I’ll admit I haven’t followed every second of Mitt Romney’s overseas swing through the UK, Israel and Poland. I paid attention to the highlights, though, and it would appear that by the standards which count he did pretty damned well.
Endorsement from his old friend Bibi Netanyahu?
This speech given in Israel?
Check. Particularly as he made a fool out of Jay Carney by having no trouble calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and the fact that he was able to articulate that Israel’s enemies are the same people as our enemies.
A million-dollar fundraiser in Israel? Check.
Then to Poland, where he picked up an endorsement from no less a superstar than Lech Walesa?
This speech in Poland?
That’s a hell of a lot more accomplishment on a foreign trip than Obama has had in four years as the actual president of the country.
But the Obama campaign, predictably, is saying Romney’s trip is an “embarrassing disaster,” a quote issued by one of the foremost practitioners of embarrassing disasters of our time – former press secretary Robert Gibbs. And the lefty media is, predictably, chiming in.
Because of ginned-up media “controversies” all along the way.
First there was a quote attributed to an anonymous Romney aide saying essentially that the candidate values the Anglo-Saxon sphere to which the U.S. and Great Britain belong more than Obama does. The Romney campaign denied any truth to the report. But they probably should have embraced it, since Obama’s relationship with the British has been a consistent pattern of slights, insults and missteps. And as Daniel Hannan remarked, it’s not racist or exclusionary in any sense to speak of the heritage our two countries share with Australia, Canada and New Zealand…
When a Romney aide told this newspaper that the US and Britain shared an ‘Anglo-Saxon heritage’, he or she was stating the obvious. Those Lefties pretending to be upset – the Obama campaigncalled the remark ‘stunningly offensive’ – know perfectly well that the reference was cultural rather than racial. When the French talk of ‘les anglo-saxons’ or the Spanish of ‘los anglosajones’, they don’t mean Cerdic and Oswine and Æthelstan. They mean people who speak English and believe in small government.
It hardly needs saying that the United States is not genetically Anglo-Saxon. Nor is the United Kingdom: it’s full of people with non-Saxon surnames such as Hannan. And nor, for that matter, is England. Recent DNA tests have confirmed what place-name studies have been insisting with increasing stridency for the past century, namely that the English are descended as much from the pre-fifth century population as from the settlers who came after the departure of Rome’s legions. The notion of mass population displacement comes largely from one later and tendentious source: Gildas’s De Excidio Brittonum. It’s odd, in retrospect, that historians ever took it seriously.
Most people recognize this. Obama never really has. Romney’s campaign probably shouldn’t have walked back the staffer’s remark even if no staffer actually made it – it’s true that we share a culture with the Brits which has served both our countries well. And Obama doesn’t particularly appreciate that culture.
Then there was the Olympic “gaffe.”
Asked by NBC’s Brian Williams what he thought of London’s preparedness for the Games, Romney noted a couple of highly-publicized reports in the British press regarding security concerns and called them “disconcerting.” Which of course was 100 percent true – when the head of the firm contracted to provide security for the event has only half the staff he’s required to have for the event and calls the affair a “humiliating shambles,” it’s a sign that perhaps security isn’t what it ought to be.
After the British prime minister and the mayor of London responded by squealing like stuck pigs, Romney then said after having been in London for a couple of days he thought they were ready. He was perhaps too polite – after all, who the heck is this?
The London Olympics organisers have apologised to the Indian contingent for the opening ceremony incident which saw a Bangalore-based woman parading with the country’s athletes.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) said the woman, identified as Madhura Nagendra of Bangalore, was a cast member of the Danny Boyle-directed ceremony and got access to with a valid accreditation.
“We extend a sincere apology for the unfortunate incident that occurred during the opening ceremony,”James Macleod, LOCOG head of communications, wrote in response to the letter sent by India’s acting Chef de Mission P.K. Muralidharan Raja.
“A lady joined the India delegation during their entry into the stadium and we have taken this matter very seriously. The athlete’s parade is a huge privilege for those who march and, therefore, it was regretful that this incident occurred,” Macleod said in the reply.
This is what you would call a security failure. That woman could well have had a bomb vest on under her jacket and a major catastrophe could have happened.
Do we need to lay this scene out? India happens to be a country with nuclear missiles pointed at it by a highly-unstable Islamic neighbor. India also happens to be a fairly frequent victim of jihadist terrorism based out of Pakistan. And guess what? London is crawling with Pakistanis, many of whom are jihadis. Is it so hard to see that picture and realize what a disaster this could have been?
And is it so difficult to recognize that Romney’s characterization of the security situation for the London Games is “disconcerting?”
In Israel, Romney’s being accused of another “gaffe” – namely, that at the King David Hotel fundraiser he cited the superiority of Israeli culture to that of the Palestinians as a major reason for the fact Israel is a lot richer than the Palestinians are.
To which Saeb Erekat, the number two man at the Palestinian Authority which runs the West Bank, said “Isn’t this racism? Israelis and Palestinians have a conflict, but they are people, they are equal, it is not a better culture or advanced culture.”
Equal? Really? This goes on in Israel?
The Israelis are training their children to be classical musicians, doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, scientists and philosophers. The Palestinians are training theirs to be suicide bombers. Israel publishes more books in Arabic than the entire Arab world does. Israelis are world leaders in many of the endeavors you’d note to measure societal success despite having rockets thrown their way on a daily basis; in Palestine they do a great job stealing UN aid.
But it’s racist to say that Israel’s culture is superior to that of the Palestinians. Just like it’s racist to say that mainstream American culture is superior to the subculture of the inner-city hip-hop crowd.
It’s worth noting that South Korean culture is better than North Korean culture, and there’s no racial component to that. Or that while mainstream American culture is better than hip-hop culture it’s also superior to the crystal meth/white trash culture as well, and that’s not a particularly racially-charged comparison either.
Romney’s explanation of his statement upon returning to the States put this in the proper perspective…
“I’m not speaking about, did not speak about, the Palestinian culture, or the decisions made in their economy,” Romney clarified in an interview with Fox News. “That’s an interesting topic that deserves scholarly analysis, but I actually didn’t address that. I certainly don’t plan to address that during my campaign. Instead, I will point out, the choices a society makes have a profound impact on the economy and the vitality of that society.”
But it’s a “gaffe” because he pissed off a bunch of Palestinians?
Shouldn’t it be a qualification for the White House that you’re willing to disparage a bunch of people who have elected a bunch of corruptocrats in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza? Why is it necessary to temper praise for our allies for fear of upsetting people who hate us?
Screw the Palestinians. When their culture isn’t clearly inferior to that of the Israelis, we can care what they think. But here’s something to chew on – when that cultural shift occurs, which won’t be soon, there will no longer be any reason for us to worry about brokering some elusive peace between Israel and Palestine because the Palestinians would actually want peace rather than massacring every Jew within range.
And finally, this is considered a gaffe…
We’ll let Ace handle this one…
I liked @iowahawkblog’s deadpan: “If there’s anything the American public won’t abide, it’s someone who insults screaming reporters and Palestinians.”
The press is claiming they were forced to whine out their inadequacies at the Tomb due to Romney having no press availabilities; in fact, he’s been available for a hundred questions on the tour.
Dana Loesch compares the media’s hair-on-fire reaction to Neil Munro’s shouted question at Obama in the Rose Garden — remember, he asked a question about Obama’s new illegal immigration policy (double meaning intended) — with its current claim that of course the media can whine and scream at a tomb for an unknown soldier.
Sometimes I appreciate the actual, by-the-letter definition of common words, and enjoy how fitting they are.
Just so. The irony of the media who pilloried Munro for his impertinent questions of the president being horrified at Romney’s staffers telling reporters to shut up at a solemn occasion is thick as molasses, is it not?
The impression Obama’s stenographers would have you take away from the trip is that it was gaffe-prone and unpresidential. Look at those two speeches in Jerusalem and Warsaw – do those appear unpresidential to you? Do endorsements from Walesa and Netanyahu appear unpresidential to you? Does telling the truth about the deficient and dangerous security at the London Olympics and the superiority of Israeli culture to that of a bunch of morally degenerate barbarians appear unpresidential to you?
It doesn’t to me. It appears that Romney, whose reputation has been that of a guy who’d say anything to get elected, was willing to call a spade a spade.
If that’s unpresidential, then it says a lot more about the expectations of the job than the candidate. But that isn’t the issue here; the issue is the ridiculously poor quality of what passes for “objective” journalism within the mainstream media. And while that’s not news, it is nevertheless worth noticing it as such.