US Politics Doesn’t End at Water’s Edge?

Partisanship aside, put on your rhetorical analysis hats.  What’s the rationale for Mitt’s statement beyond political tactical advantage:

Here is the Republican candidate for president of the United States on Wednesday, explaining why he broke into a moment of rising international tension and denounced the White House as “disgraceful” for a mild statement made by the American Embassy in Cairo about the importance of respecting other people’s religions:

“They clearly — they clearly sent mixed messages to the world. And — and the statement came from the administration — and the embassy is the administration — the statement that came from the administration was a — was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a — a — a severe miscalculation.”

via Mitt’s Major Meltdown – NYTimes.com.

The altogether best take on this comes from David Weigel:

Still, the better analogue for Romney might be Barack Obama himself. In 2007, several times, the then-senator made foreign policy statements that were outside the polite consensus—and thus defined as “gaffes.” Obama said he’d violate Pakistani sovereignty if it would help nab terrorists. Romney, at the time, called that “ill-considered.” Obama never backed down. Later, at a debate where questions came from earnest YouTube members, Obama agreed to meet the leaders of Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela “without preconditions” in his first year as president. That, too, became part of Obama’s “foreign policy,” defended throughout the campaign. Nobody really noticed that Obama broke his promise. He’d previewed the talk-pretty-but-approve-drone-strikes strategy he’d use in office.

via Libya consulate killing: Mitt Romney’s criticism of Barack Obama on Libya and Egypt was an accurate reflection of what he really believes. – Slate Magazine.

The fact is that bipartisanship in foreign policy has a long history (perhaps).  For a country they need to stick together (or hang separately)–and that’s why this issue caused such a stir.

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7 thoughts on “US Politics Doesn’t End at Water’s Edge?

  1. It seems like Romney, caught up in a moment of glory where he thought he could cleverly undercut statements from Obama, really did go for a “shoot first, aim later” attack on Obama. It’s the only explanation that could really defend such misjudged comments. It’s become obvious now to the American people that when looking at the timeline, Romney’s comments are a distortion of the facts. He must have thought his comment was going to do wonders for his campaign in order to justify his fact distortion and the fact that he was using Americans’ lives so soon for political gain. Really though, the most cutting part about the entire thing was that regardless his motivation, it can only be expected that he thought Americans would believe him, or at least hoped they would, which is to say he didn’t expect Americans to check him up against the facts. Disappointing belief in America, to say the least.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/post/fact-checkers-say-no-to-romney-apology-claims/2012/09/13/7d88a03e-fd3a-11e1-8adc-499661afe377_blog.html

  2. The only “severe miscalculation” here was Romney’s own statement. Gaffes like this are what destroy confidence in a candidate’s ability to conduct responsible foreign affairs. Romney’s entire campaign is built on tearing down Americans’ confidence in Obama and his policies. Romney shot himself in the foot this week.

    To be completely fair, though, Romney has received a lot of flack for politicizing these events because in the midst of everything, several Americans died. It’s probably true that Romney should have postponed any comments bordering on the political side of things, but at the time he released his initial statement, no deaths anywhere had been reported (http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2012/president/candidates/romney/2012/09/12/fact-check-romney-misstates-facts-attacks/YvlBS2cDH8EoiC02ic8GXK/story.html). Romney may have unwisely used this as an opportunity to attack Obama, but others have also stretched the facts in order to denigrate Romney.

  3. I have never supported the distortion of facts nor will I ever do so, but I have come to the realization that it is impossible to find guiltlessness in any campaigning political candidate, regardless of party. (At least at this point in time, I sure hope that changes one day) That being said, I do not think it’s wrong for a political candidate to express his opinion when things like this occur; in fact, it is probably even expected of them. Whether Romney distorted facts or not, the embassy did in fact make a misleading statement, that suggested these attacks as a reflection of Islamic retaliation rather than an extremist retaliation. If someone understands Islam in even the slightest degree, he or she understands that those attackers were not representative of the religion’s core values. It is true that we should giver proper respect to all religions, however, respect for religion and attacks by extremist thugs should not be clumped together; they should be addressed individually.

    http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/09/13/847201/extremist-religious-views-dominate-the-news-dont-represent/?mobile=nc

  4. shzmughal says:

    Every president/presidential candidate has experienced their share of gaffes, and Romney is no exception. Although his statement may have a jumbled mess and sent the wrong message to the public, I’m assuming candidates feel a lot of pressure to get their statements out quickly, which can lead to mistakes like this. It would have been better on Romney’s part if he’d waited and formed an articulate statement, but what’s done is done and he’ll have to move forward from this point and try to make reparations with the public over what he’s said.

    I think these type of occurrences go to show how crucial it is for politicians to frame their messages correctly. We make gaffes every single day, but usually we can correct them and move on. For politicians, their gaffes can come to define them as long as there aren’t bigger stories for journalists to write about. Some journalists are asking Romney to issue an apology for his statement (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-romney-owes-an-apology/2012/09/13/893b5eac-fdd1-11e1-8adc-499661afe377_story.html), (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/09/mitt_romney_owes_an_apology_fo.html), then maybe the public will see him in a better light.

    Personally I think that the video that sparked this controversy is disgusting and although it shames the right of free speech, I don’t think it needs to be removed or banished from the internet because I support the freedom of expression. It’s saddening to see that lives were lost, but hopefully we as a nation will be able to move on from Romney’s gaffe and focus on keeping other officials working abroad safe.

  5. aprilrvd says:

    Romney’s comment did backfire on him and only helped president Obama earn more confidence from the public when it comes to foreign policy. While Romney is being criticized for his miscalculated comments, Obama is appealing his leadership to public as a responsible president doing his best to ensure safety of other ambassadors abroad (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/world/middleeast/egypt-hearing-from-obama-moves-to-heal-rift-from-protests.html?pagewanted=all). November’s approaching, and it seems evident that Romney is under alot of pressure that he is trying to capture every opportunity to persuade one more person to disbelieve Obama. Although I personally have no problem with candidates and politicians expressing their opinions whatever and whenever (as long as they are consistent wi th their views, not taking this side and that side of view according to their advantage), this was a bad shot for Romney.

  6. I firmly believe that politics should stay within the boundaries of the United States. If we begin to make attacks for either the republican or democrat side, we will begin to see some international problems that shouldn’t have been started in the first place.
    In political race the American public would much prefer to see solutions instead of finger pointing.
    Some believe that this incident is clearly all on Romney’s shoulders. But Obama also joined into the fun in a later interview. Obama answered Romney by pointing out flaws in his foreign affairs policies. http://decoded.nationaljournal.com/2012/04/politics-doesnt-stop-at-the-wa.php
    The U.S. has been struggling for hundreds of year earn a respectable reputation among its surrounding peers. We cannot compromise this because of a power struggle between two competing presidential candidates.

  7. I don’t think that anything besides tactical advantage could have been the motive for those comments. The rabid partisanship constantly on display has lately made politics almost unbearable for me to watch or read about. It’s incredible how, with so much emphasis placed on good diplomacy in foreign policy, the exchanges that take place between political groups and candidates are anything but diplomatic. @Michael Whittle – It seems to me as well that the majority of Americans don’t like this rhetoric anyway:

    http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/02/14/988283/folks-like-bipartisanship-poll.html

    Why do we believe that being civil and compromising is only necessary when dealing with other countries? Are the stakes lower? What’s it going to take for diplomacy to become not only an essential element of foreign policy, but of Democrat-Republican relations as well?

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