Mitt Romney is heading on a trip to London for the Olympics, followed by visits to Poland and Israel. In advance of this bit of Foreign Statesman stuff, John Bolton, former UN Ambassador turned Fox News foreign affairs pundit and Romney rooter, appeared on last night’s On the Record to tell us why his man will be a better foreign policy president than Obama. "Romney the Unapologetic vs. Obama the 'Ashamed' was the title of this segment online, though it’s a bit misleading since Bolton didn’t actually speak those words in his interview with Greta Van Susteren. Doesn't seem to matter to Fox, which seldom passes up a chance to accuse Obama of hating America and apologizing for it to the rest of the world.
The segment started with a recent speech by Romney to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, in which he slammed President Obama for his treatment of Israel. "Even at the United Nations, to the enthusiastic applause of Israel's enemies, he spoke as if our closest ally in the Middle East was the problem! The people of Israel deserve better than what they've received from the leader of the free world.”
What, specifically, haven’t we done for Israel? Van Susteren asked. "This is the most hostile president since the state of Israel was created!” Bolton replied. Specifically, he accused Obama of acting as if every problem between Israel and Palestine was Israel’s responsibility. To top it off, he said, Obama’s never visited Israel, whereas he did give a major speech in Egypt and "you can’t miss the symbolism of that."
I wouldn’t say Van Susteren played hardball, but she didn't come across as fawning either. What, she asked, did Romney want to achieve in Israel, when Tony Blair failed to reach a solution to its problems in over 80 visits? Nothing so ambitious as reaching a solution apparently, according to Bolton’s reply. "I think he's demonstrating ...that a strong American presence in the world, together with our alliance systems, helps guarantee sustained prosperity here at home and that America will under his administration will treat its friends like friends and its adversaries like adversaries." (Besides, as Greta elicited, he’s friends with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "from their days at Boston Consulting Group.” Hmm. Does Netanyahu like firing people too?)
Now, in this VFW speech, Romney said he was criticizing Obama on American soil, “since I wouldn't venture into another country to question American foreign policy.” Really, no swipes at Obama while he’s abroad? asked Van Susteren noting that representatives of the United States aren't supposed to make a critical remark overseas. "I think it's very commendable that he's going to try and uphold that standard," Bolton replied. "There are very few politicians who still do." Romney may uphold that standard, but his aides don't seem so scrupulous. Reportedly a Romney advisor told the Telegraph UK that his man understands Britain better than Obama does because "We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special", because the White House didn’t "fully appreciate the shared history we have". Think we’ll hear about that one on Fox, gentle reader?
Or, “take care of the country and your reelection will take care of itself.”
The wisdom of this was missed by the President’s handlers who also misjudged the savvy of the independent voters. Why else would they have bombarded them with dumbed down TV ads?
Somebody should have told them that these folks are sitting on the fence for a reason, and it is not a lack of foresight.
Indeed, it takes more foresight to figure out things yourself than to merely follow one herd or the other. And deciding the things you care about does take time.
Yet, independent voters also need help. Though they do not blame the President for all of the country’s problems, or expect him to solve them overnight, they do expect him to stay on the task day by day.
Yes, honest effort is what they want, but they are not seeing it lately. Perhaps this is because the President’s handlers are too worried about losing their jobs to let him do his. But he is the President and he should get them all out of his way to focus on running our country.
Besides, keeping his nose on the grindstone might be the best way to convince the independents that he should get more time to finish out the job.