On Sunday, Republican Party nominee for president Mitt Romney appeared on Face the Nation and, among many other things, said --
"Our esteem around the world has fallen. I can’t think of a major country, it’s hard to think of a single country that has greater respect and admiration for America today than it did five years ago when Barack Obama became president."
It gets a little annoying every four years to have to keep repeating this to the former Republican Party nominee for president, but again, here goes --
Dear Mitt Romney -- you lost the election.
Mitt, you must understand: more people wanted Barack Obama to be president than you. They voted against you. They aren't interested in your policies, or even particularly your opinions all that much. Though I suppose they would still like to see your tax records. But as for your opinions...nah, not really. You lost the election. You aren't a senator or congressman or governor anymore, no matter of elected official, so your words don't even hold any political authority. So, it really again boils down to:
You lost the election.
Please go see John McCain and take about trying to get over it. He probably won't be able to offer much good advice, but at least you'll have comfort and solace from an understanding voice.
To be fair, Mr. Romney is the official, titular head of the Republican Party until the next nominee is named. So, his opinion holds that weight. And he was invited by CBS to be a guess, so his thoughts were solicited. And he has past experience as governor and head of the U.S. Olympic Organizing Committee, so he has experience in those areas. But there's a difference between speaking in your areas of expertise and diving off the deep end into unknown waters. And also, there's a huge difference between giving informed analysis and just being a bitter, spiteful grumpy snob.
And I think most fair-minded people can tell that difference.
One way they can tell that difference is something I like to call "reality." When you start pulling statements out of your hidden orifices to be snarky about the guy who beat you, that's when most people roll their eyes and look at you like you're their grouchy uncle who comes over for holidays and complains about everything, most notably the crazy kids today, how many commercials are on TV, the Blacks and Mexicans (extensively using the phrase, "You know what I mean"), loud music today, movies today, and Democrats.
Keep in mind that Mitt Romney was the man who the GOP wanted to be President of the United States. With his finger on the nuclear button. Someone to analyze facts and make cool-headed, solid decisions. And he said, "It’s hard to think of a single country that has greater respect and admiration for America today than it did five years ago when Barack Obama became president."
Dear Uncle Mitt, at least you could have check with Pew Research beforehand.
The Pew Global Attitudes Project regularly researches other countries about their attitudes, notably about the United States, and puts out a poll each year. The poll is really easy to find, especially if you were, well, a former nominee for president. At the very least, you just ask someone on your staff to do it, they probably have a lot of free time these days without much responsibility.
In the most recent 2013, there was a favorable opinion of the U.S. in 28 of the 38 nations who has been polled. That's over three times more than had a favorable opinion of America when George W. Bush was president -- when just nine of 23 counties said they had a positive opinion of the U.S. in 2008. (In fairness, more countries were polled for Mr. Obama, so we'll look at percentages. For President Obama, 74% of countries had a favorable opinion, while 39% did under President Bush.)
Beyond just the pesky facts of reality, it's also worth questioning why favorable opinions of the U.S. might not be as high as some would wish (though those numbers look pretty respectable). It might well be, not because of the president, but because of the white noise and policies coming out of the conservative wing of the nation that makes it across the ozone, airwaves and Internets to foreign countries beyond. And when they read about policies forcing women to have required vaginal probes, policies that make it more difficult to vote, policies against immigrants (of which, as "foreigners," they might be a tad sensitive to), policies intended specifically to block the very popular President Obama, cries against universal health care (which most other nations tend to enjoy) and more, they just might not find the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free as brave and appealing as they've read in their school books.
But Mitt Romney once again goes yammering on about how unpopular the United States was. Gee, all he left out was, "You know what I mean."
Dear Mitt. You lost the election.
You know what I mean?
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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