Can’t We Do Better, People?

The big headline this morning on Drudge is “Rampage,” and I thought it was about the protests across Egypt over President Morsi’s assumption of even more power.

But nooooooo, the story is about us Americans behaving badly at the Black Friday sales.

So you’ve got some folks fighting for freedom while we’re fighting for flat-screen TV’s.

An Eerie Similarity to ’08

Almost exactly four years ago, the McCain campaign pretty much collapsed right when Lehman Brothers did.  John McCain insisted on suspending his campaign and having a meeting at the White House, where he proceeded to sit there like a potted plant, while Barack Obama dominated the meeting.  McCain himself admitted that he didn’t know much about the economy, he was really a foreign policy and defense kind of guy.  He had expected the campaign to be mostly about Iraq and Afghanistan, and suddenly it was about an economic collapse.

The 2012 election was supposed to be about the economy.  But now we see foreign affairs take center stage, and Mitt emulating McCain, both in his over-the-top reaction and in his watching the campaign shift to an area where he lacks experience and expertise.

McCain never recovered from his mid-September misstep.  Will Mittens?

Mitt’s “Piquant Melange”

“It’s not clear how the movie [“Innocence of Muslims”], the protests in Egypt and the murders of four American diplomats in Libya fit together.  That’s the job of intelligence experts.  We’re stuck with the task of evaluating Mitt Romney, who went for a cheap attack at a time when any calm, mature adult would have waited and opted for at least a brief show of national unity.

“The one big advantage to being a boring candidate is that you give the appearance of calm and stability.  But, suddenly, Romney seemed to want to go for a piquant melange of dull and hotheaded.”  Emphasis added.

Gail Collins,”Mitt’s Major Meltdown,” NYT

Quote of the Day

“Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim.  And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that.  That, you know, it’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts.  And that you’ve thought through the ramifications before you make them.”

President Obama

A Lone Little Mitten, Lying in the Slush

GOP leaders are abandoning Mitt in his criticism of President Obama over the awful events in Libya and Egypt.  Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Lugar, McCain, Graham — all expressed their anguish without attacking the President, emphasizing instead that it was not a time for politics, but rather a time for unity.

Peggy Noonan told Fox News, “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors.”

I don’t feel that his advisers have been doing Mitt any favors.  He really, really needs to fire some people.

Mittens is both ill-informed and tone deaf, a deadly combination for a presidential candidate.  But he wasn’t speaking off the cuff last night, his campaign carefully crafted a statement that must have been approved at the highest levels of his brain trust, such as it is.



Mitt’s McCain Moment

From “When You Learn They’re Not Ready,” Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo:

“Some moments show you when a candidate is ready or not to become President of the United States. I suspect last night will become one of those moments for Mitt Romney. The verdict will not be positive.

“[W]hen the full scale of the events in Cairo and Benghazi remained unknown, the Romney campaign let fly a crude political attack both blaming the Obama administration for the attacks and suggesting that the President actually sympathized with them.

“Romney’s attack was not only ill-judged and ill-timed, it was actually based on what appears to be a demonstrable falsehood. Romney, or folks writing in his name at his campaign, claimed that the administration’s first response to the attacks was to issue a press release condemning the anti-Islam film which had helped trigger the attack. This they picked wholesale from the right-wing blogosphere.

“In fact, according to all available press reports and the account of the State Department, the press release in question came from the US Embassy in Egypt and preceded the attacks. So to claim it was a response to the attacks was simply false. So while American diplomats were dying in the field, Romney pops up with an egregious attempt to politicize the deaths with a flat out lie.

“The campaign also authorized Romney’s top foreign policy advisor to give a blistering interview attacking the president while the attacks were continuing.

“Politics is hardball. Everything is, in some sense, fair. But campaigns are also a prism into the judgment and steadiness under pressure of a person who would be president. This was amateur hour for the opposition campaign last night, reminiscent of John McCain’s rash call four years ago to cancel the presidential debates and the campaign itself to deal with the unfolding economic crisis. There was nothing ignoble or dishonorable about McCain’s suggestion. It just showed a certain rashness that was widely viewed as unpresidential.

“Romney’s moment was quite different — rash and shameful. Not worthy of a president. Crass, undignified and troubling on many levels.”  Emphasis added; italics in original.

How Syria Looks From Moscow

From “Why Russia Is Backing Syria,” Ruslan Pukhov, NYT:

“Many Russians believe that the collapse of the Assad government would be tantamount to the loss of Russia’s last client and ally in the Middle East and the final elimination of traces of former Soviet prowess there — illusory as those traces may be.

“Such attitudes are further buttressed by widespread pessimism about the eventual outcome of the Arab Spring, and the Syrian revolution in particular.  Most Russian observers believe that Arab revolutions have completely destabilized the region and cleared the road to power for the Islamists.  In Moscow, secular authoritarian governments are seen as the sole realistic alternative to Islamic dominance.

“The continuing struggles in Arab countries are seen as a battle by those who wear neckties against those who do not wear them.  Russians have long suffered from terrorism and extremism at the hands of Islamists in the northern Caucasus, and they are therefore firmly on the side of those who wear neckties.

“To people in Moscow, Mr. Assad appears not so much as ‘a bad dictator’ but as a secular leader struggling with an uprising of Islamist barbarians.”


The Russians are backing Assad for the same reason we backed Mubarak for all those years.  We both fear the Arab Street.  The Russian have their bastards, and we have ours.

The Russians have never been fond of Islam.  Under the Czars, the Russians viewed the Muslims in their empire as a threat to Christianity.  Under the Communists, the Russians viewed the Muslims in their empire as a threat to atheism.