The Denver fallout continues for Mitt Romney. Sunday, the AP said that Mitt Romney might need a crash course in diplomacy 101 if he gets elected.
During the first presidential debate, Romney attempted to conflate Spain with Obama in order to smear the President with failure no matter how unrelated. The irony of this is that not only did he irritate Spain (a Romney specialty, it seems), but also he got it wrong.
In fact, Spain’s problems come precisely from the kind of “leadership” we would expect under Romney; the kind of leadership America had under Bush that led to the great recession.
Spain is none-too-pleased. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria called out Romney’s “ignorance” of reality (are we cringing yet?), “What I see is ignorance of what is reality, but especially of the potential of the Spanish economy.”
Additional Spanish leaders piled on, managing to demonstrate more diplomacy than Mitt Romney has shown in this entire campaign:
Maria Dolores Cospedal, leader of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s Popular Party, noted that “Spain is not on fire from all sides like some on the outside have suggested.” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo called it “very unfortunate that other countries should be put up as examples” when the facts are skewed.
“Skewed facts” and Romney seem to go together these days. The AP wrote, “If Mitt Romney becomes president, he might need a crash course in Diplomacy 101.”
During the Denver debate, Romney argued that government spending was the root of Spain’s problems, and fear-mongered that because of this faulty premise, America would face the same path under Obama (again ignoring that Republicans drove Clinton’s surplus into a record deficit and told us deficits don’t matter as they did it). Romney said, “I don’t want to go down the path of Spain. I want to go down the path of growth that puts Americans to work.”
Spain’s level of government spending is low compared to the rest of Europe. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “Spain ran budget surpluses in the years from 2005-2007. Its debt to GDP ratio fell from 50.3 percent in 2000 to 26.5 percent of GDP in 2007. There is no remotely plausibly story of government profligacy here.”
What did cause the problems? The same thing that happened here in America – the greed of the private sector bankers fueling a housing bubble, and now those same bankers refuse to loan money thereby killing the credit that spurs the economy.
Center for Economic and Policy Research reported on the ideologically driven misunderstanding of the crisis in Spain being used by the American Right wing to justify cutting social spending when it is actually not related to social spending (emphasis mine):
In short, people who describe the euro zone crisis as a story of excessive government deficits are pushing an ideological agenda that has nothing to do with reality. The story of the current deficits of the non-Greece countries is the story of the collapse of housing bubbles that threw the euro zone economies into a severe downturn. The European Central Bank (ECB) has magnified the problem by maintaining relatively tight monetary policy in order to maintain very low inflation and also explicitly asserting that it would not act as a lender of last resort to the heavily indebted countries.
Blaming government profligacy may be useful to those who want to see cuts in social spending, but it is not a story that is based in reality. It conceals the incompetence/greed of the private sector bankers who fueled the bubble. It also ignores the recklessness of the ECB of clinging to its inflation obsession even in the midst of a crisis that threatens the survival of the euro and could cause millions of additional workers to lose their job.
If Romney wants to put Americans to work then why is Romney advocating for the same policies that threaten to put millions of additional workers out of a job in Spain?
Romney’s showing at the debate “put Europe on edge”. Embarrassingly for the U.S., the Romney international affairs circus is just getting warmed up. Monday, Romney makes a foreign policy speech, in which no doubt he will attempt to paint himself as Reagan and tell Obama to tear down some wall. I have ten thousand on Romney managing to insult an ally or give yet another nation an excuse to refuse to cooperate with the US as he did with Russia.
So far, Romney has managed to insult, offend and/or deeply concern Australia, Russia, Palestine, Britain, and Spain. All of Europe is on “edge” with Romney, including the center-right and conservative governments. Romney was accused of putting our national security at risk during his summer of foreign affairs woes. The British suggested that Romney take diplomacy lessons from Michelle Obama during his gaffe ridden visit, and now the AP is suggesting that he might need lessons in diplomacy. The AP.
When the AP is calling out a Republican neo-con corporatist, things might be worse than they appear. I don’t recall the main stream press warning us about Bush’s lack of diplomacy, and we all know how he governed. I daresay it’s not just Europe that’s on edge over the possibility of a Romney presidency.
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.