I had almost completed a post, one which reconsidered Mitt Romney’s achievements and how, in some ways, he might make a good president. But foreign events have interceded. In any case, my speculation was largely a matter of guesswork since Romney steadfastly remains vague about what he would do regarding the budget deficit and job creation and, when you think about it, everything – except repealing Obamacare. Recently, he has even been criticized for this by conservative allies such as the Wall Street Journal: “Mr. Romney’s pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies.”
Of course, the attacks Tuesday on our embassies in Egypt and Libya have thrust the foreign policy dimension of the presidency to the fore allowing the economic ones to fade momentarily to the background. As petty as it is, I feel put out by having to write a more relevant post, and I am struck by how, to an exponentially greater degree, these events must be changing President Obama’s plans as well. Not just politically, of course, but in terms of his guidance of our overall response as a nation to these events. That’s the kind of thing a president has to deal with almost daily. There is always something unexpected coming in, and we usually don’t hear anything about them unless they are handled badly. I for one prize Obama’s proven coolness under these pressures.
Of course, from the Republican point of view, everything Obama does is handled badly, so it is no surprise that the Romney team uncovered something “disgraceful” immediately after the crisis broke out. Amidst puzzling events unfolding, Romney seized upon a public statement made by someone in the embassy in Egypt prior to their walls being breached (someone who it now appears, acted on his own). A statement that he calls “akin to an apology’ for American values and a “disgraceful” act.
Four American diplomats murdered in Libya and a continuing tumult for the President to deal with throughout the Arab world and Mitt Romney takes an on-line release by an embassy worker and makes it seem a revelation of our basic problem with the Arab world……. We apologize too much (*1). I assume you have a general sense of the issue and if you want a detailed one, I provide a couple of links at the bottom.
Peggie Noonan, a conservative commentator and former Reagan speechwriter, summed up on Fox News what I hope is the reaction of a majority of Americans: “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors, say, in the past few hours, perhaps since last night…. Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go.”
Good advice Peggie, but Mitt is desperate to win votes at this point and will say anything to get them. I don’t see that tactic working here, but we’ll wait and see.
For now, I suggest you read the outline of those initial events in the Outside the Beltway blog, which appear to be presented impartially (*2). Read it and decide for yourself whose actions have been disgraceful.
(*1) You might also want to read this Washington Post editorial today which covers the same ground especially attentive to the notion that Obama often “apologizes” for American values.
(*2) I read several pieces about the Romney reaction, but chose this one as it seems more detailed than others and not particularly pro-Obama . I infer not too “pro-Obama” because in a short survey of its readers regarding the president’s overall performance, 50% judged it as “very unfavorable” and only 26% “very favorable. I myself was among the 15% judging it “somewhat favorable.” Though, as with all surveys, I’d add a caveat, somewhat favorable under very unfavorable circumstances.