Insulting whole nations is not an appropriate activity for someone who wants to be President of the United States. Staging cheesy speeches to garner Jewish and Catholic votes at the expense of this country’s reputation is crazy…. Okay, not that crazy, given the state of the modern Republican party’s unprecedented love of greedy, self interested attitudes, dog whistle sound bytes, and blind devotion to staying on message, even when the message is stupid.
Mitt Romney, or as I like to call him, ‘Whipsaw Willard‘, had a eventful and interesting little summer tour, while old Rafalca, the dressage horse “athlete”, and her trainer Jan Ebeling underperformed at the Olympics, finishing with a score of 69.302 percent. If you don’t know by now, dressage, or “horse dancing”, is a sport where a horse and rider perform a choreographed routine of movements that highlights the animal’s training: prancing trots, twirling pirouettes and coincidentally, something called the flying change, which looks kind of like the horse is skipping. Ann Romney and co-owners have indicated that Rafalca will be used to breed after her dressage career winds down in a year or two, which turns out is quite lucrative enterprise, involving transferring her embryos, which could mean producing more foals faster. Elitist hobby or noble sport, that means cold fast cash for her owners. Its worth noting, Gabby Douglas’s mother can’t sell off her future offspring! CHA-CHING!!
‘Whipsaw Willard’s visit to London was besmirched when the GOP candidate quickly put his foot in his mouth, right at the start of the Olympics, when he decided that Britain’s preparations for the games were “disconcerting.” Uproar immediately ensued. On the upside, that comment proved to further increase the British enthusiasm for the games, but forced Romney to backpedal. Yet again. You’d think we’d get used to it by now…
The impression Romney made on our closest ally however, is one that won’t soon be forgotten, as evidenced by how The Guardian newspaper headlined its coverage of Rafalca’s first showing: “Ann Romney’s Horse Fails to Win Dressage but Avoids Offending British.” Oh, how Presidential!
Whilst Ann Romney and Rafalca kept the Olympic fire burning, Mitt was off to the Holy Land, hitting all the holiest hotspots, in a obvious bid to woo American Jews over with his great affection for Israel. According to CNN, Jews make up about 2% of the U.S. population but about 4% of the U.S. electorate, with turnout in presidential elections estimated to be as high as 80% among eligible voters, compared with the 57% of all eligible voters in the 2008 election. Which could be quite a big deal in a close election, if he steals away a percentage of Jewish supporters of President Obama.
Thinking the London debacle is behind him, and perhaps feeling comfy speaking to a gathering of 40 wealthy Jewish-American donors, Mitt made an attempt at flattery, by saying, “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things,” factors which, he reasoned, helped explain Israel’s economic dominance over the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, also pointing out a innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult times and the “hand of providence.” He added that a similar disparity exists between other neighboring nations, including Mexico and the United States. Yet another careless comment that offended people who are allied to America, Israelis and Palestinians alike, and a back handed dig at Mexico thrown in for good measure! Mitt Romney’s complete lack of sensitivity in this area is so astonishing, one wonders if he understands the long history and nature of the area’s conflicts at all. The comment also highlights the way he has absolutely no problem with one group gaining wealth and success at the expense of another.
And Mitt’s hits keep coming! Romney’s final stop of the three-nation tour was not without controversy. In Poland, he met for two days of visits with polish leaders, and according to Associated Press, former Cold War-era Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in Gdansk. Walesa, seemingly endorsing the Presidential hopeful by saying, “I wish you to be successful because the success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe as well and to the rest of the world, too. So, Governor Romney, get your success, be successful.” However, the current leadership of Solidarity swiftly distanced itself from the meeting, and Walesa’s odd sounding endorsement, both plainly staged for the benefit of American Catholic voters. In fact, Solidarity issued a statement critical of Romney, acknowledging Romney as being hostile to unions and against labor rights, clearly stating that Solidarity had no part in organizing Romney’s visit. The statement also expressed support for American labor organizations.
Now, I know the Tea Party thugs holding the GOP hostage could care less about the way Americans appear to the world, all their lip service to ‘American exceptionalism’ notwithstanding, I mean, after all, they still go all gooey for Sarah Palin, for some inexplicable reason. Obama says ‘folks’ to an American crowd and conservatives went crazy, so how can they back Romney after he insults our allies? Will anyone really do, just as long as they aren’t Obama?
Red flags surround Mitt Romney, from his reluctance to release the tax returns everyone is curious about, his annoyance that his opponent would bring up his business and political history that he simultaneously claims to qualify him to improve the economy and perform as president, to his campaign’s belief that his prior positions on important issues during the primary are wiped clean with his nomination. Romney could not beat John McCain in arena of speech making, and realistically, I think President Obama will crush Mitt Romney in the debates to come. The man clearly is not up to communicating with actual human beings (aside from millionaires & billionaires), let alone the peoples of the world. American presidents are expected to have full the range of emotion, not just disdain for those who are not rich, and praise for those who are. Foreign policy is complicated, more complex than being willing to back up policies with armies, and just as important as cutting taxes for the ‘job creators‘. An ability to speak to the world skillfully, with dignity, without giving offense, yet commanding respect, is a quality of the most successful leaders in history. Mitt Romney has not yet displayed any of those traits. I sincerely hope the GOP pulls someone more competent out of the hat at the Republican convention.