Romney: Adrift Without a Flotation Device

As I watched the news cycle yesterday, I was bombarded by coverage of Mitt’s multiple misfires in the diplomatic arena.  He had a relatively simple job.  Fly around to three of the staunchest US allies, shake hands, pose for photos with welcoming world leaders, say “nice to meet you” to everybody, and then get back home.

The one rule he has to follow is that criticism of the president ends at the water’s edge.  It is strict tradition and protocol that the US speaks with one voice in the foreign policy domain, and politicians and candidates for office do NOT criticize the sitting US president while on a trip abroad.

Simple enough.

The then-junior senator from Illinois, now president, Barrack Obama, was able to do it effortlessly in 2008 when he took a much more ambitious trip to Great Britain, France, Germany, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.  He managed to fill public squares, give meaningful speeches, charm his hosts, and instill pride in an America still living through the Bush-era debacle, all while avoiding any notable gaffes and/or offensive moments.

Mitt Romney, who has made it his mantra that “the president is in over his head,” in stark contrast, has deeply offended his hosts on the very first day of his trip–by suggesting that London might not be ready for the Games, that we wouldn’t know if the citizens of the UK would embrace the Games until they began, and that the reports of problems in advance of the Games were “disconcerting.”  And this was just in the morning; the hits kept coming throughout the day!  He ruffled enough patriotic feathers in the UK to earn a public rebuke from the British Prime Minister, and a really public mocking from the Mayor of the City of London in front of 60,000 spectators.  He then spent the rest of the day apologizing for his gaffes.

For a guy who wrote a book entitled “NO APOLOGY,” it sure was a bad day–for Mitt, and for America.  The British press suggested that he was “worse than Palin” and that perhaps we have “another Dubya” on our hands.

It’s hard to blame Mitt.  You see, Mitt Romney has absolutely nothing to say or to offer if he can’t bash President Obama.  That is his safety net, his flotation device.

He is adrift and sinking fast without it.

On this trip, he has to talk about “other” things.  What on Earth will he talk about?  He has managed to say exactly nothing in the last several months since he wrapped up the nomination.  He can’t, he’s boxed in.  He can’t go “severe conservative” in the general election.  He’s doled out as much crazy as possible to earn the Republican nomination, but that has to be quickly replaced with something that will appeal to moderates and independents.  And the fact is, he has nothing else to say.

Any two-bit Republican can repeat, “lower taxes, less regulation, freer trade and restore America.”  And every one of them does it every day.  After that, there’s nothing else there.

He’s is gorgeously coiffed, handsomely rich, and perfectly packaged—but that’s the entirety of Mitt.  Once you open the box, there’s just a really odd guy who made a ton of money manipulating the securities, tax and bankruptcy codes to his (and his investors) benefit.  To become that successful in that job, he had to beg, borrow and steal from investors, bankers, employees, government agencies, and anybody else who would help grow the bottom line.

That job inherently requires that you have no core beliefs.  You must take any position and benefit from every opportunity as possible.

If the government is giving out freebies, well, you get in line.  If you need to fire a thousand employees, well, you fire up the pink-slip copy machine.  If you need an offshore account for something or other, well, you call your friends in Zurich.  You are only as deep as the day, and the moment.  All that matters is the bottom line.  Lose money, and you’re done.

Mitt Romney was very good at being core-less, and very good at growing the bottom line.

With all that success, a funny thing happened.  Mitt randomly decided that the next obvious career step would be the White House.  To get this far in the game, he’s had to contort himself in unimaginable ways to appeal to the craziest parts of America.  Firm positions that he took on the path to get here have been discarded and reformulated for a broader audience, over and over again.  When your whole career is about being an opportunist and having no core beliefs to negatively impact the bottom line, then your whole life is about the moment.  It’s about getting the applause and moving on to the next venue.  But the problem is that Mitt has only developed one pitch.  He’s a one-trick applause machine that relies exclusively on an anti-Obama shtick, a thinly veiled racist act.

And, what happened yesterday in London is exactly what happens when you get on stage and cannot use your go-to applause lines.  You are exposed.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mitt Romney—the human gaffe machine.  Take away his Obama rant, and he will always say the wrong thing at the wrong time.  Anyone remember the bit about the height of the trees in Michigan?

Watching him speak in London made me cringe, in a feeling sorry kind of way.  When he visited 10 Downing Street as a guest of the Prime Minister, strict protocol requires that he (as a non-head of state, with no official portfolio) enter the door unaccompanied.  When his government escort stepped aside, and left Mitt standing alone for a photo op, I watched with pity as Mitt edged a little to his left, trying to get back closer next to his minder.  For a moment, he was all alone on that sidewalk, exposed.

I then watched the awkwardness with which Mitt proceeded to head inside, thankful that his escort was a little nearer.  After a day filled with missteps and apologies, and re-apologies, and gaffes and general ineptitude, I couldn’t help but think how this guy really is adrift without his floatation device.  And, I am quite nervous of how fast he will sink when he arrives in Israel and starts riling up the Palestinians while kissing Netanyahu’s ring.

Please dear God in heaven (or in Romney’s Mormon belief—planet Kolob), please give Romney the wisdom to shut his mouth when he lands in the Holy Land.  These are serious times in the Middle East, and to think that Romney couldn’t stop himself offending our BFFs across the pond on Day 1, well, what danger lies ahead in the always politically sensitive Middle East.  And one last thing dear God, please let Mitt have learned his lesson by the time he arrives in Poland, where he is likely say all the wrong things while the Russians are listening.

Oh, and one last, last thing, dear God, please let Mitt get back to the US as quickly as possible and get him back to bashing Obama, it was just too weird feeling sorry for him.

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15 Responses to Romney: Adrift Without a Flotation Device

  1. Andy says:


  2. Andy says:

    Didn’t write above comment once again I think we need user names or logins.

  3. Greg Morelli says:

    Take it as a compliment, Andy. You have imitators (AKA fans). When you’re gutsy enough to take a hardline, there’s blowback. I think it’s funny, mostly because I believed it was something you’d say. So kudos to you, Fake Andy.

    On to the blog…

    I remember when President Obama went to Japan as the new president. There was all this hoopla about him bowing too low before Emperor Akihito. I remember wondering, “Why am I supposed to care?” Which is pretty much how I feel about what has been dubbed by the English Press as #RomneyShambles.

    Was Mitt’s assessment of England’s readiness for the Olympic Games a bit harsh? Perhaps. But that’s his style and probably why he was incredibly successful in a cut-throat business. Did Mitt play the Wink-Wink Anglo-Saxen Card? Perhaps. But the Birther issues doesn’t translate overseas, so he had to be a little more on the nose with his race baiting. Did Mitt refer to a secret meeting with MI6? Perhaps. Or maybe he was referring to a secret meeting with God on the planet Kolob.

  4. Sarah says:

    I liked this very piece much. I spent less time wondering about how much longer until I got to the end and more time reflecting on what you had to say. I like Governor Romney and will probably vote for him. I will admit, he was a less than gracious guest. I thought for sure he would make America proud on his first trip overseas on behalf of the Republican Party as our nominee for president. We have so much to make up for, namely the past 4-years! I think Governor Romney will do much better in Israel. America has a very special relationship with Israel, and President Obama has made it clear he won’t stand up for our closet ally in the middle east.

  5. Andy says:

    I was going to write you privately about Chickafil. Do you support the Chicago ban?

    • Gregor says:

      Good question, Real Andy. Thanks for asking.

      Haven’t spent much time thinking about Chick-Fil-A, since I’m not in the market to eat at Chick-Fil-A, nor am I a mayor of a major city interested in attracting business opportunities.

      That said, I absolutely love the letter written to Chick-Fil-A by the mayor of Boston, Mayor Menino:

      There’s too much calculation in politics and not enough bravery. Mayor Menino was brave.

      It’s shocking Mayor Bloomberg would be on the wrong side of this issue, since he was the bravest of the brave when he came out in favor of debating Gun Control, after the shooting in Aurora (I was tempted to call it “the horrific shooting,” but all shootings are horrific, really).

      I don’t believe the private sector has the right to discriminate. I don’t believe in “free-market bullshit.” It’s a convenient out, when things get uncomfortable. Listen, we desegregated bathrooms, buses, lunch counters and schools, all of which are used by the public and were better served once racial barriers were exposed for what they were: a national embarrassment.

      It’s the same thing with homophobia. It’s disgraceful and I think mayors have an obligation to stand-up and call it out for what it is.

      The ‘A’ in Chick-Fil-A stands for: arrogance, anti-equality, assbackwardness. Fuck Chick-Fil-A!

  6. Andy says:

    Fine but a city can’t say NO you cant build here because you take a certain political position. I agree Chick-Fil-A can’t discriminate in hiring or serving gays. But the city can’t ban them from building restaurants either. If you don’t like a joint, or its political positions, don’t patronize it. This is where I become an ACLU free speech liberal. They’re already backing-off their ban. This is why the constitution is sooooo important. This type of shit can lead to speech codes.

    • Gregor says:

      If I was an ACLU Lawyer assigned to defend Chick-Fil-A, I resign. I’d take my over-valued law degree elsewhere. Or get a job selling toilet paper, which at least provides a service people need.

      Who has the time to defend the rights of bigots? It’d be the same thing if I was asked to defend Westboro Church. To Hell with them and I don’t even believe in Hell. If you keep taking-on fights, just for the sake of taking-on fights, not because you believe in the people you’re defending, but because you believe in some arbitrary ideal, you end up like Alan Dershowitz, an overpaid snot who thinks every thought in his unimaginative head is worth $450.00 an hour.

      By the way, I’m not so sure Speech Codes are a bad idea. I’m perfectly willing to debate the 1st & 2nd Amendment. I think what Michele Bachmann said recently about Huma Abedin was nothing short of hate speech and the lowest grade of race baiting. For an elected official to use the elevated platform of her office to distort the truth is beneath the role of congress. Bachmann should be held accountable for willfully lying.

      What I’m saying is I don’t think any of this is easy. But to just go around saying whatever the fuck you want, about whoever the fuck you want, is no better than allowing semi-automatic weapons to be sold online.

      I know. I know. Guns don’t kill people. Bullets in guns with triggers pulled by people…kill people.

  7. Andy says:

    You’re officially part of the stupid left. Alan Dershowitz often says he spends more of his time fighting the extreme left, protecting the constitution, than any other group. Westboro are pigs. But if we ban them from protesting, who’s next? And who gets to decide who’s banned? Who do we give the job to? If it’s me, I’d throw half the press corps off the highest building in DC. It doesn’t work, it’s called FREEDOM. As for Bachmann, sunlight is the best disenfectant. The speaker and many others in her party called her out. Are you suggesting she be arrested? Al Franken wrote in one of his books that Pescott Bush was a Nazi, a complete lie from a soon to be lowlife one-term senator. I give you this, at least you’re honest. Most leftists wouldn’t openly say they believe in borderline communism. The good news is you’re in the very, very small minority. And you’ll never see speech codes. As for gun round ups, or even gun control, you’ve already lost. USA has the most guns per capita. The second is YEMEN! There are so many guns in this country the battle is already won.

    • Gregor says:

      A few battles we lost, but eventually won: ending slavery, giving women the right to vote, ending Jim Crow, giving blacks the right to vote, ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, giving gay men & women the right to marry the person they love the most.

      Do I expect the debate about Gun Control to be easy? No. Do I expect the debate about Gun Control to be soon? No. Do I expect we’ll need several more unnecessary displays of horrific gun violence before America gets the chutzpah to debate the 2nd Amendment? Duh.

      I’d have no problem putting you in charge of Speech Codes. I’d line-up to throw all of the current media elite off the highest building in DC. They’re more interested in becoming famous than doing the job of hunting down the truth, and telling the truth, in a compelling way, so the audience feels compelled to act.

      By the way, Al Franken is beloved. Not just in Minnesota, where he’ll serve until he decides not to serve, but in all corners of America, where his propensity for telling the truth, and being funny, are adored.

  8. vince says:

    The brits screwed it up. Romney is just an out of work rich guy on vacation. They should have totally ignored him and let him call American Express Centurion concierge to get seats at the sold out Olympics.

    • Samantha Dundee says:

      Here’s the difference about this election: I won’t argue with friends who think Romney’s the right guy. I’ll point out why I think Obama is better. But I won’t go to the matt. I won’t send them fact after fact. Or say, “Read this. And you decide.” I can’t tell them I’m sure things will be better with my guy.

      Who knows?

  9. Maggie - lich - ious says:

    there is no debate in this election. unlike the last election, where we’d never seen 2-candidates go at it, like hillary & barack, with such a gift for waking-up the passions of a nation. barack will be a fantastic 2nd term president. but you can’t sell a man who isn’t listening.

    at this point, anyone who’s interested in mitt romney is a closet-racist, an israeli-centric pro-apartheid nutjob who’s so intellectually deficient it’s not worth insisting. barack has to win this thing. listen, that’s what elections are about: winning this thing.

    bill fucking clinton is the key note speaker at the democratic convention. are you kidding me? bill fucking clinton! either he’s going to give the best speech of his life or he’s going to announce hillary as the vice president. either way, it’s going to be a moment of clarity for the nation.

    you don’t have to argue with friends who think romney is the right guy, samantha dundee. just quietly downgrade your opinion of them. and try not to take the bait when they go fishing for your conscience.

  10. vince says:

    Romney isn’t adrift, bro. Sure, he’s disconected, but who wouldn’t be. Why should he relate to the scum that make up humanity. He’s elite and he deserves better from the people who surround him. He’s white and rich. Obama is black and Obama ownes the economy. Nuf said. White boy vs. black boy, whitie wins, unless it’s a basketball game.

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