ROBERT CREAMER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The events of the last few days have made it indisputably clear: America cannot trust Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan with our national security.
A recent Huffington Post headline summarized what it called, “The Verdict: Most Craven and Ill-Advised Move…Not Worthy of A President… Bungle… Utter Disaster…. Not Presidential… Lehman Moment… Over the Top… Desperate;…Awesomely Awful”.
Notwithstanding the horrible reviews, Romney and his campaign tripled down on their criticism of President Obama and the American diplomats who were on the ground and about to come under attack.
Romney’s Neo-Con foreign policy adviser, Richard Williamson, told the Washington Post that, “There is a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation.” He’s right about that. We’d be in a very different and dangerous situation if Mitt Romney were in charge of American national security. There are at least five reasons why every American should be frightened at the prospect of Mitt Romney as Commander-in-Chief.
1). Mitt Romney has no guiding principles when it comes to foreign policy – or anything else for that matter – but one: his own personal ambition. Tuesday night Romney demonstrated once again that he would take any cheap shot that he thought would serve his ambition to be President, regardless of its impact on American national security or our people on the ground.
Of course this is nothing new. Romney has demonstrated time and time again that he has no lasting commitment to principle whatsoever. He has gone from being pro-choice to ardently anti-abortion; morphed from a Massachusetts moderate to a “severe conservative”; demonstrated his willingness to buy companies, load them with debt, bleed them dry and destroy the lives of workers and communities all to make money for himself and his investors.
After favoring immigration reform in the past, Romney became the most anti-immigrant major Presidential candidate in modern history.
Romney drafted and passed RomneyCare and then promised to repeal a similar bill when one was passed by President Obama and a Democratic Congress. Why? Because that’s what thought was necessary to get the Republican nomination for President.
Romney has no North Star guiding his behavior except his desire to enhance his own personal wealth and his own driving ambition.
Someone like that is the last guy you want trust to make the tough decisions to protect American national security. Great statesmen are people who think more about the next generation than the next election. They are people who are willing to take the political heat because they are committed to doing what is right to protect the American people. They are heroes of John Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage, not the men described in John Dean’s book on the Nixon White House, Blind Ambition.
2). Mitt Romney has no vision. In his acceptance speech to the Republican Convention he made fun of President Obama’s concern for global climate change and his commitment toward the elimination of nuclear weapons. Romney actually opposed passage of the START II Treaty with Russia that reduced nuclear weapons to their current levels.
Romney flat-out opposes -- makes fun of -- investments in renewable energy sources that would begin the process of freeing us from the tyranny of Big Oil – and oil dictators – and addresses the problem of climate change.
Rather than support movements to limit the exploding growth in the world’s population, Romney actually opposes support for birth control.
Have you ever heard word one from Romney about protecting our natural resources, or investment in de-salinization, or strengthening the international co-operation needed to deal with cyber-security, or frankly any of these critical issues?
Mitt Romney seems to have absolutely no interest in or knowledge of history or the forces that are changing the world. And he certainly has never expressed a long-term view of how he might hope to shape the world as President of the United States. Let’s face it, the guy is shallow.
Voters correctly want leaders with vision, because as the great baseball player Yogi Berra used to say: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
3). The Romney-Ryan team has less experience in foreign policy than any two candidates for America’s top offices since World War II.
Barry Goldwater may have scared the bejesus out of many Americans, but at least he was a Lt. Colonel in the Army Air Corp during World War II and had served on the Armed Services Committee in the Senate.
When Senator Barack Obama ran for President, he chose the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Joe Biden, as his running mate.
Collectively Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have zero foreign policy experience. And it shows.
4). Romney has demonstrated he has no capacity to empathize with other people. He has no idea how to put himself in their shoes – or even to understand how they hear the things he is saying. That’s one of the main reasons why, as Senator Kerry said at the Democratic Convention, Romney’s “foreign policy tour” earlier this summer was more like a “blooper reel.” It’s why, when it comes to foreign affairs, Romney is a bull in the china closet.
Romney seems incapable of understanding that when you’re asked about your opinion of preparations for the London Olympics in London days before the event, the Brits might be offended when (presumably to demonstrate how much he knew about running Olympic games) he questioned their readiness. He apparently had no clue that Palestinians might take offense when he said he thought that their economic problems stemmed from their “culture.”
Romney is typical of wealthy people who think they are very “cosmopolitan” because they can jet around the world and stay in first class hotels, but don’t have a clue how normal people – or other cultures – experience the world. He is upper-class parochial. He thinks everyone thinks and talks and believes the same way as his classmates at prep school or colleagues in the Bain boardroom.
5). Romney has surrounded himself with many of the same Neo-Con foreign policy advisers that got America into the horrific War in Iraq. One of those advisers, Richard Williamson, actually had the audacity to argue that “respect for America has gone down” under President Obama. Maybe in some parallel universe.
In fact, every international poll showed that George Bush, Dick Cheney and their Neo-Con crew caused respect for the United States to plummet to new lows. And under President Obama respect for America and its values has massively increased. But then again, as the Romney campaign has made clear, they won’t allow their campaign to be governed by “fact checkers.”
If we needed reminding, this week made indelibly clear that a guy with no principles except his own ambition, and no vision whatsoever, will allow himself to be led around by the nose by the passionate Neo-Cons who want a restoration of the Bush-Cheney years. Romney’s performance should serve as a warning to all Americans: If you liked the Iraq War, you’ll love Mitt Romney’s foreign policy.
Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com. He is a partner in Democracy Partners and a Senior Strategist for Americans United for Change. Follow him on Twitter @rbcreamer