Romney proves his weakness
Mitt Romney has shown the world that he is not qualified to serve as president of the United States. He did it by sticking his nose – very noisily – into events surrounding the savage murder of four American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, violating two well-tested rules for political leaders: don’t sound off until you know the facts; and in times of crisis, we’re all Americans who pull together. Romney’s views on domestic affairs could have bad economic consequences, but his rookie status in foreign affairs could lead to another war or two that we really don’t need.
Last Tuesday was Sept. 11, a date with emotional impact for both Americans and Arabs. Its power this year has been greatly affected by the wide Internet distribution of an execrable low-budget film (made in California) that attacks Muslims and their religion in ways that we would all find most offensive. As reactions to that film turned ugly in Cairo, the American embassy there, seeking to build bridges rather than walls, put out a statement that said, in part, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It was released several hours before the violence in Benghazi in which the American diplomats were slain. Shamefully, the Romney camp has consistently ignored the truth and nurtured the whopper that the Obama administration and other Democrats are apologizing for mob violence in Libya and the exercise of harmless free speech in California.
Once the facts were clear, the Republican group had a choice. They could either retract their obvious misstatements or they could double down, hoping that a majority of voters would accept falsehood as truth if it was proclaimed often and forcefully enough. To their shame, they chose the latter route. For instance, a segment on the PBS NewsHour last week featured a short debate between an enthusiastic, articulate Republican and a scholarly Democrat. More than once the moderator reminded the former that the “apology” had been issued hours before the violence in Benghazi, but he skillfully tiptoed around that fact. At the end of the segment he wore a big grin on his face that clearly said, “I outtalked this guy, so our side wins.”
America badly needs a strong, grown-up conservative national party with wise, focused leaders. Sad to say, today’s GOP has become the refuge of those who only know how to say “no” or “tax cuts” or “duh” with great enthusiasm. Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave.
Robert D. Gillette, Poland