How dismal is Trump's cabinet shaping up to be? So many people (not on the far-right) are hoping beyond hope that he selects Mitt Romney to be the next Secretary of State. That's how bad.
"Now, wait," I'm sure some people are saying, "Mitt Romney is a good, smart, thoughtful, talented guy. He'd be a wonderful Secretary of State."
Mitt Romney would be a wonderful Secretary of State only in comparison to the other utter disasters that Trump has chosen already for his cabinet. Yes, Mr. Romney was the Republican nominee for President of the United States -- but then so was this Trump fellow. So, the credential doesn't have the same patina it once did. And yes, he's smart and successful and has moments of thoughtfulness, especially this past year when he impressively spoke out and trashed Trump as "a phony, a fraud. His promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University. He’s playing the American public for suckers," adding that "he has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president." and later calling him "vile" and "demeaning." But that good will was lost by Romney being Romney flip-flopping and embarrassing himself with foolish, craven and pandering public statements about how great and wonderful Trump is, the man with "a vision of inclusion who can bring us together" and "who can lead us to that better future." That's the Romney we too easily forget. The cold, empty, cardboard man who once told a crowd, "Corporations are people, too, my friend." And who famously dismissed 47-percent of the country.
Yes, Mitt Romney looks good compared to the other hellacious choices for the Trump cabinet -- and llooks like Winston Churchill in comparison to Trump himself. But all that comparison is poor perspective. It reminds me of a comment made by the lyricist and playwright Alan Jay Lerner, who wrote My Fair Lady and Camelot, about how when you are trying to fix a musical that's having problems on the road, "You think you've made it good, but all you've really done is make it less bad."
The point of all this is not to trash Mitt Romney but rather to offer a reminder that when Mitt Romney ran for president, for all his problems as a candidate -- and they were a great many, let us not forget -- his worst problems were were when he took a trip to Europe to supposedly establish his international credentials...which was necessary because his international credentials at that pont were non-existent...and he kept falling over himself with gaffe after gaffe. In fact, I wrote at the time that Mitt Romney "is without foreign policy experience" -- and not only has he done nothing in the intervening four years to improve that...but foreign policy experience is the actual point of the job of Secretary of State!!
From the first, that European trip was a disaster, his initial stop being London. And while there he insulted the country and its organizers of the Olympic Games, which caused an uproar. And then he topped it, committing a major diplomatic faux pas by talking about his meeting with the British secret intelligence organization MI6, which by British custom is never, ever supposed to be mentioned in public. A CNN headline put it bluntly, "Romney Trip Begins in Shambles." The Guardian in London was even more blunt -- as only the British press can be, headlining its article, "Oh Mitt: those Romney gaffes in full" -- adding in the sub-headline, "Boobs, blunders, clangers – whatever you call them, Romney likes to drop them. And he's really outdone himself in London" That's really not what you're looking for in a Secretary of State. Or even a tourist in Bermuda shorts. Meanwhile, a bit later, Mr. Romney added yet another international embarrassment with Italy, insulting the country over its economy, as the headline of a Huffington Post story noted, "Mitt Romney's Italy Comments Spark Anger" amid national rancor over there.
This is the man -- with no foreign policy experience or foreign policy abilities (or backbone or foundational compass) -- who so many moderate Republicans, independents and liberals are anxiously hoping will become the next Secretary of State.
That's how horrible the Trump cabinet is turning out to be.
Honestly, given the other options for Secretary of State I've heard, I'm also hoping that Mitt Romney gets selected. I don't think he will, though -- I think Trump remembers all too well the truly shredding things Romney said about him, and Trump does not forget such slights, and he prides himself on personal revenge, so I think he's playing with Romney to embarrass him. But maybe not, we'll see. However, as much as I'm hoping that Mitt Romney is picked, I even begin to don't fool myself into thinking he's a great choice...or even an especially good one. He's a pretty talented manager. And he's bright and sane. Yes, that's a very good thing to have around in a Trump Administration.
But when it comes to the totality of your qualifications for the job, it doesn't say much for a Secretary of State. Especially one who is inexperienced in foreign affairs, spineless and prone to embarrassing international gaffes.
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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