Is Romnesia contagious? Hope not. I don’t want to lie and look stupid.
Man, what a debate. Remember the ancient Greek legend of Achilles? Born of God and human, he was almost totally invincible — except for his heel. When Achilles was born his mother Thetis heard her son would be killed in battle so she dips young Achilles in the River Styx. She holds her son by his heel so it isn’t washed in the magic waters of the river and is therefore fatally vulnerable.
Achilles goes to Troy with the Greek army, slaying all who get in his way. Young Paris, who has taken the beautiful Helen away from her husband and home in Greece, was fearful after his father Priam and brother Hector (all his brothers actually) were killed during the siege on Troy. In a dream, Paris is told of Achilles’ heel, his fatal weakness, so Paris lies in wait and then sends a divine arrow to pierce Achilles’ heel, therefore killing the ancient hero.
If you want the whole story, read Homer. The point of this extremely abbreviated Cliff’s Notes version is that Monday night’s debate, the third and final presidential debate of this election, was Mitt Romney’s Achilles Heel. He knows precious little about foreign affairs, other than shipping jobs overseas, especially to China. It became so apparent in the first five minutes Romney was in way over his head, the rest of the debate was mere entertainment. The most gracious thing anyone (other than his surrogates) had to say was that Mitt Romney “played it safe.”
Romney talked about opening up trade with Central and South America, but we already have trade agreements with Latin America — except for Cuba of course. So that volley went nowhere. And he had nowhere else to go.
Basically, Romney tacked to the left of his previous positions on the end of the war in Iraq, on the ending of the war in Afghanistan, on the tumult after the revolutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt; on the president’s policies toward Israel (and by default the Palestinians), Syria and Iran. On every one of these foreign policy issues, Romney agreed with President Obama.
Romney’s only other tactic seemed to be to pivot the foreign policy discussion to the economy and domestic affairs. Even then Obama would corner Romney on the positions the Republican held months, weeks and even a few days ago. Romney’s plan to get tough with China and label one of our biggest trade partners a currency manipulator was met with Obama reminding everyone that Romney did have knowledge of American jobs going to China because he managed companies that “off-shored” or “outsourced’ jobs to China.
Not surprisingly, Romney was rattled, unsettled and unable to articulate a foreign policy that was any different from the course we are already on with President Obama. Gov. Romney tried to sound every bit the moderate as President Obama.
Except when he trotted out the “apology tour” rhetoric. And then admitted Romney just called it that. There really weren’t any apologies and as the fact-checkers have been pointing out since Romney started using that phrase (“Apology Tour”), the references Romney used didn’t occur when the president toured the Middle East in 2009. They happened in Strasbourg, France (“dismissive” and “derisive”) when President Obama was talking about Europe’s almost casual anti-Americanism; and then in Trinidad and Tobago during the April 2009 Conference of the Americas (“Dictating to”).
In Romneyworld, the Apology Tour took place when the president went to the Middle East in 2009 and spoke in Cairo, Egypt, among other places. The only take-away Romney could hang his integrity on was that during that 2009 Middle East tour, President Obama didn’t visit Israel. And that was really weak, especially after the president talked about his trip to Israel as a candidate the year before.
If, after Monday’s debate, the “Apology Tour” isn’t history in the Romney Campaign, then all of them in the Romney-Ryan camp are idiots. It was just fact-checked, by the president, in front of 60 million viewers. Romney even agreed with the president that people should Google the facts.
A shout out for one of America’s newest and most successful start-ups by immigrants.
In Romneyspeak, the debate was a complete success because (and you can’t make this up it’s so good) the governor didn’t make any major gaffes. That’s the standard you want to claim? “My candidate won because he didn’t fuck up!” That’s like entering a horse in a race and claiming victory because it didn’t come in last.
The most notable thing about Monday’s debate were the president’s one-liners, like, “The 1980’s are now calling for their foreign policy back.”
It was after the president reminded everyone that Romney recently said Russia was our main geopolitical foe. On social issues Romney wants to take us back to the 1950’s and where the military is concerned, Romney wants to take us back to the 1920’s, before the advent of aircraft carriers and submarines.
Romney made a pitch for a larger Navy, saying the U.S. Navy was smaller now than it was in 1917.
Obama replied: “I think Governor Romney may be hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works. You mention the Navy, and how we have fewer ships than 1916. We also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have aircraft carriers; we have ships that go underwater; nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of ‘Battleship’ where we’re counting ships. It’s: What are our capabilities? So when I sit down with the Secretary of the Navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we determine how are we going to be best able to meet all of our defense needs in a way that also keeps faith with our troops, that makes sure our veterans have the kind of support that they need when they come home. And that is not reflected in the kind of budget that you’re putting forward because it just doesn’t work. We visited the website quite a bit and it still doesn’t work.”
At which point Obama surrogate, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts tweeted: “President Obama sunk Governor Romney’s battle ship.” Touché.
And we could also make the case we still use bayonets, but they’re not actually bayonets, they’re K-Bars.
Afterwards, Republicans danced and spun, looking for the silver lining to their candidate’s performance. Make no mistake, candidates that engage in debates, especially at this level, are performing. It’s usually style over substance and if the latter gets into the discussion, well then all the better for the voters.
Romney was roundly criticized for being a rude bully in last week’s debate so he rarely (if at all, I can’t remember) challenged the president and when Obama interrupted him, Romney didn’t protest or tell the president he would get his turn.
So, the silver lining to Romney’s side of the debate was that he didn’t make any glaring gaffes. Oh goody.
Other than pivoting to the auto bailout. O Dear … Governor, please don’t encourage the viewers to Google your New York Times Op-Ed … Oh, you did! Well okay, so you don’t have to Google it, we did it. Click here. In it Romney unequivocally states: “NO GOVERNMENT CHECKS TO THE AUTO COMPANIES!”
Well, Romney didn’t commit any major gaffes … he played it safe. Except for that apology tour thing and his anti-auto bailout Op-Ed. Oh, and saying the president made all the right decisions concerning every major and minor piece of foreign policy, from increasing the use of drones in Pakistan (a flip-flop), going after bin Laden as the raid was carried out (a flip-flop and Romney even congratulated the president!), ending the war in Iraq and starting to end it in Afghanistan (he even stated we don’t want or need another Afghanistan or Iraq so military action is all but off the table in Syria and Iran), agreeing with the policies towards Iran and Syria, agreeing with our roles in regime change in Egypt and Libya (a flip-flop) and this is the funny one, he even agreed with our growing alliance with China.
Forgive him. He’s got a bad case of Romnesia as President Obama says. Obamacare will cure that.
Romney’s neo-con advisors must be going nuts. They were so looking forward to starting a war in Iran. But, just like Romney’s main campaign advisor, Eric Fehrnstrom, told us seven months ago, “Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all of over again.”
They’ve succeeded there. Romney has now flip-flopped on just about every issue, foreign and domestic.
But this might say a lot about us as an electorate: are we so jaded and cynical our political leaders can telegraph to us, months in advance, they’re going to lie and flip-flop on issues just to gain support — and we accept it? The reality is, Romney will still get about 47% of the vote. Which means that block of voters is okay with a flip-floppin’ Etch-a-Sketch man in the White House, just as long as it replaces the guy who is already there.
You know, the more Mitt Romney campaigns, the better George W. Bush looks. What a scary thought.
And take our poll on the right side of the homepage. You might be surprised who is winning.
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality.