Monday, August 6, 2007

Scratching One Off My Short List

I just read the highlights from the recent Republican Party Presidential debate.

Perhaps I'll have more to say later, but I found a remark of Mitt Romney's so shameful that I had to bring it up here. This is taken from an article in today's Washington Post:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), in particular, was singled out for saying last week that he would act against terrorists in Pakistan without the support of its president. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney contrasted those comments with Obama's remark during a recent debate that he would be willing to meet with all foreign leaders.

"I mean, in one week he went from saying he's going to sit down, you
know, for tea, with our enemies, but then he's going to bomb our allies," Romney
said. "He's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week."

There are two things I would like to say about this comment.

First, any Presidential candidate that would NOT go after Bin Laden in Pakistan, if we knew where he was - and Musharraf would not act - owes every single American an explanation as to why.

Perhaps in the greater geopolitical scope of things, this is the right answer, but to treat Obama's stance as an absurd statement offends me and it should offend every other American as well.

Bin Laden has killed over 3000 Americans in his life and explicitly stated his desire to murder thousands (millions?) more. Why should we allow any nation to protect him?

Republicans are contemptuously dismissive of Democratic insistence that we act more collaboratively with other nations and/or the U.N. on foreign affairs, but they insult Obama
for advocating unilateral action against the greatest mass murderer of Americans in history.

Any one considering voting for someone with this position should demand an explanation of their candidate.

Second, lets examine the rest of Romney's comment. Obama is going to "sit down for tea with our enemies and bomb our allies".

So...this is what passes for useful commentary by a Republican candidate for the most powerful political and military office in the world? What an insulting and mindless piece of rhetoric on the most important issue we are facing today.

Some wonder why so many Americans are apathetic about politics today? It's partially because we are routinely subjected to absurd comments like this. Either Romney was violently twisting Obama's words for political gain (i.e. to manipulate and mislead voters) or he now considers Osama bin Laden our ally - after all, it was bin Laden that Obama was promising to "bomb".

Until this morning, I considered Mitt Romney a respectable candidate for President. He was definitely on my short list of candidates that I would consider voting for.

Now my decision is easier.


Unknown said...

I had Mitt Romney pegged for a loon ages ago. I'm surprised he was on your list even for this long.

Which other Republicans are still eligible in your mind? Are you clinging to the scraps of your admiration for the John McCain of yore?

Jared said...

I am still convinced John McCain is a good man and would be a good President, yes.

Has he run a disastrous campaign with both major strategic errors (e.g. the attempt to court staunch conservatives that was never going to succeed) and inexcusable tactical errors (e.g. spending far beyond your means) - sure.

Has he even said some things in the course of his pandering that have infuriated me? Yes - his no-tax pledge for one. I wrote an entire entry calling him out for it months ago.

But my whole belief with McCain is that he would govern with honor and progressive practicality as opposed to ideology and politics and I think there is still a lot of evidence to suggest precisely that - it's just harder to see today than it was in 2000. But the McCain that would be President still comes through when the chips are down.

For example, I think the single biggest thing that has killed his campaign was NOT the financial mismanagement or the appearances with Jerry Falwell that lost him some moderates' support. I think it was his principled stand on comprehensive immmigration reform.

He has also been the most reasonable and articulate advocate of the case for staying in Iraq despite the crumbling support for the war. I'm increasingly coming to disagree with his position, but he is advocating it in a respectable way - not by trying to invoke ambiguous fears or by slandering people with different views (as many Republicans are) but he is raising the very legitimate questions about how our vital strategic interests in the area will be affected. He's raising fair and important questions that every advocate for withdrawal -especially those asking us to make him or her Commander in Chief - should be addressing as well.

The torture bill is another issue in which he has stood up for his beliefs when the formation of an actual policy was on the line.

Has he marched to the Bush and Republican base's tune too much the last few years - yes, I think he has. But has he done it when it really mattered - i.e. when laws were being written?? I'm don't believe he has... and Iraq doesnt count because he believes in that - he's not doing it for political points.

Anyway, I think his chances at this point are very remote, so it may not be a debate that is worth any more of our time.

Other Republicans that are still eligible? Rudy was initially interesting to me - he's socially moderate which which I usually agree with. He demonstrated real leadership in NYC (I'm talking about his overall management of the city, not his 9/11 performance which was fine but doesnt blow me away like it does everyone else).

But I'm angry at him for the same reason I am Romney. He's so eager to win the nomination that he is kicking the bar of debate to the floor. The "knee-jerk liberal Democrat" reaction to raise taxes? His rhetoric about Democratic defeatism in the war on terror? Just disgusting to me. He probably wouldnt be a bad President, but some of his campaign tactics disgust me.

As for Fred Thompson, the idea that a man known for nothing more than his serious looking face that appears weekly on Law and Order is already getting 20% of Republican support in polls annoys me tremendously. But, the truth is, as a Senator, he was far closer to the McCain/Hagel mold that he was the conservative ideologue that many are looking for on that side of the spectrum.

Anyway, that was a long response.

Unknown said...

Giuliani's "leadership" in NYC mostly consisted of massive censorship and police thuggery. It's very easy to reduce crime when you do it by violating people's rights.

As for Fred Thompson, the Republican Party has a history of promoting the political careers of crazy Hollywood types. In the grand tradition of Republican hypocrisy, when Janeane Garofalo or the Dixie Chicks criticize the President, you should stone them to death, but when an entertainer runs for office as a Republican, you should vote for him immediately.

Jared said...

The Washington Post ran an editorial today that makes the same argument I did a few days ago - but with some additional facts and color that my "investigative and research staff" didnt have the capacity to pursue.

You can read it here: