Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 22, 2011

MITT ROMNEY, PANDERING ROBOT.... Under the circumstances, it's not realistic to think Mitt Romney is going to offer blanket praise for President Obama's policy in Libya. But the former governor should at least try to be coherent about it.

Last night, Romney chatted with far-right radio host Hugh Hewitt about U.S. intervention, and said plainly, "I support military action in Libya. I support our troops there in the mission they've been given."

But in the next breath, the likely Republican presidential candidate explained his opposition to the administration's foreign policy:

"I believe that it flows from his fundamental disbelief in American exceptionalism. In the President's world, all nations have 'common interests,' the lines between good and evil are blurred, America's history merits apology. And without a compass to guide him in our increasingly turbulent world, he's tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced."

Even by Romney's standards, this is just sad. Greg Sargent noted the criticism "is so canned and riddled with buzzwords designed to pander to the right wing base that it feels like he subjected his language to a dozen Tea Party focus groups before daring to open his mouth."

Indeed, reading the transcript, one can almost hear Romney running through a checklist in his mind. The subject relates to foreign policy, which means the former governor has to ask himself, "Did I mention 'exceptionalism'? How about apologizing?"

It's hackneyed and robotic. Romney talks about foreign policy as if he's just reading a stream of note cards -- after they've been shuffled.

Even the buzz words themselves are ridiculous. The president was "indecisive"? Please. As Kevin Drum put it, "When did it suddenly become a personality defect to decline to intervene in a foreign rebellion the instant it broke out?"

Obama is "nuanced"? Yes, but can someone explain why that's a bad thing? It's a complex, "turbulent," and ever-changing world. Having a chief executive who appreciates and is aware of "nuance" strikes me as positive.

Again, Romney is obviously going to say something negative about the president, no matter what the question is, even if he agrees with Obama's larger decision. But if he wants to be taken seriously, Romney really ought to do better than this cheap pandering.

Update: Greg adds some additional thoughts, including this gem: "Call it the Dingbat Doctrine: If you think the world is a complicated place; if you think that navigating the most powerful military in human history through treacherous and ever-shifting geopolitical cross-currents involves difficult moral choices; if you think America can gain anything at all by recognizing that we have common interests with other nations; well, then you're too weak to be president."

Steve Benen 1:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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Comments

iirc, they blasted the hell out of clinton over bosnia, too.

Posted by: mellowjohn on March 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

To get anywhere in the Republican primaries, he HAS to hit the buzzwords, and hard. That's all the teabaggers hear. You have to toss them red meat. It's practically religious ritual -- certain words have to be spoken to be accepted by the party faithful.

Posted by: Gummo on March 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

He doesn't want to be taken seriously. He wants the Republican Presidential nomination. This is the exact opposite of seriousness.

Posted by: Ian A on March 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

When it comes to people "without a compass," the Mittster is the gold standard. He's the poster boy for the Groucho quote, "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on March 22, 2011 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

DAMN!!! What does Obama have to do to make Republicans happy!!!! OK there! fuck it! 100% taxes on black people. 100%!!

Posted by: glutz78 on March 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

"You know what word I'm not comfortable with? Nuance. It's not a real word. Like gesture. Gesture's a real word. With gesture you know where you stand. But nuance? I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong." -- Modell (played by Paul Reiser), from "Diner" (1982)

Posted by: diakron on March 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

low-tech cyclist I almost fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard at the Groucho quote about Mitty.

Posted by: Gandalf` on March 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

the lines between good and evil are blurred ... without a compass to guide him in our increasingly turbulent world, he's tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced

That so, Mittens? I know you are but what am I ... ?

Posted by: ManOutOfTime on March 22, 2011 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

It's hackneyed and robotic. Romney talks about foreign policy as if he's just reading a stream of note cards -- after they've been shuffled.
----------------------------------------

Mitt Romney looks like a "Ken Doll" that speaks exactly like the half term governor. Basically, he is vapid and incoherent.

Posted by: Ladyhawke on March 22, 2011 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

"Pandering robot"? The term you're looking for is pandroid.

Posted by: Grumpy on March 22, 2011 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

all nations have 'common interests,' the lines between good and evil are blurred, America's history merits apology

Okay, all that's true. What's your point, Mitt?

Posted by: chi res on March 22, 2011 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

"It's hackneyed and robotic."

Hey, Steve, how did you know their ticket, they haven't even had their primaries yet?

Hackneyed for President, and Robotic for VP!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 22, 2011 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to know how someone can be indecisive and nuanced at the same time, or how someone can be nuanced when they "blur the lines between good and evil."

Romney isn't really running for president, he's auditioning for a gig on Fox News.

Posted by: karen marie on March 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

American exceptionalism ? You got to be fucking kidding. I guess when 30 percent of you population is morbidly obese, another 40 percent simply obese, a population that is so stupid that it can be convinced to vote against it's own self interest, a population in which 40 percent 'believe' that the Earth is only 10,000 years old in which the humans and the dinosaurs co-mingled, a population in which 10 percent are in your prisons, a population that is only 5 percent of the world's population yet consumes 25 percent of it's resources, a population in which all the wealth of your nation is 'owned' by less than 1 percent of your population, a population in which 5t0 million of your fellow citizens have no health insurance and, for those that do, it costs insane amounts of money that is used to pay millions to the CEO'S of your health corporations, a population in which when you go to the hospital 200,000 of your citizens get some kind of disease that they didn't have before they went into the hospital, and another 100,000 are simply killed by doctors through misdiagnosis, a population that committed genocide against the native population that lived in your country before the white Europeans 'settled' it, a population in which 34 people are murdered each and every day, a population in which 30 percent of your citizens can't even find your country on a world map, a country in which your 'hedge fund' managers are now responsible for raising the prices of food and gas all over the world occurs while they get even richer, CERTAINLY MAKES YOU 'EXCEPTIONAL' ......... exceptionally stupid, narcissistic, and nothing more than pigs.

USA ! USA ! USA !

Posted by: blue on March 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama is "nuanced"? Yes, but can someone explain why that's a bad thing? It's a complex, "turbulent," and ever-changing world. Having a chief executive who appreciates and is aware of "nuance" strikes me as positive."

As opposed to the previous imbecile who famously said, "It's not my job to nuance".

If there's anyone whose job it absolutely is "to nuance", it's the President.

How utterly fucking dumb do you have to be these days to be a Republican???????

Posted by: marty on March 22, 2011 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone remember the interview with Michael Steele on NPR when he recoiled at the word "nuance"? He obviously didn't know what the word meant. Maybe Romney thinks that the right wing base will have a similar reaction for the same reason.

Posted by: JD on March 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I imagine that Romney has the typical Republican mindset that lying is de rigueur for political candidacy. And that no one would ever hold him to account: it's all about 'looking good' (that neatly combed hair) and conservative in dress, etc.

But the age of politics is no longer what it was when a smooth face and evasive blather does the trick. Our new media has very long memories, even if print media's seems to go back only to about a month ago.

Posted by: jjm on March 22, 2011 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

While it may seem like a discombobulated jumble to you, Mittens appears to have strung together several Frank Luntz phrases in a manner that would normally have great appeal to our low information voter base.

We, the wealthy wing of the republican party, could support Mittens in his quest for the presidency. However, nothing that Mittens does will overcome his Mormoncy with our base and he is just wasting his time and breath.

It is good that Mittens attacks Obama and the democrat party and our base will like that while continuing to dislike him. It really is a shame that he is unmarketable to our base. He is a ready made tool for corporate and wealthy interests.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on March 22, 2011 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Cheap pandering" - geez, Mitt has made cheap pandering the cornerstone of his political life. That's his game, that's all he's got.
Did I mention he's a Mormon?

Posted by: T2 on March 22, 2011 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Blue, if you're going to assume such an intellectually condescending attitude, better ditch the superfluous apostrophes.

Posted by: Odder on March 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

the title alone was worth commenting ..

poor Mittens...

he's such a pathetic piece of plastic.

Posted by: rikyrah on March 22, 2011 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad Obama doesn't have the golden tablets and those "special" glasses to guide him like Mitt does.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on March 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

I will always remember during the last presidential election, our troops were stretched to breaking point - Mittens has 4 grown up sons, he was asked if they would join the military - his answer was - they have more important things to do to get me elected!
I really cannot stand mittens, and Ladyhawke who said he was a Ken doll hit it right on the head!

Posted by: j on March 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

You don't need nuance when you have God with you - you just need faith. Modern Rethug politics is all about doing Gods work, in the kinda sorta way that Rethugs know best.

Posted by: just guessing on March 22, 2011 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Obama is "nuanced"? Yes, but can someone explain why that's a bad thing? ... Having a chief executive who appreciates and is aware of "nuance" strikes me as positive."

I think Mitt just invented "Praising with faint damnation."

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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