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Romney Campaign: Embassy Protests Wouldn’t Be Happening If Mitt Was President

One of Mitt Romney’s top foreign policy advisers made the rather astounding assertion that the embassy protests currently sweeping the Middle East wouldn’t be happening if Mitt Romney were President:

Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.

“There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview. “For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we’ve had an American ambassador assassinated.”

Williamson added, “In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations — the respect for America has gone down, there’s not a sense of American resolve and we can’t even protect sovereign American property.”

The aggressive approach by Romney’s campaign thrust the issue of foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential campaign a day after the Republican candidate was widely criticized for blasting Obama while U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya were under attack.

Kevin Drum doesn’t take the comments seriously:

At one level, of course, this is just dumb campaign bravado. Your guy is weak and vacillating and our enemies laugh at him. My guy is strong and resolute and our enemies fear him. But it’s also nonsense. Reagan’s resolve didn’t stop Lebanese militants from bombing a Marine barracks in Beirut. Bush Sr.’s resolve didn’t stop Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait. Bush Jr.’s resolve didn’t stop al-Qaeda from destroying the World Trade Center and killing 3,000 Americans.

This kind of thing makes for pretty speeches, and Republican audiences lap it up. But there’s nothing behind it.

Rod Dreher is appalled:

This is idiotic and malicious. These barbarians massing outside our embassies would be doing exactly the same thing if Romney were president. And the strong implication here that Obama’s negligence got the ambassador to Libya killed is just foul, an appalling attempt to exploit the murder of Amb. Stevens for political gain. What is wrong with these people? I’ve thought the Romney-bashing on the protest issue was a bit excessive, but I take it all back. I was wrong, and Noah was right.

As is typically the case with Romney’s campaign, there was no detail provided as to what, exactly, Romney would have done differently that would have prevented any of these embassy protests? Do they think that all it takes is a more aggressive approach toward Islamic nations, as many on the right seem to want? Do they suggest that we could have done something to keep Mubarak and Qaddafi in power despite all the evidence to the contrary? It strikes me as fairly easy for a political opponent to sit on the sidelines and say that things would be different if they were in office, but unless they give you some idea of how it would be different, they’re basically just blowing smoke.

If nothing else, it strikes me that this is yet another example of Romney’s sometimes bizarre and often vague foreign policy worldview. We’ve seen it before in Romey’s comments on everything from Russia to the War Of Afghanistan. And, as Noah Millman notes, the candidate’s recent comments about the attacks in Egypt and Libya demonstrate something rather important about his foreign policy worldview:

Romney’s attack isn’t primarily an issue because of timing or decorum, as Daniel Larison points out, nor even because this wDas an instance not only of absurd mendacity but absurdly-easily-checked mendacity (though those are probably the reasons that so many Republicans groaned when he first made the attacks). It’s primarily relevant because it is of a piece with Romney’s bizarre foreign policy worldview, according to which the only important audience for our foreign policy statements is domestic.

As foreign policy, that is monumentally stupid. Striding across the globe and acting without any care at all for the opinions and sensitivities of the people of other sovereign nations really only accomplishes the same kind of loss of influence that the U.S. experienced during the Bush years in the wake of the Iraq War. This isn’t to say, of course, that foreign public opinion should trump doing what is in the best interests of the United States, but being aware of how your policies are being perceived in the rest of the world is something that any sensible leader would want to know. There’s no point, after all, in needlessly creating ill feelings that could someday develop into hostility, or worse. That doesn’t seem to matter to Mitt Romney, who seems to think that the only relevant question about foreign policy is how jingoistic it is. Of course, that’s not entirely surprising since it seems to be exactly what the Republican base wants:

“As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we’re at the mercy of events instead of shaping events,” Romney said. “The Middle East needs American leadership, and I intend to be a president that provides the leadership America respects and will keeps us admired throughout the world.”

That wasn’t the tough talk some people in the audience had hoped to hear. Many wore bright orange stickers from the National Rifle Association that read “Defend freedom. Defeat Obama.” A heckler in the crowd who accused Romney of “politicizing” the violence in Libya was drowned out by chants of “USA! USA! USA!”

“Romney needs to speak up more about foreign policy,” said 75-year-old Sophie Nicholson, wearing a straw hat and dark glasses to shield her from the noonday sun. “What happened in the Middle East was horrible, and Obama goes on another apology tour? It’s embarrassing.”

In fact, the White House disavowed a statement from the Egyptian embassy condemning “religious incitement” — an apparent reference to an inflammatory anti-Muslim film — issued hours before protesters scaled the walls of the Cairo compound and attackers killed four diplomats in Benghazi. Obama also said on Wednesday from the Rose Garden that “there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None.” But it is an article of faith among conservatives like Nicholson that the president has insulted U.S. allies and appeased its enemies, weakening America’s status as a global power.

“Blogs and the conservative leaders of the party were crazy about what Romney said,” said Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. “They want him to be even harder on Obama. The real question is what the small percentage of undecided voters think, because despite what everyone may think, this election will be won in the middle.”

The question is whether or not this is the type of foreign policy that appeals to that vast middle that will decide the election. I don’t know for sure, but something tells me that it isn’t. Poll after poll in recent years has shown that Americans in general, and especially those people who identify themselves as “independent,” are much more skeptical of an aggressive foreign policy than Republicans and conservatives tend to be. It still doesn’t seem as though foreign policy will be a major factor in voter decisions over the next two months, but it does play into the Obama campaign’s efforts to turn the election into a choice between two candidates rather than a referendum on the President’s first four years. In a choice election, the Obama campaign will obviously try to use Romney’s foreign policy hawkishness as a reason to argue to voters that he isn’t ready to get over the Presidency. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be an explicit attack by the President. This is something that can be handled quite well by surrogates and, of course, by simply repeating Romney’s own words, which always seem to come back to bite him.

It’s possible, of course, that this situation could spiral out of control in a manner that ends up hurting the President politically. Already, there are reports from a London newspaper that the U.S. had some kind of advance warning of the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, although the United States is emphatically denying that this is the case. A poll decline for Obama in the wake of the embassy situation, though, would be atypical from the way public opinion typically reacts during an international crisis. Usually, the initial reaction to such an event in the polls is an increase in the polls for the President in what some have called a “rally around the flag” effect. Indeed, even President Carter saw his poll numbers increase in the immediate aftermath of the seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran, only to see them start to fall later on as the crisis dragged on, and then again after the failure of the Desert One rescue mission. We haven’t really seen any polling that takes this week’s events into account yet, but I would suspect that, when we do, it will show at least an uptick in the President’s job approval numbers at the very least. How long at will last depends on the course of future events.

As for Romney, I found these recent comments by his adviser to be, in a word, bizarre mainly because it’s hard to believe that there’s anything that a President of the United States can do to impact the Arab Street. Indeed, I think the most insightful comments about Romney’s approach to this situation was summed up best by Jon Huntsman during an appearance today on Morning Joe:

Former U.S. Ambassador to China and presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said on Friday that Mitt Romney’s response to the violent protests in the Middle East and North Africa posed a “problem” for the man he endorsed several months ago.

As protests raged outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and an attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya earlier this week left four Americans dead, Romney’s decision to criticize the Obama administration was ill-advised and was a lost opportunity, Huntsman said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

“This was an opportunity to instruct, to elucidate, to educate, to talk about how you put the pieces back together again in North Africa and the Middle East,” he said. “Not to condemn, not to criticize, not to turn it into a political event, but to explain to the American people what we’re going to do during a time of need, during a time of crisis, during a time of uncertainty.”

In a time where relations between the U.S. and the Arab world is strained, and questions surrounding the broader implications of the Arab Springs are prevalent, Huntsman said that Romney should have explained his position on the democratic uprisings of late.

“I don’t know what Governor Romney is proposing at this point,” Huntsman said.

Nobody does, Governor Hunstman. I’m not even sure Governor Romney knows what he’s proposing.

Related Posts:

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. legion says:

    This is idiotic and malicious. These barbarians massing outside our embassies would be doing exactly the same thing if Romney were president.

    I’d go much farther than that. As casually rude and diplomatically inept as Romney has shown himself to be, literally every single time he’s opened his mouth overseas, there is no doubt that far more of our embassies would have violent hordes outside them.

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

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Well, the Romney campaign is in full sleaze and desperation mode.

    He probably would have bombed Iran in response to what’s happened in Libya and Cairo.

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

  3. CB says:

    And people eat this garbage up. Unbelieveable.

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

  4. anjin-san says:

    All I can figure is that Team Romney has bought into its own BS. Obama is Jimmy Carter. Romney is the torchbearer for Ronald Reagan. (the right wing’s fantasy Reagan, not the guy who actually existed)

    In a lot of ways, this is the logical conclusion to the last 20 years of Republican politics. Reality is whatever they want it to be…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 0

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    @al-Ameda:

    I think you’re right. Romney will go all in without even paying attention to what he is doing, simply to feed the appetites of people who have replaced the Soviet Union with a violent group of protesters in Cairo or militants in eastern Libya.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  6. PJ says:

    Anyone who is still arguing that the polls are wrong should take a look at the desperation that is the Romney campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  7. CB says:

    All I can figure is that Team Romney has bought into its own BS.

    Thats exactly the problem, as demonstrated by the 75 year old convinced that Romney is speaking hard truths. Its taken for granted that all of these positions are actually held by Obama, even when all it takes is an internet connection and a tiny bit of common sense to find out what our policies actually are (well, in theory at least).

    What kills me is that I WANT to see criticism of the administration, and I DONT want to see lockstep agreement in government. But dammit, I want to see a loyal opposition again. I want to see arguments at least grounded in reality.

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

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oh, one more thing: Romney has now “apologized” for the movie in the same way that Obama “apologized.”

    Etch-a-Sketch indeed.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    And there is this from Josh Marshall

    From a Foreign Service Officer …

    It’s probably not a surprise. But can I just say that if Mitt Romney wins in November, he is going to have a very chilly reception from his employees every time he goes abroad? I don’t think I can quite state the rage we’re all feeling towards him.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

  10. Gustopher says:

    It makes sense… if Romney is secretly behind the protests.

    He could have a team scouring Youtube for offensive videos, passing them on to professional rabble rousers in the mid-east.

    If he was President, he wouldn’t be doing these things.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  11. swbarnes2 says:

    As for Romney, I found these recent comments by his adviser to be, in a word, bizarre

    And at last, the hat trick! Three times in one day, Doug claims to be utterly bewildered by the actions of conservatives.

    James, what exactly do you think Doug is adding to the board when every post today is a plea of ignorance? Is it really that long qutoes and “Gee, I don’t get why they did that awful thing” is the very best that one should expect from a political site that leans conservative?

    For sure, this site is useful. If this is the best place to see quality arguments against my own premises, and the best conservatism can do is “well, isn’t that bizarre” every day, I can be assured that if my premsies are wrong, conservatism sure isn’t the right place to look for a correction. But I doubt that was your intention.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 0

  12. Rafer Janders says:

    Mitt Romney has a point. After all, we never had these embassy attacks when Bush was president….

    On Fox News, Charles Krauthammer suggested that “under other presidents, particularly Bush,” there was “no storming of the U.S. embassy in Cairo.” In fact, there were seven attacks on U.S. embassies and consulates during the Bush years, and numerous other such attacks have happened under recent presidents.

    http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/09/14/krauthammer-whitewashes-bushs-history-to-bash-o/189890

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  13. DRE says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yes, but at least he proved his strength by calling Obama disgraceful first, so it’s OK now. That’s why if he was president no one would dare defy or attack us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  14. DC Loser says:

    Does the Mittens campaign have any focus? I thought this was supposed to be an election about the economy? The lack of discipline of the GOP staff is astoundingly appalling for a supposedly savvy operation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  15. DRS says:

    “There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview.

    It’s interesting. Had I been Williamson, I think I would have used the word “case” or “argument” instead. Because “story” kind of implies fiction, doesn’t it? Freudian slip much there, Richard?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. de stijl says:

    Doug:

    Poll after poll in recent years has shown that Americans in general, and especially those people who identify themselves as “independent,” are much more skeptical of an aggressive foreign policy than Republicans and conservatives tend to be.

    As a general rule, Republicans tend to be much more authoritarian than not, and certainly much more authoritarian than today’s Democrats or Independents.

    If your default belief is that the enemy should never be bargained with and that the enemy/other should be engaged on the battlefield and soundly defeated, then eating up Romney’s macho-sounding foreign policy pronouncements is in your blood.

    It is also why the Romney campaign still pushes the debunked Obama “apology tour” line. “See, their guy is a wimp who apologizes to our enemies.”

    The campaign’s main problem is that the Bush years cured many Americans of the Cowboy School of Foreign Policy. It still works for their base, but for no one else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  17. john personna says:

    @DC Loser:

    They’re fighting fires with gasoline at this point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Lit3Bolt says:

    @john personna:

    No, it’s because the smart GOP strategists have written off Romney and are concentrating on House and Senate races. Romney has just the dregs and it shows.

    At this point they’re just trying to grift as much donor money as they can and embezzle it. Thus the sub-par ads, polling, branding, messaging, etc.

    Paul Ryan was put on the ticket for practice and national exposure for 2016, 2020. He’s not going anywhere.

    At this point, Republican partisans are going through a scorched earth campaign of trying to damage Obama on every possible front and hoping something will stick. By the time the recovery rolls around in 2016, expect Paul Ryan or someone to run against “tax and spend” generic Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DRE:

    Yes, but at least he proved his strength by calling Obama disgraceful first, so it’s OK now. That’s why if he was president no one would dare defy or attack us.

    DOH!!! But of course…. Silly me. Thanx for pointing out my flawed thinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. michael reynolds says:

    I think Romney’s plan to attack Iran in concert with Israel would totally calm the situation down.

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

  21. stonetools says:

    Romney would have forestalled the Embassy attacks by invoking the power of the Angel Moroni…

    Hey, its as realistic as any other possible explanation!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  22. Buzz Buzz says:

    Talk about out of touch…

    This is a fairly volatile situation and it is in response not to United States policy, not to, obviously, the Administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting, that in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protests directed at the United States writ large or at US policy, this is in response to a video that is offensive, and, to Muslims. Again, this is not in any way justifying violence, and we’ve spoken very clearly out against that, and condemned it.

    – Jay Carney, spokesperson for the Obama administration.

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

  23. Scott says:

    What is wrong with these people?

    This is the question we keep coming back to, isn’t it? There are times where I think I’m the one in the alternate universe. I do stand back and try to understand and then I crack up on the rocky shores of irrationality and delusion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  24. stonetools says:

    @swbarnes2:

    And at last, the hat trick! Three times in one day, Doug claims to be utterly bewildered by the actions of conservatives.

    Hey, give Doug and James some slack! I believe that they are slowly and painfully ” evolving” on the issue of who should be in charge of US foreign policy for the next 4 years. Since it goes against their basic instincts (“Republicans always trump Democrats on FP”) , they are finding it hard to adjust. By the time of the foreign policy debates, I believe the the evolution will be complete.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  25. legion says:

    @Gustopher: The logic _is_ impeccable…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. PJ says:

    @stonetools:

    Romney would have forestalled the Embassy attacks by invoking the power of the Angel Moroni…

    Hey, its as realistic as any other possible explanation!

    Actually being able to summon angels would be great:

    Angel Summoner and BMX Bandit

    But I’m guessing Romney would just make a mess in his magical underwear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Buzz Buzz:

    Talk about out of touch…

    Yeah, as is most of America. These protests are against decades of American policy backing despotic tyrants. Yeah, we finally came around to the side of the Arab street… or not as in the case of Bahrain…. and now we are surprised that 10 months of “good” acts do not wipe out 40 years worth of “bad” acts? The movie was just a pretext.

    There is a lot of hate and anger in the Middle-East for America. To not acknowledge that fact is truly “out of touch.”

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

  28. Mr. Replica says:

    This wouldn’t have happened/won’t happen when/if Romney was president? That’s rich. (no pun intended.)

    All this is coming from a candidate that a couple of days ago was lambasting the POTUS for being weak on foreign policy because he wasn’t waging two wars at once?
    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Mitt-Romney-Rally-in-Fairfax-VA/10737434093/ (Video playlist, around the 4:30 mark.)

    I would repeat myself in calling Romney desperate, but I have come to think that is too light of a term to use. Maybe ludicrous…?
    Oh! I know!
    He’s gone to plaid!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  29. @Scott:

    There are times where I think I’m the one in the alternate universe.

    “SHUT UP! Enough already, Ballstein! Who cares about Derek Zoolander anyway? The man has only one look, for Christ’s sake! Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They’re the same face! Doesn’t anybody notice this? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  30. Mr. Replica says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    From what I hear, he is an excellent eugooglizer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. mattb says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    There is a lot of hate and anger in the Middle-East for America. To not acknowledge that fact is truly “out of touch.”

    This is completely true, but no one wants to be the one to actually say that out loud.

    Further, while it is fair to call out this issue, we should note that Romney’s approach to foreign policy and the near east would most likely double down on the very things that helped create all that hate and anger.

    Obama hasn’t been great in this area. But can anyone honestly make an argument that Romney would be *less* of an interventionist in the Near East and Middle East based on his statements to date?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  32. gus says:

    @swbarnes2: Oh they still defend the guy, they just can’t say why, except for the R after his name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  33. swbarnes2 says:

    @stonetools:

    Hey, give Doug and James some slack! I believe that they are slowly and painfully ” evolving” on the issue of who should be in charge of US foreign policy for the next 4 years.

    No, I don’t have to give tham any slack. I don’t care what their hearts are “evolving” to, I care about the policies that the rest of us have to live under. If James and Doug pull the lever such as to make it more likely that we live under terrible policies, that’s what matters, not their good intentions or evolving hearts.

    And no, I don’t believe they will evolve. While I could just pretend that in their hearts, they feel similar to myself, I have to look at the evidence. And the evidence is post after post after post after post of gross ineptitude and lies and vicious racism, sexism, and homophobia coming from conservatives, and James and Doug, in post, after post, after post, after post, refusing to accept that this is what their chosen party is. Instead they write post after post after post where they play this stuff down as weird, inexplicable, rare outlier stuff, and not the bread and butter of a major political power in our country.

    So no, I’m not going to judge people by what I think is in their hearts, or what I want to be in their hearts. Just by their words and actions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    ozark:

    Romney has now “apologized” for the movie in the same way that Obama “apologized.”

    Yes, exactly. This is what the Embassy said:

    The Embassy … condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims … Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

    How stunning that they would sympathize with our enemies. And the problem is spreading, because another weak, confused American just said this:

    The idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. … under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

    Mitt’s campaign needs to get in touch with this person and remind them what Jim DeMint said a few days ago:

    It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims

    This is so confusing. It’s wrong to “condemn Americans engaging in free speech,” but it’s OK to tell “Americans engaging in free speech” that what they did is “simply inappropriate and wrong?” It takes a highly elastic mind to keep up with all these gyrations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  35. Lynda says:

    I just don’t understand the strategy behind Romney persuing this line of attack.

    Even if he truly believes the garbage he is spouting, the alternate product he is trying to sell – further wars/nationbuilding – does not seem to be one Americans are keen on buying.

    And if the product had been fine, he is the wrong salesman. John McCain could perhaps have used this approach as it would have played to his supposed strengths but Romney/Ryan between them have no military or diplomatic credentials to give them clout.

    Add to that Americans don’t typically approve of infighting when under external attack, no matter how valid the critisms, and the whole thing is political malpractice by him and his campaign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  36. jukeboxgrad says:

    al-Ameda:

    the Romney campaign is in full sleaze and desperation mode

    It could be that they are paying attention to Intrade, where Obama has gone up 15% in about 4 days. The current price (about 67) is an all-time high (with the exception of 2 days in May 2011 when there was a quick spike a little higher).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  37. I just saw the very moving return ceremony for the four fallen. It is unbelievable that the stories before and after are about Romney attacking Obama as sympathetic to the attackers. Today.

    Unbelievable.

    Let alone that today the’d “meme” that they would have prevented these deaths.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  38. David M says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    This is so confusing. It’s wrong to “condemn Americans engaging in free speech,” but it’s OK to tell “Americans engaging in free speech” that what they did is “simply inappropriate and wrong?” It takes a highly elastic mind to keep up with all these gyrations.

    Quantum Mitt Romney both condemns both the free speech now and you for condemning the free speech earlier.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  39. KariQ says:

    I don’t mean to make light of the dangers of the current protests or of the deaths of the 4 Americans who were killed, but Romney has as much control over all of the following as he does over protests in the Mid East. That said, here are some other things that would not have happened if Romney were president:

    The Patriots would not have lost the Superbowl. Because, come on, true Patriots never lose.

    The Spokesman for the Heartattack Grill wouldn’t have died, because this was obviously just one more of Michelle Obama’s ploys to advance her Communistic plot to get people to eat more vegetables.

    Hurricane Isaac wouldn’t have made landfall. This was nothing more than one of Obama’s plots to prevent the public from realizing the awesomeness that is Romney. Besides, if Romney was president, he would have had control of the weather machine, and it would be blue skies all day every day. For everyone. At least everyone who counts.

    Prince William would have married an American! Romney will stand up for the right of American girls to marry foreign princes, as opposed to Obama who meekly sat back and let some Brit carry him off.

    Michael Phelps wouldn’t have lost a single race, because FREEDOM!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  40. jukeboxgrad says:

    david:

    Quantum Mitt Romney

    That’s brilliant. I love this part:

    A Feynman diagram of an encounter between a Romney and an anti-Romney. The resulting collision annihilates both, leaving behind a single electron and a $20 bill.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  41. george says:

    I don’t know what’s scarier – that Romney is willing to knowingly say such utter BS just to get elected, or that he really believes the BS he’s shoveling.

    Seriously, he’s nuts. I’d always thought he’d be a horrible President financially (lowering taxes, raising spending – military etc). But now it appears he’s not even within shouting distance of reality. The middle east isn’t going to protest if he’s president? Seriously?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  42. Lit3Bolt says:

    @swbarnes2:

    Didn’t you hear? Everything Romney does is not a gaffe, just curious but maybe it may help him in November, while everything Obama and Biden do is a national embarrassment and Doug will be vindicated by vague events lying somewhere around 2016 or 2020.

    Doug Mataconis can strongly condemn unions, Occupy, Obama, Biden, and Democrats just not his precious, precious Republican/Libertarian party which is full of religious fundamentalists of which Doug claims total ignorance.

    James and Doug are for charter schools, VoucherCare, ending Social Security, minimum wage freezes, Right to Work laws, English language laws, war with Iran (if only for the TV exposure), the destruction of Social Security, “tax reform” where corporations officially assume control of the government, Voter ID, and state amendments against gay marriage and unions.

    They have no character. James Joyner is a conservative johnny-come-lately eager to cash in on conservative crazy via blogs and websites. Doug Mataconis is a Republican-in-LIbertarian clothing who serves as a the butler to dish out scorn against Dems and Obama while heaping “counter-intuitive, poltical savvy analysis” praise on Know-Nothing, Do-Nothing Grifter Republicans.

    I appreciate the few sane voices here, but egad, enough is enough. Doug and James display such a deliberate obtuseness that I feel that more than half the time they are merely trolling their own blog and comments.

    Seriously, when is the last time ANYONE has seen James or Doug say, “Gee, you might have a point” on any post. This is a game to them. They’re playing all of us, just to increase clicks and pageviews. They’re being deliberately stupid just to bait “reasonable” liberals and independents into arguments.

    James and Doug will pull a vote for a Republican or Libertarian candidate this fall, and that’s ridiculous and unacceptable.

    But they have no choice, because they know they would be excommunicated from their families and friends if they admitted they voted Democratic. Both of them are from the South, after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    It’s wrong to “condemn Americans engaging in free speech,” but it’s OK to tell “Americans engaging in free speech” that what they did is “simply inappropriate and wrong?”

    STOP! Please stop! You’ve got my head spinning!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    I just saw the very moving return ceremony for the four fallen.

    John, didn’t get to watch it but heard a few cuts on NPR. The thought occurred to me that this is the advantages of incumbency. While Romney flails at the whole mess, Obama stands there lookin, and sounding, Presidential.

    Advantage Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  45. Spartacus says:

    @swbarnes2:

    “If James and Doug pull the lever such as to make it more likely that we live under terrible policies, that’s what matters, not their good intentions or evolving hearts.”

    Amen!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  46. jukeboxgrad says:

    ozark:

    You’ve got my head spinning!

    That’s only because you’re expecting GOP rhetoric to not contradict itself. You need to liberate yourself from that expectation.

    If only your mind was elastic enough, you would be able to see that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Doug Mataconis can strongly condemn unions, Occupy, Obama, Biden, and Democrats just not his precious, precious Republican/Libertarian party which is full of religious fundamentalists of which Doug claims total ignorance.

    Lit, I am hardly ever in total agreement with Doug about just about anything, but he has attacked the Republicans in general and Mitt Romney in particular on innumerable occasions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    If only your mind was elastic enough, you would be able to see that war is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.

    Ahhhh, Oh Wise One…. Elasticize my mind, teach me the wonders of Conservatism, lead me to the Force and away from the Dark Side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  49. Woody says:

    I think Sullivan won this one:

    It’s more evidence of Republican incoherence: the government can’t be trusted to intervene in Texas because it is too far away and the feds are incompetent. But Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? Why don’t we control them directly from Washington?

    I’d only add ‘why stop at three?’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  50. Alanmt says:

    And just when I thought “torture is wrong” was the only thing Rod Dreher and I would ever agree upon.

    I don’t know how much the general public knows or cares about foreign policy. But this Kissingerian realpolitiker is dying inside. I usually use the Dunning Kruger effect to discuss the electorate in Presidential election years, but Mitt has to be considered a prime example. He and his campaign staff have no concept of how clumsy, amateurish, and antithetical to actual longterm American diplomatic interests they are acting. In the parlance of our times, OMFG.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  51. Mr. Replica says:

    If you are a Romney supporter and after this week you have not begun to question if Romney is presidential material, then you are the exact type of dope Romney wants/hopes you to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  52. jukeboxgrad says:

    ozark:

    Elasticize my mind, teach me the wonders of Conservatism

    I suggest you begin by following the link that David provided: “Quantum Mitt Romney.” It’s a hard concept for mortals like us to grasp, but I’m still trying and I figure eventually I’ll be able to crack the code.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. jukeboxgrad says:

    woody citing sullivan:

    It’s more evidence of Republican incoherence: the government can’t be trusted to intervene in Texas because it is too far away and the feds are incompetent. But Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? Why don’t we control them directly from Washington?

    Good point, but I have a theory about this.

    Yes, the GOP seems to have no problem with spending lots of money on nation-building, but only if the nation is someone else’s. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that colossal contract shenanigans are much easier to hide when they happen on the other side of the planet and are obscured by the fog of war. For example, no one ever seemed to mind that in Iraq we lost track of hundreds of tons of cash, literally. Such a feat would be harder to accomplish inside the USA.

    For somebody like Mitt, this is the key question: what’s the easiest way to make a shitload of money, fast, without working too much? War is a good answer to that question.

    alan:

    He and his campaign staff have no concept of how clumsy, amateurish, and antithetical to actual longterm American diplomatic interests they are acting.

    I think it’s worse than that, and you’re giving them too much credit. They know, but they don’t care, because they have other priorities, as I just mentioned.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  54. C. Clavin says:

    Romney campaign advisor Netanyahoo will be on Meet the Press Sunday. I’m sure he will explain how attacking Iran will stabilize the Middle East. And of course David Gregory will lick his boots instead of asking any hard questions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  55. Lenoxus says:

    @Gustopher: I thumbed this up under the assumption that your point was “The only way that would make sense is…” rather than to spread FUD that Romney is actually doing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0