A Bad Day on the Romney Campaign. Sounds like a headline, but no, this is a tell all book written by Gabriel Schoenfeld, who describes himself as a “senior adviser” to the Romney campaign, set to be released next Tuesday.
“The book illuminates the chain of errors that ultimately contributed to Romney’s defeat,” reads an Amazon summary of the 66-page e-book published by Penguin.
The “chain of errors” includes Romney’s Benghazi response to his “mistake-riddled European tour”.
“Schoenfeld highlights Romney’s ¬response to the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi,” according to the Boston Globe, which quoted a press release for Schoenfeld’s book.
“The Romney campaign’s response to the Middle East crisis left Romney and his team looking ill-informed and opportunistic,” reads a press release on the book.
Schoenfeld also outlines several other foreign policy problems, according to the press ¬release. Those include “poor vetting” of Richard Grenell, a foreign policy spokesman who later resigned; Romney’s failure to mention the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the troops, during his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention; and what Schoenfeld calls “a mistake-riddled European tour.”
The Amazon description continues, saying Schoenfeld “doesn’t shrink from pointing fingers and naming names” and blaming Romney’s loss on a chain of errors, “Why did Romney lose? The book illuminates the chain of errors that ultimately contributed to Romney’s defeat. Schoenfeld’s original concept–zeroing in on a single gaffe on a single day, examining its genesis and its profound ripple effects–makes for a uniquely fascinating contribution to our understanding of American politics and the challenges facing a Republican party that has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential races.”
Given Shoenfeld’s objective “to launch a far-reaching debate about how we choose America’s leader,” I have to take issue with the “a single gaffe on a single day” premise. Au contraire. Romney’s Benghazi response was more than a gaffe, and the epic failure of his European tour revealed more than a crappy foreign policy — it revealed a candidate as unready for the diplomatic requirements of the office as Sarah Palin was for the lower office of VP.
That’s not just my opinion, but also the opinion expressed at the time by the British press, who also likened him to Dubya (not a compliment). Palin had charm to save her from her lack of knowledge. Romney had neither. Here’s a quick refresher of what became known as “Romney Shambles” (aka, his foreign policy tour):
Daily Mail Political Editor James Chapman has been providing the world a play by play of Romney’s British implosion via his Twitter account. Romney started things off by criticizing London’s preparedness for the Olympics. He then forgot the name of British Labour Leader Ed Miliband, and then he admitted that he had been given a secret briefing by MI6. This led the British to ask aloud if they have another George W. Bush on their hands, “Romney blunders again by revealing he’s had (supposedly) top secret briefing by John Sawers, MI6 boss. Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?”
After his visit to Whitehall, Chapman offered two of the kinder reviews of Mitt Romney, “Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. ‘Worse than Sarah Palin.’ ‘Total car crash’. Two of the kinder verdicts.” Chapman also reported another verdict from British meet and greet with Mitt, “Another verdict from one Romney meeting: ‘Apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity'”
London Mayor Boris Johnson mocked Romney in front of 60,000 people during that tour. Putin blamed Romney’s “number one geopolitical foe” gaffe for his opposition to our missile defense plans.
Things were so bad that a Pew poll showed that Romney had replaced Sarah Palin as America’s most hated national political figure.
Romney’s Benghazi response was bad enough (as a bonus to the glaring opportunism he displayed, Mitt Romney got the Capital of Libya wrong three times in his speech) and his smug smile as he left the podium was actually disturbing. But he followed up that opportunistic bit of sickness with a poor showing in a debate, when he attempted to use Benghazi to hang the President — only to be called out as being wrong by the moderator.
Here’s a round up of the press reaction to Romney’s Libya fail (#RomneyExposed), that resulted in the “please proceed, Governor” meme:
Taegan Goddard @politicalwire That exchange on Libya was Romney’s Gerald Ford moment. He was lost and not presidential at all.
Chuck Todd @chucktodd Team Romney is going to wish they had that Libya moment back.
daveweigel @daveweigel How the hell does Romney lose a round on Libya? And lose that badly?
The Washington Post @washingtonpost Moderator corrects Romney. Day after attack, Obama did call #Libya an act of terror.
Jon Ralston @RalstonReports Romney looks deflated, realizing what just happened on Libya, as he rotely answers gun question.
Blake Hounshell @blakehounshell Hey Zeus that Romney meltdown on Libya was amazing.
Don Lemon @DonLemonCNN That was actually brilliant. Maybe the line of the night.#PleaseProcedeGovernor #Debate2012 #CNNDebate #CNN
This was no singular gaffe or the result of a bad foreign policy. This was a profound and distressing lack of knowledge combined with stunningly craven opportunism, packaged in the smug, self-righteous manner usually seen on people too ignorant to know better.
Romney didn’t fare much better on domestic issues. His economic speech was panned as “negative” and focused mostly on President Obama, while not including any actual economic news, let alone economic policy. He lost women with his Planned Parenthood attacks. He lost union workers and middle class Ohioans with his misleading Jeep ads. But then, there was also the bombshell secret 47% tape.
Not a gaffe or a singular event; more like an overarching narrative established by the words and actions of a man who was not ready to be President. Romney didn’t look ill-informed and opportunistic. He was ill-informed and opportunistic.
Ms. Jones is the 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.