Monday, July 30, 2012
London Gaffes Hurt Romney
Great Britain was first, and should have been the easiest of all -- since they have a conservative government and there is no language problem. But it turned out to be a disaster, with Romney making gaffe after gaffe -- until he finally turned the British press, the British public, and the conservative government against him. This has to call into question Romney's competence. If Romney can't even get along with our most reliable friend, how is he going to be able to deal with other countries (whose relationship with the United States is much more complicated, or even downright unfriendly)?
In the end, Romney couldn't get out of Great Britain fast enough, especially after Michelle Obama showed up and instantly won the hearts of the British public -- which just magnified Romney's gaffes. His campaign now has to hope that he performs better in Israel and Poland, and can salvage a little of his pride. But he has been hurt politically, even if he does well in those two countries. Looking like a buffoon is never a good way to get votes.
The website called The Week believes Romney has hurt himself in five ways with his visit to Great Britain. Here is their list of those five ways:
1. Romney is giving Obama ammunition to highlight his lack of foreign experience
The purpose of Romney's "first diplomatic outing" was to show that he could handle himself on the world stage, say Nicholas Watt, Hélène Mulholland, and Owen Gibson in Britain's Guardian. By insulting his hosts on the eve of the Olympics, Romney "handed Barack Obama a potential gift." And Democrats wasted no time exploiting it, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying that it's embarrassing for the U.S. "to have somebody that's nominated by one of the principal parties to go over and insult everybody."
2. Romney made allies mad at him
"There is a fantastic, hilarious, thigh-slapping irony" in the fact that Romney's trip was supposed to reaffirm America's traditional friendship with stalwart allies, says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast, and it has "turned into a riotously public demonstration of the complete opposite." Instead of a "meeting of conservative minds between Cameron and Romney," the two traded insults. Romney, promising to return a bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office, wanted to show he'd be a better friend to Britain than Obama is. Instead, he wound up getting London'sconservative mayor, Boris Johnson, "sneering at 'a guy called Mitt Romney' at an Olympics rally," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "Good lord."
3. The blunders call attention to anti-British things Romney said in the past
This isn't the first time that Romney has "said some not-so-flattering things about the Sceptered Isle," says Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy. In his book, No Apology, Romney wrote that "England [sic] is just a small island. Its roads and houses are small. With few exceptions, it doesn't make things that people in the rest of the world want to buy."
4. This blunts GOP complaints that Obama apologizes too much abroad
Conservatives love to slam Obama for what they call his "constant apologizing" to world leaders, says Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly. Well, in the first 24 hours of a supposedly low-profile goodwill tour, Romney has spent a disproportionate amount of time doing damage control. Who's the apologizer-in-chief, now?
5. Romney's overseas debut looks terrible compared to Obama's '08 tour
Every foreign trip is "fraught with danger" for a prospective president, says Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post. The world of diplomacy is booby-trapped, and one ill-chosen word can leave you "diminished on the world stage," as Romney is learning. Obama faced the same danger in 2008 when, as a first-term senator aiming for the White House, he managed "perfect pitch" when speaking to the press and foreign leaders in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Jordan, Israel, France, Britain, and Germany, where he made "an astounding speech before 200,000 in Berlin." So far, Romney is falling well short, but he "still has visits to Israel and Poland to get it right."