Romney self-destructs

Romney’s bluster is a coward’s idea of how a brave man acts: Never hesitate, never apologize. When you’re wrong, say it again, only louder.

During the primary season someone rudely described Newt Gingrich as a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like. Watching the tape of Romney’s press conference this morning, in which he doubled down on his blunder of yesterday, made me think that Romney’s bluster is a coward’s idea of how a brave man acts:  Never hesitate, never apologize. When you’re wrong, say it again, only louder.

Really, you have to watch it to believe it. Someone wrote him some truly awful lines, and he reads them badly, after which he makes a complete fool of himself in the Q&A.

Romney thinks he’s Clint Eastwood playing The Man With No Name, when he’s really only Glenn Campbell playing Ranger LaBoeuf.

And the man he’s running against knows how to assume a John Wayne gravitas.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

49 thoughts on “Romney self-destructs”

  1. To me the creepiest thing about the whole romney event was the little smile he came out with after he made even his most serious attacks and statements. Like something from a slasher movie.

    Politically, the past couple of days are magnifying a contrast that emerged during the DNC, the difference in gravitas between them. The televised parts of Charlotte were well-handled to showcase dignity.

  2. Sorry, what I really meant to point to in the second graf is that Charlotte as backdrop and recent memory has really helped make that contrast emerge more powerfully. It was very carefully thought out.

  3. The creepy smirk was appalling, but the worst part for me was when he was asked a couple of times why he needed to put out a press release, and he said, well, the White House put out a statement. Dude. Barack Obama is the President of the United States, so he has to govern. You’re only campaigning and you can STFU.

    1. I do not understand how you can say that someone mocking another person’s religion is free speech. I as an American do not agree that freedom of speech means that you have the right to attack someone because of their religion that is not American and President Obama was right to let the world know that the ignorance of a few does not represent the majority who believes that people should be able to praise whatever God they believe in and that it is NOT ok to condemn or disrespect people because their values don’t represent your own.

      1. The right to criticize a religion in an essential component of the right to free speech. What if I created a religion that stated that all persons of Swedish descent are evil and should be persecuted. Should I be immune from criticism?

        We have the right to criticize any belief that we deem ill informed, dangerous or ridiculous. The offending film was in bad taste and was clearly made just to incite violence. However, if we do not defend the right of the film maker to make the film, then we reduce our liberty.

        Furthermore, although the filmmaker provoked the violence, it is important to point out that those who use violence in response to an exercise of speech are the ones in the wrong and should be condemned. These religion fundamentalists cannot hold the rest of the world hostage every time an idiot somewhere insults their religion.

      2. We must distinguish between what we are legally ALLOWED to do, versus what is wise, good or useful to do.

        Too many people, of all political stripes, seem to confuse these two things.

        Example: I have a RIGHT to eat all day and avoid exercise forever; I have a legal RIGHT to needlessly insult the kindly old lady next door, or the angry, brooding kickboxing champion down the street. But these are not good choices.

        As Americans, we need to support the Constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech. If we’re sane and intelligent, we’ll also practice and insist upon personal responsibility in exercising that right.

        The “filmmaker” in this case has proven himself to be a bully, idiot, scammer and coward — even before he was identified and shown to have already been a convicted felon.

        1. I agree. A Russian friend of mine said, “What kind of idiot smokes hornets out of their nest?” Well, apparently an idiot who is not standing next to the nest. He is safe in the US, while those who are doing the real work of diplomacy and outreach are stung.

          Does this act of recklessness justify the riots? Of course not. Violence is rarely justified. To insert a blunt instrument of insult into a volatile situation so that others pay the price is not free speech–it is sabotage.

  4. He called it an embassy three times, but it’s a consulate. That’s not as bad as his smirk (I wonder now if he’s a true sociopath), but I think he just sank his campaign.

  5. Romney is done. I’m wondering if there’s not a part of him that hates the insanity of his party, the impossibility of being what teh crazies demand, and going all out in a kind of “f**k you” kamikaze flameout. He’s a smart guy, yeah really wants to be the boss but unless he’s been virused I haveta wonder. Or, perhaps more rationally, he’s just the blinkered plutocrat his history predicts, so fantastically gated existentially as to be functionally stupid.

  6. Hey, he’s on the same page with Palin and Gingrich. Can’t get any more presidential than that, until Ted Nugent or Charles Manson chimes in too.

  7. Who knew Romney was such a rabid defender of the First Amendment? He must clearly stand with all of us Americans who believe that people of the Muslim faith have a right to build a mosque within a three- or four-block radius of Ground Zero if they should so choose. Always glad to have another defender of the Bill of Rights on board. Even if his syntax sometimes bordered on the Palinesque (and I don’t mean Michael).

  8. I liked his, “…resolve in our might.” Yes by all means the appropriate response here is to nuke Libya. Mitt knows how to show those sand monkeys who’s in charge.
    Resolve in our might is like a carpenter having resolve in his tools. Typical corporate exec babble. Always gets a good response from the yes men on the board, his chauffer and his wife.
    And yes that sneaky little self satisfied smile and a quick glance to see how the room is reacting. He does that all the time when it makes no sense to what he is saying. It’s like a bad poker player’s tell. Every time Mitt lies or says a bad out pops the smile like a jack in the box.

    1. Seriously, who is the real racist/bigot…look at what you said!!!! “Mitt knows how to show those sand monkeys who’s in charge.”
      U r trying to lambaste Romney, while showing how racist and intolerant the left really is I love it, you can’t even keep your tendencies hidden when criticizing the GOP nominee…typical HAHAHAHA

      1. Oh, FFS. It’s called sarcasm. Do you really need an alert? Are you able to put things in context, or have you watched so many Romney ads you’ve forgotten we don’t edit sentences that relate to each other?

        It’s the Palinization of America, folks. Sparklepony Quitterpants left her mark on the republican party in a big way. And now they all think like this. Gawd.

        1. “Sparklepony Quitterpants”? OMG. I stand (well, sit) in the presence of marketing genius. If you haven’t already trademarked that phrase, I just might.

      2. Are you serious!?!?! How obtuse can you be to read that and not catch the sarcasm. What a dolt. You’re an idiot. There is that direct enough. For you…moron

  9. 1. Mitt Romney: “I am considerably diminished.”

    2. Anyway, it probably would have been better if organs of the US government were less quick to condemn this film that they had nothing to do with (I know that public diplomacy is about making it clear that you can do business with people, even at the expense of dumbing it down), but it does seem overwrought to make it all the responsibility of Barack Obama and it also is over the top to identify these condemnations as an attack on freedom of speech etc.

    It is true that there were not enough stupid people impressed by repeating the words “fundamentally” and “transformative” to let Gingrich win the GOP nomination for President, but there may be enough people who value bluster over gravitas that this does not matter in the way you may think that it does.

  11. Showcasing such extreme misjudgment will scare almost everybody. Even Romney supporters will be thinking, “Do I know ANYBODY who’d have shown such unhinged judgment at a time of national security emergency?” And they’ll answer answer,, “No. Every adult that I associate with would have known better.”

    1. The only people supporting Romney think his lies are all cover for what a smart man he really is and know in their hearts that such a smart man will of course do everything just the way they want because being smart he agrees with them and is just trying to fool all those dumb people he needs to vote for him. It doesn’t occur to them that maybe they are the dumb people he is trying to fool. It’s always the mark that cons himself.

      1. Nah. There are a lot of people supporting Romney because he’s white and a republican (but I repeat myself). What he says doesn’t really enter into it.

        1. Yes, exactly. The Not An Uppity Kenyan candidate. Or the Anyone But A Democrat candidate. That’s about 40%, +- depending on turnout.

          1. Sad to agree with you. Sadder yet, for me, since I reached the “golden years” I find myself associating with far too many of the “ABAD candidate” you so aptly named. I just hope the 40% figure isn’t too low when you add the two groups together. Though of course it’s possible that there aren’t many in your first group who don’t also inhabit the second – the ones I know all seem to belong to both.

  12. Romney has this icky “tell”. He smacks his tongue/lips against his teeth at the end of a statement – “tsk” or “chk”. I have some thoughts on what it betrays, but am interested in others’ ideas.

    The whole thing shows the same weird combo of diffidence and unthinking self-confidence that the twit Palin had. At times you could see the fear in her eyes when she *knew* at some level she was WAAAAAAYYY out of her depth, yet was compelled to go on by long habits of having dominated and outdone others by sheer arrogance and nerve, having frightened off all normal folks who might have otherwise raised objections.

  13. These guys at the consulate sent out this statement when they were attacked, trying to calm the situation. I’m sure their relatives appreciates candidate Romney’s denigration of their last attempt to negotiate a way to get out of there alive.

    1. Agreed with the general point, but the ones who sent out the statement weren’t the ones who were killed, were they? The statement came from the Egyptian embassy, the deaths were in the Libyan consulate, unless I’m confused.

  14. From a thousand miles away I can smell the flop sweat emanating from the Romney campaign staff.

  15. Am I to be encouraged or amused by the faith expressed here in the proposition that Americans will reject overcompensatingly macho blather in favor of coolheaded, intelligent confidence?

    Have y’all never heard of a fellow named George Dubya Bush, from Connecticut, er, I mean Texas? Won himself a bunch of elections.

    1. “Won himself a bunch of elections”????

      Then why did he need five wardheelers in black robes to anoint him?

  16. I feel sick after watching this….I just hope Romney doesn’t win….I see him dropping the bomb & then saying opps…..

  17. I want to know how long elections have been this bad. I am being completely serious. I grew up watching Bill Clinton run circles around relatively upright and serious people such as Bob Dole and Bush Sr. In my opinion, things have really gone to sh*t around here. I don’t want to inflame all of you by saying something negative about Barack, so let me say in advance that I absolutely will vote for him if alive and capable on election day, and will probably volunteer for his campaign. That being said, every speech he gives is exactly the same. He struggles to affect the folksy Southern-ish accent that is so obviously indispensable in American politics, and I think he fails. And the words themselves, platitude after platitude with a refreshing dash of professionally written humor here and there. Honestly its kind of boring. Mittens has basically become so much of a caricature of a politician its hard to know whether to laugh or cry. He might as well be a politician out of the Simpsons, South Park or Futurama, the sh*t that comes out of his mouth is just unbelievable. I grow weary of my fellow Americans and the loyal opposition, and I am still quite young.

    1. No, my young friend, elections weren’t always so bad. Back in the day, there were intelligent, principled conservatives in the GOP — dozens of’em, I swear. Candidates of both parties would usually call for — and demonstrate — unity during a national security crisis. Senators and Representatives would let the President deliver a State of the Union address without denouncing him as a liar and traitor or otherwise heckle like they were at a stag party or college football game.

      I would tell you, as well, that people once sat quietly and actually watched the film in a movie theatre without yakking and playing with electronics gear; and that most journalists actually sought to discovery and publish the truth, rather than do “He said”/”She said” equivocation, or tailor their stories to reflect their current corporate brand strategy. I’d tell you that, but I’ve probably already strained credulity with the first bit about the politicians.

  18. STFU, MITT! Nobody believes that you give a crap about the people who died, you soulless, opportunistic jerk! You are the scum of the earth and you are a loser. You should be ashamed of yourself. Everyone knows you don’t even give a crap about the people who died! You’re just taking every opportunity to defame President Obama. You are a spineless twit! Why not just drop out? You’ve already lost the election!

    Just go to Hell, you scum sucking slime bag!

    1. Ouch. My personal view of Romney is that he is about as normal a guy as you can be while also being a mega-capitalist Mormon. I don’t think he believes a word of what he says except maybe for those things which could conceivably be influenced by religion (gay marriage, abortion). A good test of his actual beliefs might be to see what he did as the moderate governor of MA. As Professor Kleiman pointed out half a year ago, Mittens is much more convincing playing a moderate technocrat, his Palin act is harder to buy than a 50 dollar stick of gum, or a facebook share at $42. Oh wait a ton of people bought those. Uh oh.

  19. I hope someone also exposes who those rich idiots were at that dinner. The paparazzi should hound them, too.

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