Not thoughtful; not smart.
-- Further evidence that Mitt's a
nit-wit. It was on July 24 that
Mitt Romney touched down in the U.K. for what was to be a sort of mini-world tour
designed to showcase Romney's foreign policy bona fides; resurrect fond
memories of Mitt's 2002 Winter Olympics glory days; and suck a few dry C-notes
from a bunch of high-rolling money-folders, specifically, casino tycoon Sheldon
Adelson's peeps over in Israel.
By now we all know how well that
worked out. Mitt carried himself with the kind of stature befitting the Travelocity
Gnome. Sure, he came home lugging a several
million dollar shitload of money; but that's about it. As for the remaining goals, the Romney campaign
might as well have made Charlie Sheen a surrogate and sent him abroad instead. Romney's diplomatic follies during that brief Euro-Middle East tour make Sheen's crack-ish antics
during his "epic" "Violent
Torpedo of Truth, Defeat is not an Option" tour last year seem like an evening in Newport
on smooth jazz night.
Romney's gaffes have exceeded epic
proportions. Largely on his own, he's constructing himself as the epitome of political non-acuity. Not since Sarah Palin has a politician
provided such a perplexing mix of knee-slapping diplomatic hilarity and head-scratching political ineptitude
both at home, and now abroad. What's more,
the word from the U.K. is that Romney was "worse
than Palin," making his trip perhaps the zaniest incursion anywhere by an
American public figure since the Muppets took Manhattan.
Mitt's moved beyond the tipping
point of being merely objectified by his opposition; he's now become adjective-ized if you will. We've reached the point at which now, the
word "Romney" is synonymous with a flood of politically negative adjectives -- inept;
ignorant; detached; wooden; aloof; insipid; or thoughtless, to name a few. We're perhaps one mega-gaffe away from ushering
in an era where virtually any act of downright political stupidity will be
thought of as "a Romney."
As in: "Wow! Senator So-and-So sure pulled a Romney during that speech."
Managing Mitt is no easy chore. Thus, not surprisingly -- in light of a
campaign for president marked by the media's focus on Mitt's gaffes and overall
political ineptitude -- there have been no calls from the Romney campaign that
the press "let Mitt be Mitt." More likely,
Mitt's handlers stay locked in a constant state of fingers, arms, and leg-crossed
readiness in expectation of the next amazingly "WTF" remark that would force their crafting of yet another
rhetorical walk-back. Eric
Fehrnstrom, a key Romney advisor who once was a beat reporter for the Boston Herald -- my hometown's seedy
sister publication of the even seedier New
York Post -- perhaps finds himself challenged in a way not experienced since
his days of twisting and re-angling his local reporting to fit the Herald's conservative agenda-driven
But how does one spin such an
ironclad fiasco? Mitt was uproariously
laughed out of
And let's not get started about
Mitt's press stooge who blew Romney's chance to at least dash out of Poland
unscathed by insisting that questions from reporters were, as they say in
Poland, zakazany because at the time
Mitt was on "sacred grounds." Apparently
being on sacred grounds was ground enough for said stooge to admonish those who
ignored him to "kiss
There are many allegories and
old sayings that offer thought-provoking insights into everyday life: "It is
easier to believe than to go and ask," for example. Or, "you
can't get blood from a stone." Mitt's performance as a candidate may result
in yet another -- "You can't transform the mindset of a businessman into that of a politician."
Nevertheless, if businessman
Mitt wants to play politician, he needs to come as one. Mitt has traveled the world on many occasions
appropriately wearing expensive, well-tailored business attire. For his Euro-Middle East tour, he may as well
have worn a clown suit. What that trip
proved is that Mitt needs to fundamentally change how he thinks in a way that
actually moves him away from what is perceived as his greatest strength -- his
This means divesting himself of
his businessman's persona and investing in that of an actual politician.
Mitt embarked on his tour probably
taking enough financial acumen and standard business-related accoutrements to
fill his oversized Rimowa
luggage. But, whatever political smarts
he's accrued during all the years he's been running for president were obviously
left behind; perhaps unable to be squeezed into that luggage. And regrettably for Mitt, diplomatic and political
aptitudes aren't items that can be strapped to the roof of an airplane.
The hidebound ignorance revealed by his overseas blunders -- most famously, the shibboleth Mitt pitched in Israel regarding Jewish and Palestinian cultures -- provides, as Romney would put it, a "marvelous" example:
"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality."
Ignore the fact that, like his mis-prognosis
of the fate of a bailed-out U.S. auto industry, the businessman was also completely
wrong on the GDP per capita numbers; but do take note of the terms employed
by Mitt here: GDP, per capita, economic history and economic vitality. That's Mitt the businessman speaking; but it
might as well have been Joe the Plumber.