If you thought Romney made a fool of himself in Britain, it was nothing compared to Romney tripping his way through political minefields in Israel. Politics is perception — and at this, so far, Romney has failed miserably.
Yesterday the Israeli press said it was Romney speaking, but “Netanhayu’s words”. In that speech, Romney said Jerusalem was “the capital of Israel” and a Palestinian official said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that Romney would make such an announcement in the face of ongoing and precarious peace negotiations over the future of Jerusalem, accusing him of “destroying negotiations”. Today, Romney is accused of racism by the same Palestinian official, for suggesting that the Israeli culture is more advanced than the Palestinian culture.
Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said of Romney, “What is this man doing here? Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. 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.”
Erekat is clearly unfamiliar with our current Republican Party, for equality is not something they celebrate. They pick targets and enemies and then set about attacking the group as a whole, dehumanizing and vilifying them, in order to justify their policies against said targets. It’s just another way our modern day Republicans avoid real policy debates.
What is this man doing here? Good question. Allegedly, Romney is running for leader of the free world.
Here’s what Romney said that so insulted Erekat: At his rescheduled fund-raiser today in Israel (originally scheduled yesterday during Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning and annual fast day), where he raised more than $1 million, Romney said that Israel’s economic success over Palestine was attributable to the “hand of providence”. He continued, “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.”
Romney is now in Poland, on the last leg of his Romney Shambles foreign policy tour. After being dubbed “Mitt the Twit” in Britain and publicly mocked by conservative leaders who should have been his staunchest supporters, Romney moved on to Israel where he canceled a meeting at the last minute with Netanhayu’s opposition after a meeting with the Prime Minister, leading the press to say he accepted instructions from Netanyahu.
In Israel, Romney stepped in it by criticizing President Obama in a Sheldon Adelson owned paper and then again over his aide’s comments about Romney’s policy on Iran which led Face the Nation to ask Romney if he would green-light bombing Iran. Polls show the Israeli people do not want a war with Iran. And all of that was before he claimed Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. Someone really needs to tell Romney that being President isn’t like running Bain. For starters, the President does not own all of the other countries in the world; it’s a bit more complicated than that.
In Poland, Romney is meeting with Lech Walesa, former Polish president, who refused to meet with President Barack Obama on his 2011 trip to Poland, miffed over not getting a one-on-one meeting with the President. Walesa is taking his Mittvenge now, endorsing Mitt Romney — perhaps under the illusion that he is dealing with the Reagan Republican Party instead of Mitt the Twit of the Koch Brothers party.
According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, President Obama is still popular in Poland, even though in 2009 he reversed Bush’s plan to build a missile defense shield system partly in Poland, which is the basis of Romney’s attack that Obama has abandoned Poland and the Czech Republic.
Not only did Obama announce plans in 2011 to have the F-16 fighter jets and C-130 cargo aircraft train in Poland, but contrary to what you’ll hear Romney say today and tomorrow, the President has a plan to deploy a missile defense system for all of Europe, with significant parts being based in Poland. The Slovak Minister of Foreign Affairs accused Romney of dredging up settled debates in order to score political points and said they fully embraced the new missile defense:
“People have moved on,” said Miroslav Lajcak, the minister of foreign affairs and deputy prime minister, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “We are in a different situation now. We are discussing a different project. I see no reason to revisit discussions from three years back.”
During the Bush administration some Slovakian political leaders were critical of the missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it was a bilateral, not a multilateral approach. But the Slovakian government has embraced the Obama administration’s missile defense plan, which relies on ship-based, not land-based, interceptors and is being developed under the umbrella of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In Poland, expect more war-mongering as Romney continues calling Russia our “biggest geopolitical foe”. Romney will attempt to wrap himself in the Ronald Reagan flag, no doubt posing near the bronze statue of Reagan in Gdansk’s Ronald Reagan Park and double down, retroactively, on his cold war talk.
Earlier today, Romney waded recklessly into precarious peace talks, inserting Netanyahu’s will as if they had purchased the land and it was up to Romney to divvy it up as he did with the businesses he bought — with the same careless disregard for the real life implications of his actions. Here’s a note to Romney: You don’t get to retroactively disown your words as the President.
“What is this man doing here?”
Romney is attempting to run for world leader, and apparently he thinks that position is best suited to someone with zero diplomacy skills who has signed off to be Netanyahu’s mouthpiece (aka, trying to align himself with the far right Evangelicals who still don’t trust Romney). Romney isn’t just the diplomatic gaffe machine we saw in Britain, taking a perfectly easy job and turning it into a headline filled disaster creating the meme “RomneyShambles”; rather, he’s a nightmare of a statesman, perfectly happy to set off unexploded political munitions in an effort to get a few votes.
The summation thus far is that Romney is so insecure as a politician that he is a ‘wimp’; he let’s foreign leaders tell him what to do and there’s no low too low or danger too explosive when it comes to desperate attempts to score political points. He runs around insulting people and tossing dangerous sparks onto volatile situations and then slinks back with “I watch Downton Abbey”.
America needs a strong, independent leader, not a chameleon who says whatever he thinks people most want to hear. And even on that, Romney is out of touch, seemingly unable to connect with people around him in any genuine way.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.