by ERIC BYLER, Coffee Party USA
Mitt Romeny's Libya blunder is being dubbed "Romney's Lehman Moment" in reference to John McCain's puzzling reaction to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, which many say cost him his chance at the White House.
Daniel Larison writes in The American Conservative:
"Romney has made many foreign policy blunders before now, but this is the only one that has provoked such swift, harsh, and near-unanimous criticism. The most incredible part is that all of this has been self-inflicted. Romney and his campaign volunteered for this by inserting themselves into the story. If it were simply the other campaign or Democratic partisans that were hammering Romney on this, it wouldn’t be any different from previous mistakes, but the backlash hasn’t been limited to his partisan foes. The dishonesty of the original Romney statement and the gall of his press conference ... have combined to create serious doubts about his judgment and to confirm the impression that there are no limits to his opportunism."
Whether or not this will be "fatal to his campaign," it reminds me of something rather innocuous.
Romney's behavior reminds me of a person in a large audience laughing each time an orator completes a sentence, in part because its funny, mostly because others are doing so. Then, when the orator shifts gears and speaks in a serious manner, one audience member ends up guffawing anyway, so hypnotized is he by the collective experience of periodic laughter.
By the same token, in his never-ending attempts to please the fringe right, Romney has become hypnotized by periodic, baseless attacks on President Obama, manufactured and echoed by media empires and political operatives outside his campaign. If I were a consumer of Republican media products, I could see myself gradually coming to assume that, with each new event and each new decision by the Obama administration, producers and consumers alike are expected to insist that the opposite should have occurred and/or that the President doesn't really love America. We've seen the mantra of "breaking news, attack Obama, breaking news, attack Obama" enough times to know what's coming next. But perhaps not always.
As the tragic situation unfolded in the Middle East, with Americans in danger and four having been murdered, people who are more experienced with politics and/or foreign policy were holding their tongues until more information was available, and, until there was a proper amount of time to come together as a People and honor our dead. But Romney is under a lot of pressure. He is one of the busiest, most frantic, and most overworked people in the U.S. right now. He didn't have time to think. He laughed loudly and heartily — thinking perhaps that he could be the source of the echo chamber for once. But most in the GOP establishment remained silent, leaving Romney's voice to echo all alone.
It's interesting that so many figures on the right have been so vocal in the aftermath of Romney's unfortunate remarks, some to back him up (Fox News is defending him belatedly) but most to rake him over the coals. Perhaps they want to protect their own national security credibility at the expense of his. Perhaps they want to make sure Romney is blamed for their party's implosion, instead of the extreme ideas and policies their media empires forced him to embrace. [MORE]