This morning, I was greeted by a fresh doubting comment on my Coming Romney Landslide Facebook link. The friend who questioned my prediction a few days ago wrote this morning: ” I gotta ask…… Still????”
Yes. Still. Despite, or perhaps because of, the media hysteria over Romney’s brave, insightful, and entirely appropriate comments on the unfolding disaster in the Middle East.
As the DNC bounce fades into oblivion and the tracking polls show Romney retaking a slim lead, weak-kneed Republicans now find themselves with a new source of panic – Romney spoke too soon! Romney jumped the gun! Romney’s talking foreign policy, which, you know, he shouldn’t, because – well, because – because, well, you know, he shouldn’t!
Before I address the thin-gruel substance of the accusations, I would ask the wobbly among us whether they would prefer the opposite media reaction. “Golly! This is the Romney we’re looking for! Isn’t Romney conducting himself well? What a statesman that Romney fellow is.” If Joe Klein at Newsweek or Lawrence O’Donnell at MSNBC ever says anything like that, then you will know with certainty that the Romney campaign is over. Whereas if they’re apoplectic about something Romney is doing, then it’s pretty likely Romney’s doing something right. To quote polemicist Ann Coulter, “You know that Romney’s statement was devastating to President Obama because the media is screaming bloody murder.”
So let’s take a look at the events.
We have four dead Americans, including a dead American ambassador whose body was not found until six hours after his murder, on a day when the sitting president decides to hightail it to Vegas to raise some big bucks. You have a tepid and mixed response from our embassy in Cairo, which first begins by apologizing for the First Amendment and then rescinds the apology. You now have growing unrest throughout the Middle East, with anti-American demonstrations now growing in places like Tunisia and Yemen, and you have a president who doesn’t seem to be paying attention. The Arab Spring overthrew dictatorial thugs and replaced them with bloodthirsty Islamic radicals, mainly because the United States policy is to “lead from behind” and allow violent extremists like the Muslim Brotherhood to assume power with no real resistance from us.
So the question you have to ask, as the region descends into chaos: is there anyone saying, “My goodness, isn’t it great that we have a steady, decisive hand like Barack Obama to lead us through this crisis?” I mean, anyone other than Democratic party hacks and the lapdog press?
So Mitt Romney looks at this and says, “you know, we shouldn’t be apologizing for freedom of speech in this country.” And when the Obama administration essentially agrees with him and yanks the apology, Mitt, rightfully so, says that sends mixed signals and indicates weakness in a region of the world that only respects strength.
And in the midst of all this, the story is not that the world is collapsing, which it is. It is not that the president is asleep at the switch, which he is. It is not that the president’s “lead from behind” doctrine is the thing that got us into this mess, which it is. No, the story is that Mitt Romney has made a huge, devastating gaffe by bringing any of this to the attention of the American electorate.
When on earth did it become a rule that a presidential candidate isn’t allowed to criticize a sitting president’s foreign policy? I’m trying to remember the press ripping in to John Kerry for criticizing the Bush administration’s foreign policy. We were engaged in a full-fledged war back then, remember, a war Kerry called the “wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Was he out of line? Actually, yes, considering he voted for that wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time. But you never heard the press excoriate him for excoriating Bush.
In a world with any semblance of an objective press, the headlines would explain what happened yesterday, what the president is or isn’t doing about it, and what the Republican nominee said. It would then be up to the voters to determine whether Governor Romney’s remarks were or were not appropriate.
Instead, we have every talking head telling us that Romney’s political fortunes were significantly damaged by this, as they shake their heads in mock concern for a candidate who, try as he might, never seems to earn their praise. And in the meantime, the Middle East is ablaze with anti-American radicalism, real unemployment is in the double digits, and Obama offers four more years of the same.
Get a spine, Republicans. When the other side is panicking, don’t feel like you have to join them.