Willard Mitt Romney: Just another Republican nimrod pandering to The Base?
I'm really glad to discover Willard Mitt Romney's full name, because "Mitt" Romney has always sounded weird to me, vaguely Germanic--mit schlag [Down, Jeff! Down Karl!], Mitt Romney--and three names always make a man seem so much more solid, don't you know...
Anyhow, via the always excellent Agonist, we get this wierd little vignette as Our Willard clumsily positions himself for 2008:
Governor Mitt Romney declared yesterday he would not allow any state resources to be used to protect former Iranian president [Mohammed Khatami ] during his visit to the Boston area this weekend.
Well, Jeebus. Condi's State Department gave the guy a visa, so presumably the guy's no more an imminent threat than, well, the Saddam's WMDs were. And presumably the Feds are going to give Khatami protection in the District when he visits the National Cathedral, so why does Our Willard need to put the boot in?
What's the percentage in this, besides pandering to Those Who Eat Cheetohs One-Handed? [DCOW] Khatami's the kind of moderate we've been looking for--granted, "moderate" by the standards of the Iranian theocracy--ever since Ollie North took Khomeini a Bible and that chocolate cake! [What did I say, Karl, Jeff? Down!] We might need to talk to the guy one day, so why take cheap shots? As Sean Paul cogently puts it:
What I found most odd about this episode was a nagging question: just who was Romney telegraphing his foreign policy intentions to? The Donald Rumsfeld faction of the foreign policy elite? I don't think so, at least from what I understand, Romney is largely seen as a moderate, centrist Republican. Would calling this man "a terrorist" and denying a former head of state security buff up his credibility with the Scowcroftian wing of the Republican party? Or is he courting the more 'activist wing' of the Republican party foreign policy crowd? Is Romney a neo-con?
If Romney still is a moderate, but sucking up to the neocons, well, that's just scary. But not surprising. Khatami's visit to Romney's state was an opportunity for an enterprising politician. Except Romney blew it, in the process proving his foreign policy judgement is prone to impulsive, emotive judgement, not the improvisational yet statesman-like behavior so necessary in today's violent and confused global landscape.
In the end, Mittney's actions betray the mind of someone inclined to follow--and yet strike out on his own at exactly the wrong moment because he thinks that's what people want him to do, someone who, as president, would find it hard to navigate the ship of state out of the shoals of conformity, with an inclination to run it aground during a crisis.
Oh, Romney's press people will claim it was a bold act, like that of Giuliani refusing a large check from a Saudi prince in the aftermath of 9-11. No matter how immediately satisfying to the politician and his constituents his actions may be, they are not indicative of a serious foreign policy thinker, much less someone with a statesman's temperament. Bold is not, no matter how much right-wing radicals want it to be, insulting people so that you can feel better about yourself. Most of us get over this in high school, or early college for the late bloomers. Doesn't look like Romney ever did.
Poor, poor Willard. Another one of the Lost Boys of the neo-conservative parade.
What a nimrod.