Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Romney Disqualifies Himself from the Presidency

Daily Kos is right: This smirk at presser about Middle East tragedy is horrible.

In the back and forth of an election season, I have to admit there is some joy in supporting one candidate's position and relishing when his opponent opens mouth and inserts foot. Even if the outcome of elections do have meaning, observers, like myself, can enjoy watching a politician who we oppose self-immolate. As an example, take Sarah Palin interviewed by Katie Couric.

This isn't one of those times. Mitt Romney's craven attempt to condemn Barack Obama and his administration for "apologizing" for American values, long before the key facts were known in the drama unfolding in Cairo and Benghazi, is not merely ill-advised but bizarre, thoughtless and contemptible. Quite simply, Mitt Romney is not ready to be president, it's doubtful he ever will.

Because of this, all Americans should take pause and reflect whether they actually would ever want him to be. I sure don't.

Seasoned hands at the game of government and foreign policy are weighing in, and it doesn't look good for Romney.

BuzzFeed's Ben Smith:
Mitt Romney's sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy.
NBC's First Read:
Yesterday we noted that Mitt Romney, down in the polls after the convention, was throwing the kitchen sink at President Obama. Little did we know the kitchen sink would include -- on the anniversary  of 9/11 -- one of the most over-the-top and (it turns out)  incorrect attacks of the general-election campaign . Last night after 10:00 pm ET, Romney released a statement on the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya. After saying he was “outraged” by these attacks and the death of an American consulate worker, Romney said, “It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” Yet after learning every piece of new information about those attacks, the Romney statement looks worse and worse -- and simply off-key. First, Romney was referring to a statement that the U.S. embassy in Egypt issued condemning the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” But that embassy statement, which the White House has distanced itself from, was in reference to an anti-Islam movie and anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones, and it came out BEFORE the embassy attacks began. Then this morning, we learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others died in one of the attacks.
Time's Mark Halperin (via Talking Points Memo):
Unless the Romney campaign has gamed this crisis out in some manner completely invisible to the Gang of 500, his doubling down on criticism of the President for the statement coming out of Cairo is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign.
CNN's Peter Hamby:
Facing criticism for its aggressive and politically-charged response to Tuesday's violent attacks on the American embassies in Egypt and Libya, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is quietly advising Republicans how to respond to questions about the campaign's handling of the episode.
In talking points currently being pushed to Republican leaders and top surrogates, the Romney campaign recommends attacking President's Obama "foreign policy of weakness" and dismissing questions about how the campaign responded to the crisis last night.
 Wall St. Journal's Peggy Noonan (via Politico):
The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan is criticizing Mitt Romney’s response to the death of a U.S. diplomat in Libya, telling Fox News today she doesn’t feel that the Republican presidential nominee “has been doing himself any favors” in the past few hours.
“I was thinking as he spoke, I think I belong to the old school of thinking that in times of great drama and heightened crisis, and in times when something violent has happened to your people, I always think discretion is the better way to go,” Noonan said. “When you step forward in the midst of a political environment and start giving statements on something dramatic and violent that has happened, you're always leaving yourself open to accusations that you are trying to exploit things politically.”
WaPo's Chris Cillizza:
Viewed broadly, Romney is clearly taking a major risk in his decision to double-down on his denunciation of the Obama Administration for its role (or lack thereof) in the Libya attack and its aftermath. It’s an approach that will play well to the party’s base but it’s hard to imagine they need to be any more enthusiastic than they already are about the November election.
Romney’s approach hands the Obama team an opening to cast the challenger as not ready for the job, someone who jumps to conclusions before all the facts are known. And, at least at the moment, that appears to be the stronger (political) argument.
And I'd maintain it's the strong human argument. Mitt Romney, already suspect in most areas of the political arena, now has failed in one of its most important ones. We can't elect this man, period.

Another Romney smirk via Daily Kos. Disgusting.

Final thought: As we move through the day, and possibly the week, Mitt Romney will receive more criticism for last night's and this morning's "foreign policy" antics, some from the media, some from Democrats, and some from his own party. It may be the wrong time to take grim satisfaction from this, but it's the right time to evaluate what bullet we may be dodging.

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