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Kaplan on Romney’s Foreign Policy Speech

Fred Kaplan joins the chorus of criticism aimed at Mitt Romney for his entirely substance-free speech at the Virginia Military Institute, which his campaign had billed in advance as a very important address that would spell out his firm grasp of the issues — and in reality did the exact opposite.

Mitt Romney has delivered a lot of dishonest speeches in recent months, but Monday’s address on foreign policy may be the most mendacious yet.

It was expected that he would distort President Obama into a caricature of Jimmy Carter. But it was astonishing to watch Romney spin a daydream of himself as some latter-day George Marshall, bringing peace, prosperity, and hope to a chaotic world—this from a man who couldn’t drop in on the London Olympics without alienating our closest ally and turning himself into a transcontinental laughingstock.

To the extent that Romney recited valid criticisms of Obama’s policies, he offered no alternatives. To the extent he spelled out specific steps he would take to deal with one problem or another, he merely recited actions that Obama has already taken.

The New York Times reported the day of the speech, citing interviews with several Romney advisers, that there were two primary reasons why the speech contained nothing but meaningless platitudes about strength and resolve. The first is that Romney just doesn’t know anything on the subject. The second is that his huge phalanx of foreign policy advisers is strongly divided between serious professionals who understand the complexities of the challenges, and nuts like John Bolton whose only advice is to bomb the shit out of everyone and everything we don’t like.

Comments

  1. says

    “…and nuts like John Bolton whose only advice is to bomb the shit out of everyone and everything we don’t like.”

    Now you’re just being ridiculous! We can also use missiles. And bullets. And bayonets. So there!

  2. Chiroptera says

    …which his campaign had billed in advance as a very important address that would spell out his firm grasp of the issues….

    But it was astonishing to watch Romney spin a daydream of himself as some latter-day George Marshall, bringing peace, prosperity, and hope to a chaotic world….

    To the extent that Romney recited valid criticisms of Obama’s policies, he offered no alternatives. To the extent he spelled out specific steps he would take to deal with one problem or another, he merely recited actions that Obama has already taken.

    Huh. Certainly sounds as if he spelled out his firm grasp of the issue of getting elected to national office in the US.

  3. Michael Heath says

    Mitt Romney wrote a book on foreign policy, No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Gov. Romney accomplished quite a feat with this book, he figured out a way to start lying even before he got to the first sentence of the first page. He accomplished feat by was by lying in his title.

    This lie is in fact very illustrative of the entire Romney campaign, he demonstrates very little knowledge about being president while depending on victory via conservative loyalty, turn-out, and snookering enough independents and moderates.

    When we consider the failings of the Bush Administration coupled to Mr. Bush’s general disinterest in governing, some indications from the Romney campaign is such behavior would only be amplified in a Romney administration. Not only has Mr. Romney showed no cognizance or even interest in understanding the actual root causes of our biggest challenges and the best competing policy arguments, he’s spent his time creating a fictional version of the Obama Administration which he then beats down like we see from the title of this book.

    Mr. Romney has also followed the legacy of George W. Bush in spending all his time, energy, and talent focused on winning, with no allocation of resources on becoming capable of governing. And in general, voters will not punish him for his lack of preparation. In spite of the fact conservative god Ronald Reagan spent years after his gubernatorial tenure had ended studying up on the issues of the day and developing a network of mostly competent experts.

    I was very concerned about the lack of preparatory experience both leading 2008 Democratic candidates had by that year. However what then-Senators Clinton and Obama did do which distinguished them from George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign and Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns was demonstrate they’d spent considerable time boning-up on the issues they’d confront and have to address as president. This should be a key part of any citizen’s evaluation of the president, where I’ve found the debates to be a great place to test them on their preparedness, and where others predominately ignore this aspect of what the debates reveal.

  4. gerryl says

    Some people who’ve been very successful seem to think, “Hey, I made a lot of money, I must be really smart.” And if they’re so smart/successful at one thing, they must be expectionally smart in other areas. Romney strikes me as one of those people who is not as smart as they think they are — and as their hangers-on tell them they are.

  5. newfie says

    this from a man who couldn’t drop in on the London Olympics without alienating our closest ally..

    This is the second time I’ve seen this, the previous from Obama on the stump last month. Being your largest trading partner and having the world’s longest undefended border doesn’t count for much these days. That’ll teach us to not follow you into trumped up, bullshit wars. :)

  6. eric says

    I think Romney only has two real policy positions: roll back regulation on corporations, and roll back taxes on investments.

    Everything else is just campaign talk.

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