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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hair trigger lip

There has long been an unspoken rule that politics ends at the water's edge. And and even older one that you should know the facts before you open your month on foreign matters.

Meet Mitt Romney, who just topped his London gaffe, in spades.

While US diplomats and intelligence experts were trying to get to the bottom of what could be an organized terrorist attack in Libya and Egypt that claimed the lives of four Americans, including an ambassador, Romney used a political rally in Florida to denounce Barack Obama for not speaking out before all the facts were in.

After all, Romney does that all the time.

The usually volatile Mideast is at it again --  this time triggered by a provocative video clip by an Egyptian-American involving Florida pastor Terry Jones denouncing Islam. It's a surefire method to generate a wild response in the Arab street.

It was not clear then, nor is it certain now, that the anger that began in Egypt over the clip triggered -- or is even connected -- to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that claimed four lives.

That did not stop Romney from rushing to the stump to denounce Obama for "apologizing."

As the Globe explains:
Romney alleged that Obama was sympathizing with the attackers because of a statement that the US Embassy in Cairo issued condemning an online video offensive to Muslims as an example of religious intolerance. Romney said Wednesday the statement was issued after the attack in Cairo, as a response to it. But it was actually issued before the attack, specifically in response to growing anger in Egypt over the offensive video.
But in reality:
US officials said Wednesday that they are investigating the four-hour ­assault that killed the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans as a well-orchestrated terrorist attack, not a spontaneous reaction to an inflammatory movie about the Muslim prophet Mohammed.
And as for Obama?
“Make no mistake, justice will be done,” Obama said, adding that “we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.”
While right wing commentators applaud Romney hair trigger lip, the incident raises all sorts of troubling questions about the former Massachusetts governor';s capacity to lead. For someone who apparently was data-driven as a businessman, his willingness to speak out before all the facts are known is rather terrifying.

You would have thought he learned a lesson speaking out about fears for security at the London games before all the facts were in. This is a far worse diplomatic gaffe, that could be described as offering comfort to our enemies.

Romney also continued the newly found GOP tactic of making international diplomacy a political topic, rejecting the long-held belief that partisan politics ends at the water's edge because a nation should be united when facing an imminent threat.

If the shoe were on the other party's foot, cries of treason would surely rise.

The outburst also suggests a sense in the Romney camp that the momentum may be shifting to Obama, requiring a forceful action to shake things up.

Making political hay without full knowledge of what he is talking about could indeed do just that -- reflecting how ill prepared Romney is for the international stage. It even suggests that his supposedly data-driven mind is prone to manipulation from the last person to speak with him.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eugene McCarthy

September 13, 2012 10:34 AM  

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