The Romney Clown Show Continues Apace

In the last three days, Mitt Romney and his campaign have:

1)   At best lied about and at worst divulged confidential conversations with the Australian foreign minister;

2)   Been unable to distinguish “Russia” from “the Soviet Union”;

3)   Used crude racial/ethnic stereotyping that even the Torygraph thinks is over-the-top; and now

4)   Insulted Great Britain and elicited a miffed push-back from the British Prime Minister.

And this doesn’t even include his vague and vapid bluster about Iran and China.  And note, none of this can simply be ascribed to misspeaking.  As Dave Weigel notes in Slate, for example, Romney’s position on Russia really does see it as the Soviet Union.

If anything, Fareed Zakaria is too kind when he refers to Romney’s foreign policy as “strangely amateurish.”  It isn’t strange: it is the actual flowering of a Republican Party ideology that thinks being a bull-in-the-china-shop exudes “strength.”  Dick Cheney seems like a wise man in comparison.  I suppose that’s what one should expect of a man who writes a book called No Apologiesand then changes it in the paperback edition in order to suck up to the Tea Party.

Romney just isn’t ready for prime-time: how much more trouble will he get the country into if he is elected President?

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

17 thoughts on “The Romney Clown Show Continues Apace”

  1. You know, I laughed at Cameron’s “middle of nowhere” retort, but then, I live in LA, not Utah. There seems to be enough diplomatic clumsiness to go around. Must be part of that Anglo-Saxon heritage thing. (Yes, yes, I know Cameron’s got to be at least part Celt.)

    1. I am pretty sure that Cameron wasn’t clumsy but that this was fully intended as a verbal backhand. (Utah, after all, does not elect any MPs for the House of Commons.)

      He can be very diplomatic if need be (see his response to bin Laden’s death). But right now, it appears that he is more concerned about not losing face and very little about not hurting Mitt Romney’s feelings.

  2. I have this notion that there are about half a million people in this country who are qualified to be President, irrespective of their political beliefs or the people to whom they would owe favors. Bear with this notion for a moment.

    Around January of this year, I was confident that Mitt Romney was one of them: smart, hardworking, successful. Well, I haven’t changed my opinion on these personal qualities of Mitt Romney, but I can’t view him as one of the half-million any more. He is astonishingly devoid of empathy or curiosity. He also seems to be unrealistic, although I can’t tell if this is Romney’s fault, or the kind of external constraint that would be placed on any Republican who seeks the nomination.

    Although my criteria are inclusive, so few Republicans seem to fit it: maybe only Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, and Chris Christie. Sheesh, it shouldn’t be hard to belong to a group of a half a million!

    1. George W. Bush’s little brother, Kenneth-the-Page, and Chris Christie, Political Hack?

      That is the GOP’s A-list?

      1. The biggest problem the Repubs have is not their candidates but what the candidates believe (maybe rightly, maybe wrongly) is necessary to satisfy the Base. If the GOP had a moderate wing with any kind of clout, Christie and Romney could be moderates, and probably damn fine ones. Jindal, on the other hand, would still be a Christianist yahoo.

        1. If they still had a moderate wing with any clout, Lincoln Chafee would still be a Republican, and a potential presidential candidate a few years down the road.

          On the other hand, Lincoln Chafee running for president under these circumstances isn’t something that would fill me with dread, either.

          1. He’d be running against Obama from the left – now that would be an election! (Alternatively, as long as we’re dreaming, if the Repubs were closer to the center, the Dems would be farther left than they are, and we could choose between two competing visions for a decent social democracy, rather than between barebones social democracy and plutocracy.)

  3. Jonathan, I think your reference to his being not ready for prime time should be taken literally. His diplomatic role model is John Belushi’s samurai.

  4. Having grown up in Britain (and still having numerous relatives there) I have to say that I have never met any English person who would describe him/herself as Anglo-Saxon with a straight face – excluding the very occasional far-right racist using Anglo-Saxon as a synonym for white. I can only imagine that everyone from Cameron down is mystified by Romney’s sudden injection of the term into the “special” relationship.

    1. No, he’ll just congratulate Prime Minister Donald Trump on the nice little country he’s got there.

  5. The website should be called the “Alternate-reality based community,” if the central attack on Romney is having spoken the truth about concerns regarding Olympic security preparations. Compare that with Obama’s attacks from abroad on a sitting president when he was a candidate four years ago, his rebuff of the Brits by returning the Churchill bust, giving the Queen a DVD not usable on UK tvs and an Ipod with First Family Pictures, combined with a denial of any special relationship between us and the Brits. Snarky repeating of leftist Brits press attacks are not to be taken seriously. How about a sober debate on which candidate is more likely to stop Iran from getting nukes?

    1. Oh, the Olympic preparations have definitely been a fair bit of a mess. I don’t think you’ll find much disagreement here.

      But the issue is Romney’s handling of the situation, which has been a bit — let’s call it “undiplomatic” — on a trip where he wanted to showcase his diplomatic skills. Like it or not, diplomacy is still very much the art of lying politely. Plus, that was hardly the only gaffe.

      That said, I could do with less posts about Mitt Romney myself. Neither his person nor political gossip interest me all that much. Especially as I don’t think this episode will have any effect on the election, one way or another. Gaffes are largely newscycle fodder, not issues that decide an election.

      1. All valid points. Getting a bit tired of the self-righteous personal attacks on both sides over trivial issues.

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