07-30-12, 03:35 PM #261
Romneyshambles to Israel
#romneyshambles, Israel Edition
"If Mitt Romney were a Democrat, his behavior on this foreign trip would all but disqualify him from the presidency."
The Israeli leg of Mitt Romney's foreign policy tour is not so spectacular as last week's British chapter, but a brief list of the troubles plaguing the Republican nominee:
• Attempting to bar American reporters from a fundraiser in Israel.
• Backing unilateral Israeli strike against Iran.
• Overstating his friendship with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
• Canceling meeting with Israeli Labor Party leaders.
• Suggesting U.S. should never publicly disagree with Israel about anything.
Generally, these are small embarrassments. Still, though, they are suggestive at the very least.
After all, what is the wisdom of trying to prevent American reporters from covering a campaign event? Certainly, it is not uncommon to speak at fundraising events without reporters present, but the campaign apparently had to deviate from an agreement it reached with media outlets several months ago. Still, though, the reporters were only allowed to attend Romney's initial remarks, and not the Q&A session that followed.
And one of the problems of name-dropping is that it can be embarrassing if the other person does not share the same outlook.
It probably does not help Romney's hope to win some crossover votes from American Jews who support the Democratic Party to snub the Labour Party in Israel.
And, well, even Ronald Reagan publicly disagreed with Israel.
Little things, indeed. Tiny, self-inflicted wounds.
Standing by while Israel starts a war with Iran, though? That would be a bigger thing. Certes, President Bush very nearly achieved World War III with his protraction strategy in Afghanistan and war of convenience in Iraq, but Mitt Romney is promising to stand by Israel if its leaders should decide to unilaterally start a massive international conflict.
After all, if the United States had no empowerment role in an Israeli strike against Iran (i.e., military hardware), and expected to play no role in Israel's defense before the expected backlash from Arab neighbors to the Jewish state, the question would be much different. And Romney's foreign policy team knows this, on some level, as they spent some hours calculating a clarification that did not do much for clarity.
Benen, Steve. "Still shambling, from London to Jerusalem". The Maddow Blog. July 30, 2012. MaddowBlog.MSNBC.com. July 30, 2012. http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/20...n-to-jerusalem
07-30-12, 03:37 PM #262
Romney wants to continue the tradition of bending over backwards to serve Israeli interests.
07-30-12, 06:53 PM #263
Ah, the gift that keeps on giving was at it again..
Speaking to roughly four dozen donors at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, Mr. Romney suggested that cultural differences between the Israelis and the Palestinians were the reason the Israelis were so much more economically successful than the Palestinians, without mentioning the impact that deep trade restrictions imposed by the Israeli government have had on the Palestinian economy. He also vastly understated the income disparities between the two groups.
In his speech, Mr. Romney mentioned two books that had influenced his thinking about nations — “Guns, Germs and Steel,” by Jared Diamond, and “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations,” by David S. Landes. Mr. Diamond’s book, Mr. Romney said, argues that the physical characteristics of the land account for the success of the people living there, while Mr. Landes’s book, he continued, argues that culture is the defining factor.
“Culture makes all the difference,” Mr. Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”
Effectively, he has come out and said that the reason Israel has been so financially successful as opposed to Palestinians is because of the Jewish culture. Imagine, for a moment the implications of this statement and how this might apply on his home soil. As Goodman notes in the Huffington Post, it was "political genius", but of the craven and despicable kind, because he played the race card to garner votes and raise funds for his campaign:
By standing in Jerusalem on Monday and declaring that Jews are richer than Palestinians because of their culture -- this, as he was asking wealthy Jews for money at a campaign fundraiser -- Romney effectively exploited the Israeli-Palestinian divide as cover to annunciate a racist notion that resonates with a key slice of the electorate at home: white voters.
"Culture makes all the difference," he reportedly told those gathered at the Jerusalem fundraiser. "And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things." (One wonders what those "few other things" might include -- skin color perhaps?)
Can we for a nanosecond imagine Romney at a country club in some posh Detroit suburb celebrating the innate superiority of the predominantly WASP crowd in attendance while using "culture" to explain the wealth gap with the predominantly African American inner city? Yet this is the very sentiment he catered to in Jerusalem. In essence, Romney said that whole races of people are better than others.
He said this, and yet he very carefully did not say it -- at least, not in an explicitly American context -- making sure to secure the plausible deniability that foreign soil conveys: He was discussing international affairs, not American life.
But he did say it, and the logic holds regardless of the context: If culture can explain success over there, than surely it can do the same here. And in saying it, he successfully pandered to voters who hold enormous influence over his fate.
07-31-12, 01:21 AM #264
Well Willard is 2 for 2. I can't wait to see who he offends in Poland. The pandering in Israel was pretty embarrassing. I have to think his Israeli hosts were embarrassed for him as well. Romney is certainly not doing anything to promote peace in the region during his visit.
07-31-12, 01:41 AM #265
07-31-12, 02:20 AM #266
07-31-12, 11:49 AM #267
Granted that boiling the differences in wealth between the Israelis and the Palestinians to culture seems facile, but I think you have to already believe that Romney is a racist to see that statement as racist. I am not even sure that the Palestinians and many Jews (especially the Mizrahi Jews) can really be counted as ethnically very distinct from one another. Plus there are the Israeli Arabs to consider, who are not as poor as the Palestinians. What really sets the groups apart is culture and related politics, not genetics.
07-31-12, 03:12 PM #268
That's Our Mitt!Originally Posted by Bells
And for that, I suppose we should give Romney some credit: He's just turned the "moneygrubbing Jew" into a positive stereotype. So the next time some neo-Nazi goes off about greedy Jews, we can all just remind, Sure, maybe so, but that's why they're superior.
Remember: Trying to figure out the relationship between Mitt Romney and logic is an exercise in futility.
07-31-12, 05:47 PM #269
07-31-12, 06:21 PM #270
07-31-12, 06:22 PM #271
Romney botches three out of three stops on his foreign policy debut. Gee what a great statesman. I never would have thought Romney would have been so incompetent. I am impressed.
07-31-12, 06:33 PM #272
Did I miss something big?Originally Posted by Joepistole
Never mind; I'll check the headlines myself, but I do wonder what, other than the missile shield narrative, he's bringing with him.
07-31-12, 06:50 PM #273
What he was saying echoes what the economist Bryan Caplan recently said in a blog, that the poor are morally deserving of their lower socio-economic position because it is by and large voluntary behaviors and choices that lead to that outcome (at least for those who seem mired in the lower state). (In fact Romney was not stating anything about the morality of the Palestinians' culture, but he was in accord with Caplan that it is behaviors and choices that lead directly to poverty rather than external factors). Culture is just the aggregation of those behaviors and choices. Not that I agree with Romney or Caplan (or Charles Murray), as I do not, but I don't see the need to ascribe evil or even suspect motives to their positions.
Liberals, in particular, need to be careful when ascribing motives to the other side, as liberals are generally less able to describe their opponents' points of view accurately.
07-31-12, 07:30 PM #274
07-31-12, 08:23 PM #275
07-31-12, 08:27 PM #276
08-01-12, 01:37 AM #277
I am also not certain that Econlog could be said to be a particular reputation for being inaccurate. It id not generally a "topical" blog in the sense of covering major news, but rather covers relatively academic or specialized matters of interest to its authors, They almost never touch on major news items, but rather issues like wage rigidity, reviews of books by other scholars and commentary on statements by various other economists (of topics of interest to academic economists, typically). On occasion they do veer off into philosophical or pet issues of the blog writers (like Bryan Caplan's belief that being a parent makes you happier if done correctly, despite the psychological studies that suggest parenthood is a net negative on personal happiness). Right or wrong, though, it's quite dry fare, not partisan hackery.
Perhaps you think Barking up the wrong tree is a right wing blog, in which case, you simply haven't read it. It's a psychology blog, that happens to have sited to the study on what some have called the "political Turing test" where people attempt to convincingly mimic the arguments of their political opponents. Liberals tend to do badly at that, partly because they tend to ascribe more overtly immoral reasoning to political opponents than is there in reality. Barking up the wrong tree I was citing as a source though, in support of a proposition, whereas the Bryan Caplan piece was merely an example of a similar line of argument not rising out of racism.
In any event, I am really not very partisan (though from you posts and tone generally, I think it is fair to say you are). I am as quick to say that ascribing evil (or socialist or "anti-American") intent to the statements of Obama is ridiculous as I am to saying the similar things about Romney. I am a Jon Stewart devotee who helped to organize the the Rally to Restore Sanity before it was even publicly announced on the Daily Show. That Rally (which clearly did not have its intended effect) was all about toning down the rhetoric to make it more closely match the reality that, in America, neither party nor the politicians within them are very likely to be evil, or overt racists, or trying to destroy America, or engaged in a "war on women" (or a "war on Christmas"), or secret Kenyans, or to hate the poor, or any of the oft bemoaned horrible traits we often hear ascribed to modern politicians.
08-01-12, 08:57 AM #278
People in the UK are calling his visit a Romneyshambles.
A play on words deriving from the difficulties of our present Government,
which we have called an Omnishambles.
He is a blunderpuss.
08-01-12, 10:44 AM #279
So Libertarian thought is not right wing or partisan? That is a rather strange point of view. That is more than strange it is delusional. And then in yourself proclaimed state of “non partisanship” you make the preposterous and unsupported claim that “liberals are generally less able to describe their opponents' points of view accurately.” As evidence you refer to an unsupported, unscientific and undocumented study by “non partisan” partisans on a right wing (Libertarian) web site.
Two, I have made no comments regarding culture and social economic status. Your suggestion to the contrary shows your flagrant disregard for the truth. Don’t look now but your partisan reality might be showing.
Romney’s statements demonstrated a great ignorance of diplomacy as well as ignorance of the history and economics in the region. If one wants to be the diplomat in chief for the nation as Romney does, he should at least be able to demonstrate some diplomatic talent as well as knowledge of Israel and the Palestinians. Clearly Romney's comments demonstrate his great diplomatic inability as well as his profound ignorance of the history and economics in a key region of the world.
08-01-12, 11:23 AM #280
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