UPDATE: Mitt Romeny's Libya blunder is being dubbed "Romney's Lehman Moment" in reference to John McCain's puzzling reaction to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which many say cost him his chance at the White House. Whether or not this will be equally damaging for Romney, it reminds me of something rather innocuous. Romney's behavior reminds me of a person in a large audience laughing each time an orator completes a sentence, in part because its funny, mostly because others are doing so. Then, when the orator shifts gears and speaks in a serious manner, one audience member ends up guffawing anyway, so hypnotized is he by the collective experience.
By the same token, in his never-ending attempts to please the fringe right, Romney has become hypnotized by periodic, baseless attacks on President Obama, manufactured and echoed by media empires and political operatives outside his campaign. If I were a consumer of Republican media products, I could see myself gradually coming to assume that, with each new event and each new decision by the Obama administration, producers and consumers alike are expected to insist that the opposite should have occurred and/or that the President doesn't really love America. We've seen the mantra of "breaking news, attack Obama, breaking news, attack Obama" enough times to know what's coming next. But perhaps not always.
As the tragic situation unfolded in the Middle East, with Americans in danger and four having been murdered, people who are more experienced with politics and/or foreign policy were holding their tongues until more information was available, and, until there was a proper amount of time to come together as a People and honor our dead. But Romney is under a lot of pressure. He is one of the busiest, most frantic, and most overworked people in the U.S. right now. He didn't have time to think. He laughed loudly and heartily — thinking perhaps that he could be the source of the echo for once. But most in the GOP establishment remained silent, leaving Romney's voice to echo all alone.
It's interesting that so many figures on the right have been so vocal in the aftermath of Romney's unfortunate remarks, some to back him up (Fox News is defending him belatedly) but most to rake him over the coals. Perhaps they want to protect their own national security credibility at the expense of his. Perhaps they want to make sure Romney is blamed for their party's implosion, instead of the extreme ideas and policies their media empires have forced him to echo and embrace.
I feel bad for the man. I wouldn't have made any of his choices, not one of them. But I still feel bad for him as a human being suffering public ridicule on a global scale.
Republican News Empires Blame
Romney for the Public's Rejection of
Their Own False Narrative
Republican news empires are blaming Mitt Romney for the public's reluctance to buy false narrative about President Obama. They look at polls showing the President opening up a lead following the two conventions, and conclude that it must be Romney's fault. But has it ever occurred to them that Romney might be in a better position if they hadn't used their media might to bully the former Massachusetts governor into pretending to be a "severe conservative," denying his moderate record, and reversing his position statements the day after he makes him?
From immigration extremism, to pandering to birther nonsense, to blaming Obama for everything, to opposing policies that would help our country just because Obama proposed them... It may be true that independent-minded voters are no longer finding Romney credible. I can't say I admire the fact that Romney has genuflected to the far right, but the man wants to be president. If he hadn't done so, he would not be the nominee. Perhaps the real problem is that voters do not find the Republican media narrative credible, and are turning their backs on Romney because he has been forced to echo that narrative.