As I wrote a few weeks ago, I just absolutely love reading quotes from former Republican candidates for President of the United States, because they seem to think the American public feels they hold substantive weight, despite the fact that they'd been rejected. To be clear, they have every right to chime in on the public discourse. We all do. It's just the way it's done that tends to be so tone deaf, coming across as if they're still on the campaign trail and trying to convince the public to Vote For Me. It's one thing to offer new personal insight and perspective, it's another to continue fighting an old battle that's over and you lost.
John McCain has been impressive for the longevity of his delusion, still not quite ready it seems to accept that he lost to "That One," but in many ways he gets a pass some of the time since he is, after all, a sitting United States senator. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is an especially prime representative of this honor particularly given that he acknowledged how on Election Night he was sure he was going to win, and actually got swamped in the Electoral College. So, not only was he rejected by the public, but his good sense of reality is held in high question.
On Meet the Press yesterday, Mr. Romney dove back in the deep end, bringing up Hilary Clinton and starting out with "I think you have to consider what's happened around the world during the years that she was secretary of state, and you have to say it's been a monumental bust."
Indeed. Things like presiding over the winding down of two wars and helping create international relationships that American borders to be safe from attack by outside forces. There was also the death of Osama bin Laden -- no, it wasn't her operation, and she has never taken credit for it, but then Mitt Romney's only criteria here was "consider what's happened around the world."
It's likely that Mr. Romney is dropping sly hints about Benghazi, though he has to be careful about this since he was famously dressed-down by the moderator Candy Crowley during one of the presidential debates when he got his facts very wrong.
Mr. Romney also has to be careful when talking about "what's happened around the world," since his own experience in that area is notably thin, one of the reasons he and his running mate Paul Ryan avoided talking about foreign affairs so much during the campaign. More to the point, he had his infamous, disastrous world tour before the Olympics when he was trying to build up his international credentials, and only succeed to keep stepping on his own tongue, most notably when he breached British protocol when talking about MI-5.
Besides, anyone running against a president when the economy was in trouble, and not only couldn't win but lost in a near-Electoral landslide should be careful about using the term "monumental bust."
But further, Mr. Romney felt compelled to go on in the interview, and felt he had to try to score points against Ms. Clinton and do his best to take her down as a potential Democratic candidate for president in 2016. So, he reached into his grab bag and pulled the recent prisoner exchange with Bowe Bergdahl-- "
"I think her clueless comments about the Bergdahl exchange as well as her record as the secretary of state are really going to be the foundation of how a Republican candidate is able to take back the White House,"
Okay, so let's see what those comments actually were, to find out whether they were, in fact, "clueless" or perhaps well-reasoned, as one might expect from an international diplomat. What Hilary Clinton said was --
"If you look at what the factors were going into the decision, of course there are competing interests and values. And one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn't matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation.”
Hmm. Well, given that most leading military officials have said that "we bring our boys home," and that it was a definitive statement with no wiggle room, then how they ended up as a prisoner doesn't actually seem to matter. If you're a prisoner, we will do everything to bring you home. One might want to disagree with the principal, and if you do, fair enough -- but debate it with the generals, not Hilary Clinton.
Besides, in the end, listening to Mitt Romney give advice on how to take back the White House is just too precious.
You keep talking, guy. God love ya.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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