you.’ Money is deeply important to him, so often what he’s saying is this: ‘My worth is enormous; you, on the other hand, are worth less.’ Which translates into this: worthless. I think that’s what he really thinks of all the people who are not members of his club.

    That’s why it was not a problem for him to build a fortune based largely on the concept of crushing little people, and why he has no problem with policies that are about crushing little people. This includes making lots of war, which is also about crushing little people.

    As has been mentioned, there is a tendency for sociopaths/psychopaths/narcissists to become CEOs (Forbes). Note these key characteristics: “lack of empathy, lack of remorse, glibness, superficial charm, manipulativeness.” That’s Mitt. Calling his book “No Apology” says this: ‘I never have a need to apologize, because I never feel remorse.’

    Who is Mitt? Here’s one of the clearest, truest and simplest answers: someone with a lot of money. To a lot of his supporters, this is all that matters, because they share his belief that measuring your wallet is a good way to measure your worth as a person (even though that might be the opposite of the truth; Forbes again).

    Brits are already calling him “The American Borat.”

    The important thing to understand, from a political perspective, is that mockery is deadly. No one wants a president who is easily mocked. Purple band-aids defeated Kerry. Dukakis was defeated by a picture of a dork sitting in a tank. Palin was deeply and permanently injured by Tina Fey. Mitt has made himself a easy target of worldwide mockery, and this toothpaste is not going to go back inside the tube.

    Being a target of mockery means you are weak. Mitt has ‘weak’ written all over him. This is a fatal flaw. No one wants to vote for a POTUS who is ‘weak.’

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  148. jukeboxgrad says:

    aidan:

    it only takes a day for his host country to declare his visit a sub-Palin car crash

    Yes. Out of all the things that have been said about this, the words that jump out at me were quoted above by John Cole:

    Worse than Sarah Palin

    Link. Which reminds me of what Emanuel said recently:

    when [Mitt] gave them 23 years [of tax returns], John McCain’s campaign looked at it and went, ‘Let’s go with Sarah Palin.’

    Ouch. And then McCain clumsily said this:

    we thought that Sarah Palin was the better candidate

    More ouch. Those two statements (“worse than Palin” and “Palin was the better candidate”) are pretty darn close to each other, and the speaker in both instances is a conservative. (Yes, I know that later McCain ‘clarified’ his remark, but he said what he said.)

    It’s interesting to notice this new pattern of statements comparing Mitt and Palin. It’s an important negative milestone. There are still plenty of Palinists in the GOP who agree with those statements, and who now wish, more than ever, that Palin was in Mitt’s shoes. It’s going to get harder and harder for them to keep their mouths shut, especially during the convention.

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  149. rudderpedals says:

    A Murdoch rag: “Twit Romney”

    Full of win

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  150. @Doug Mataconis: How about the fact that neither link you provide shows either Keating or Sullivan doing anything but briefly & mundanely snarking at Romney’s offhand critique of the UK in his book?

    That the UK spent long hellish years on end gushing its lifeblood out fighting the Nazis while America cheered from the bleachers ought to be more than enough to give any American pause (at the very least) before rattling on about the one thing saving the Brits from Hitler being the English Channel.

    That the thing Romney sees as epic about the UK isn’t its science or its art or its culture but how much turf it could barter, butcher or cheat its way onto by the end of its imperialist period doesn’t do much to atone for the preceding tripe, either.

    Perhaps next Romney can arrange to have Anne Frank officially de-baptized out of posthumous godhood in time for his sojourn in Israel.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  151. al-Ameda says:

    @jan:

    It is one of those threads, where you scroll through and realize that ‘fun’ for this crowd is humiliating a political opponent.

    Not that conservatives ever want to humiliate (or enjoy the humilation of) a political opponent. Mitt Romney is an elitist and a narcissist, and his wounds are completely self-inflicted. Other than that, you’re right, a little schadenfreude goes a long way.

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  152. michael reynolds says:

    @jim the heretical Anti-Cliff Lemming:

    Perhaps next Romney can arrange to have Anne Frank officially de-baptized out of posthumous godhood in time for his sojourn in Israel.

    A man who can retire retroactively can surely retroactively never have baptized Anne Frank to begin with.

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  153. The Q says:

    Later, Mitt tried to make up for his gaffe by stating that he did like the trees in Hyde Park since they were all the right height.

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  154. As if it couldn’t get any worse, the Romney campaign has taken on London Mayor Boris Johnson, calling him an ‘eccentric, odd fellow

    Unbelievable.

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  155. Me Me Me says:

    @john personna: LOL. Being an eccentric odd fellow has been the key to Boris’s career.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  156. @Me Me Me:

    He has some stand-up chops, that’s for sure. And he was funny on TDS/Colbert.

    But the quote in full:

    A Romney campaign official has blasted Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, as an ‘eccentric, odd fellow’ whose public attack on the Republican candidate was ‘unbecoming’ and an indication of his bias towards President Barack Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  157. @john personna:

    Just what Romney needs a further war with the British.

    Hey I thought of one:

    “When we heard Romney was going to restore the relationship we didn’t think he’d roll back to 1812 #Romneyshambles”

    25 characters to spare

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  158. Moosebreath says:

    “Just what Romney needs a further war with the British.”

    It’s part of our special relationship. If you aren’t Anglo-Saxon, you can’t appreciate it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  159. anjin-san says:

    The Economists before the fact assessment of Romney’s trip:

    As always when presidential candidates travel abroad, Mr Romney’s trip is about votes, not diplomacy. If the Republican looks and sounds like an American statesman abroad, and, most important, avoids any obvious gaffes, his tour will have served its purpose.

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  160. jukeboxgrad says:

    Thanks for that article. There’s a lot of insight there:

    Romney stumbled in London because he has little apparent interest in the world beyond America’s shores. … In this, Romney is fully in step with the party he now leads. For today’s Republican party is characterised by a kind of bellicose ignorance towards the rest of the world, contemptuous of Obama’s attempts to show respect to foreigners, crudely aggressive towards those deemed the US’s enemies, uninterested in its friends. Take the response of Romney’s allies to the London debacle, his surrogates professing that “we’re not worried about overseas headlines”, while one media cheerleader dismissed Cameron as “limp-wristed” and Britain as “a second-rate, semi-degenerate nation”.

    This, remember, is the party that slammed John Kerry for the crime of speaking French. Its antics, like those of the man it has chosen for the presidency, would be funny were the Republican party not aspiring to hold an office that is still mighty and, for the rest of the world, deadly serious.

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