Libya Libya Libya Libya.
As Mitt Romney goes home with his second place trophy in November, we will reflect on the reasons for his failed candidacy.
And it will be his response to the Libyan crisis.
To recap: on Tuesday September 11th, the embassy in Cairo released a statement - before the attack:
"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. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."
The statement was not reviewed or approved by the White House. In fact, the White House had seen the statement but asked for "major revisions."
Hours later, Mitt Romney jumped on it. Here's the key tidbit:
"...the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values."
This is how Romney lost the presidency - by trying to climb into the chair using guile and deception, beyond the pale. He mis-characterized events. Romney was ultimately about as diplomatic as Bubba Joe when he has too many beers on Tuesday nights after bowling and decides to play with his shotgun in the parking lot.
His press conference the following day was painful to watch, as Romney smirked his way through the second half. It was almost as if you could see him thinking "remember to smile, humans like that", though four people had been killed. Frankly, it was creepy.
But remembering to be civil is hard. You know how Bubba Joe gets after a couple of beers and all.
But there's something larger at work here. As I encounter the Facebookings and the Tweeterings surrounding this debacle, I am surprised to see the knee jerk "bomb the F*** outta them!" reactions from angry GOPers.
Hey, I'm not an apologist. I actually agree that if there is a tactical military solution we should consider it. But I'm talking about the proverbial hillbilly justice proponents out there, guzzling a beer and firing their boom-sticks into the air in a shout of "GOD BLESS AMERICA AND KILL THOSE MUSLIM BASTARDS!"
What in the heck folks.
This is what a year of dirty campaigning results in.
Did I say a year? I meant a decade.
This is the natural result of crosshairs on people's faces you're campaigning against, posting pictures of the President-as-Hitler. Socialist. Communist. Like these people even know what Socialism IS.
Romney is the culmination - so far - of an America reared to hate everything they perceive of as UnAmerican. And these days I'm not even sure apple pie makes the cut. Have you seen the way grandma hands out a piece of pie to EVERYONE, regardless of their real contribution to the family?
If you doubt that idea, look at Romney's statement again. He actually criticizes Obama for defending religious freedom. I'll agree that the "hurt religious feelings" line sucks in the Embassy's statement. But hey, they were a bit under the gun. Literally. As Obama said later, they should be given a little slack for that.
Romney is the spokesperson for the vitriol that has become American politics and culture, a politics that has other countries laughing at the nonsense pouring out of the mouths of Akin, Robertson, Palin, Nugent, Bush, Bachman, O'Donnell, Beck, Limbaugh, Santorum, and yes, even(gasp!) Obama says dumb things sometimes. Hello, Guantanamo Bay.
Perhaps this is to be expected from a country that began by revolution, firmly established an unprecendented set of freedoms, and carries with it a natural suspicion of all things governmental. And when crazy people attack us, we get mad at the government and bomb all the crazy people. Simple. "Worked with Japan". I kid you not, someone posted a response for me that said that it worked with Japan. Bubba's clearly been drinking.
Or maybe we just need to ration our beer consumption. After all, when Bubba Joe dries out on Wednesday, he's actually a pretty cool guy.