“Kiss my ass!” This statement polished off what might have been the most disastrous tour for a U.S. presidential wannabe. Mitt Romney’s week through the U.K., Israel, and Poland began with one of his campaign persons, still not clearly identified, stating the President Obama doesn’t belong to the Anglo-Saxon culture. Rick Gorka finished the catastrophe with the above expletive as well as the directive “Shove it” to the press after they pressed for information. Gorka later apologized.
Romney personally made a large number of gaffes, starting out with criticizing the organization of the Olympics during an interview with Brian Williams. This insensitivity brought derisive comments from both Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the latter when he spoke to a crowd of thousands. One UK journalist said that Romney had brought the Brits together in support of the Olympics. Romney later backed down on his criticism of the current Olympics.
Then Romney called the Ed Milliband, head of the Labour Party, “Mr. Leader” indicating that he had possibly forgotten the man’s name. After Romney met the head of M16, the international arm of the British secret service, he talked about their get-together. The M16, much like the CIA, is highly secret; the chief’s scheduling is almost never revealed. Romney even referred to the “back side” of 10 Downing Street which is a term in England for the lower rear part of the human torso.
During a speech in Israel, Romney praised the country’s health care system, a government-controlled universal health care plan. Wanting to pander to the Israelis, he went back to the culture discussion, stating that the Jewish people were more economically successful than the Palestinians because of their “culture” and because the Jews have “the hand of providence.” Evidently Romney thinks that God likes the Jews more than the Palestinians. Still not taking the foot out of his mouth, he explained that Mexico lacks the same superior culture and hand of providence that the United States does.
Romney first said he didn’t say anything about Palestinian culture and later tried to defend himself by saying that his remarks were taken out of context. (Apparently, it’s okay when he takes the president’s statements out of context, but that no one should do this to him.) You can check out the “context” for yourself.
In Israel, Romney’s campaign also organized a $50,000 a plate fundraiser—on a Jewish day of fasting to mourn the Jewish tragedies. Romney’s campaign said they were aware that they had scheduled a fundraiser with food in Israel on a day of fasting, but they thought that people wouldn’t be so upset. They later dropped the price to $10,000
Today in Poland, Romney praised Poland’s economy when he said, “A march toward economic liberty and smaller government has meant a march toward higher living standards, a strong military that defends liberty at home and abroad, and an important and growing role on the international stage.” This follows his criticism of Europe as a “social welfare state.” Hint to Mr. Romney: Poland is in Europe.
In addition, ABC Fact Check pointed out that the Polish government gives women $300 for each baby they have, doubling that sum for poor families; fully funds state university educations; and guarantees health care to all its 38 million citizens. Some of its economic growth comes from subsidies flowing from the European Union since Poland joined the bloc in 2004. Total government expenditure as a percentage of GDP was about 44 percent in Poland last year compared to 41 percent in the United States. And they don’t pay over half their taxes for defense. Unemployment in Poland is 12.4 percent, and wages are low, and GDP per capita last year in Poland was $20,600 compared to $49,000 in the U.S.
Romney even alienated the Polish people before he set food on their ground. Poland’s storied Solidarnosc (Solidarity) trade union, founded by former president Lech Walesa and others in 1980, issued a press release saying it is “in no way involved” in the Romney meeting with Walesa and had no “initiative” to invite the American candidate to Poland. The union has expressed dismay at Romney’s anti-union stances in the U.S.
The staunchest of U.S. conservatives are also appalled at the results of Romney’s tour which was designed to show that he is accomplished in foreign policy. Karl Rove said, “You have to shake your head.” Charles Krauthammer went much farther on a Fox panel discussion, claiming that Romney’s statements were “unbelievable, it’s beyond human understanding, it’s incomprehensible. I’m out of adjectives.”
Beyond stupidity, Romney has made dangerous statements on his tour. Romney declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel and stated that he would move the U.S. embassy there. At this time, the UN has declared Jerusalem an international city, and this issue is extremely sensitive. Even the Chinese are upset about Romney’s statement. The Xinhua News Agency, the government news resource, wrote, “Romney’s remarks totally neglect historical facts and are actually irresponsible if he just meant to appeal to voters at home.”
Russia is our country’s “number one adversary,” he said on CNN last night. AT least he did say “Russia.” Two of his advisers have recently referred to the country as the “Soviet Union.”
In last Sunday’s speech to the Israelis, Romney said that he would stand with their country against any Iranian threat, pointing out a hawkish approach that could lead to World War III. “We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran’s leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intensions. We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option.” Dan Senior, Romney’s senior foreign policy aide, suggested that Romney would support a unilateral military strike by Israel. Senior later said that he didn’t really mean a military strike.
As Rove shakes his head and Krauthammer runs out of adjectives, others wonder why Romney is making so many mistakes. One simplistic theory from people who see Romney as intelligent is that he is trying to show that he’s one of the people. Others connect it to his anxiety and lack of experience in interacting with people who don’t share his wealthy background and Mormon faith. The result is contempt for people not in his personal world which slips out when he isn’t careful. The British aren’t running the Olympics correctly, or young people without money for college should borrow from their parents rather than the government. His failure in communication then leads to hostility that leads to bullying.
These gaffes, however, may not cause him as much trouble as what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said today. After saying that Romney couldn’t make it through a Senate confirmation process as a mere Cabinet nominee because he wouldn’t release information about his personal finances, Reid said that a Bain Capital investor told him that Romney didn’t pay taxes for ten years.
Romney himself has said that he should be elected as president if he paid taxes he didn’t owe. But now there is speculation about whether he isn’t paying taxes that he does owe. Everyone in the country should question a man who pays less than 14 percent taxes in the one year in which he released his tax returns and then wants to be elected because his economic plan will lower his own personal taxes.
About Romney’s dismal performance in England, Krauthammer said that all he had to do was keep his mouth shut. Henry Porter, writing for the UK Guardian, agreed, in charming British language: “All that is required of any foreign personage is to speed along the line of greeters, murmuring: ‘Jolly good show–carry on.’”
Porter continued with this gem about Romney: “He displayed the sure touch of a Tourettes sufferer.”
In guessing at the reason behind Romney’s vast mistakes:
“It is that Romney has stripped himself of reason, personality, and sense in order to become the next president of the United States and that that is ultimately why he will fail to persuade the undecided voters to endorse him. Devilishly cunning new legislation in 19 key U.S. states, designed to place obstacles between voters and the ballot boxes most likely to affect those who vote Democrat, may eventually swing it for the Republicans. But in a straight fight with Obama on the candidates’ weight, experience, and merit of their convictions, he comes a distant second. This is as much about authenticity as politics.
“Romney is generally smooth in interview yet he leaves you counting your change. The general debate on how the rich got richer in the last 15 years may prove embarrassing for him. Bain’s chief mode of operation was to create efficiencies by outsourcing jobs to cheaper labor markets. That is not a great record if the main thrust of your campaign is to concentrate on the administration’s failure to create jobs on American soil.
“Romney has got nothing to say. He hollowed himself out to gain the nomination and is now too drained of character to win the presidency.”
And there you have it: the Republican presidential nominee of 2012.