Sometimes you run for president. It happens, or so I’m told. Now usually when you find yourself running for president, you make a concerted effort to do and say things that are smart and make people want to vote for you and trust you to lead their country and stuff. But not if you’re Mitt Romney. I’ve already covered Mittens’ complete lack of connection to the common American, but how does he stand up to a test of foreign relations?
Not well. Not well at all.
Romney took his show on the road this week to prove that he has what it takes to be a world-class diplomat, and then he proved pretty conclusively that he’s really just kind of a douche. Watch the following train wreck unfold before your very eyes:
First Stop, London!
Mitt rolled into the British capitol last week to attend the opening of the Olympic games. You know, as you do. Being a former Olympics organizer, he felt it important that he give his opinions on the situation there in London. Now a good diplomat who was running for ruler of the free world would give some sort of half-assed, ingratiating quote about how the United Kingdom have really outdone themselves, and wow that thing with the queen jumping out of a helicopter was hilarious and blah blah blah. A good diplomat. Romney is not a good diplomat.
Within hours of landing in London, NBC television broadcast an interview in which Mr. Romney said it was "hard to know just how well" the Olympics would turn out and said there were "a few things that were disconcerting."
He even questioned the British Olympic spirit, adding: "Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? That’s something which we only find out once the Games actually begin."
Cool, so you show up in a foreign country and the first thing you do is bag on their Olympics. Nice move, dickbag. Do you also criticize your friends’ cooking when they invite you over for dinner? Of course you don’t, your friends don’t cook their own food like some kind of animal.
If Romney was hoping to win over conservative Prime Minister David Cameron with that little barb, he was sorely mistaken. Cameron actually completely one-upped Mittens with a riposte aimed at Romney’s chairing of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics:
We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic games in the middle of nowhere.
The London Telegraph published an op-ed titled “If Mitt Romney Doesn’t Like Us, We Shouldn’t Care” with the following spectacular byline:
Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive.
And an unnamed British diplomat (who, presumably, is much better at the whole diplomacy thing than Mittens) was quoted as saying “It is worse than Sarah Palin in terms of basic diplomacy.”
Now, if this had been the only serious gaffe on the tour I probably would have just left it to some other asshole blogger to write about. We have important alcohol and teenage music videos to write about over here. But this was just the first stop on the Mitt-For-Brains world tour. And this wasn’t even the only gaffe in London!
As well as his Olympic gaffes, Mr Romney caused controversy by apparently forgetting the name of Labour leader Ed Miliband while the pair were meeting.
In front of reporters at the Houses of Parliament, he said to Mr Miliband: ‘Like you, Mr Leader, I look forward to our conversation this morning.’
Another blunder came when he referred to a briefing he had with John Sawers, head of the Secret Intelligence Service, as such meetings are supposed to be confidential.
Good going, tiger. We didn’t need those British allies anyway. Not like they were the only country that followed us into war in Iraq. Speaking of the Middle East…
Second Stop, Israel!
Ok, fine, so he pissed off the Limeys. Those guys are known for their wild emotional jags and fiery tempers. Surely when Romney left London for Jerusalem he was leaving his troubles behind for much greener diplomatic pastures, right?
…so fucking wrong.
Much like in London, Mittens was barely off the plane before he started screwing the proverbial pooch (the proverbial pooch, in true Romney fashion, had been strapped to the roof of the jet on the trip). He started with a gaffe of such superb intricacy, such masterful construction, that only a seasoned up-fucker could have pulled it off with the perfection that Mitt displayed:
"As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality," the Republican presidential candidate told about 40 wealthy donors who ate breakfast at the luxurious King David Hotel.
Romney said some economic histories have theorized that "culture makes all the difference."
"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the "hand of providence."
A lot of attention has been paid to the inherently insulting slight against the Palestinians. I mean, flat-out saying that one country is better than its fundamentally opposed neighbor because its culture is superior and “providence” (read: God) has blessed them is definitely not the sort of thing you want on your foreign relations resume. Also Romney’s figures are wrong…like, way wrong:
According to the CIA, Israelis had a 2011 per capital income of $31,400, while Palestinians had a per capita income of just $2,900.
Also, Romney is completely ignoring the impact of the decades-old Israeli embargo and blockade of Palestine. So…you know…not the smartest of statements. An aide to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas shot back immediately with the following:
But the insidious beauty of this diplomatic faceplant is the other horrifically stereotypical and – yeah, I’ll say it – racist remark in that statement, the one that nobody’s talking about. Romney credits Jewish culture for their economic success. Not since The Merchant of Venice has the old “Jews are good with money” saw been used to such flawless effect. And the fact that nobody seems to have picked up on it at all is just icing on the cake.
Congrats, Mitt, on setting US-Palestinian relations back twenty years. And you’re not even currently an elected official of any sort!
So that’s got to be the only stupid fucking thing Mitt said while he was in Jerusalem, righ-
A nation has the capacity to choose its own capital city, and Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. I think it’s long been the policy to ultimately have our embassy in the nation’s capital of Jerusalem.
Ok, so saying that Israel is culturally superior to the country they’ve been violently oppressing since about 1950 was bad enough, but Jerusalem is quite possibly the most hotly contested city in the world right now. Both the Israelis and the Palestinians claim it as part of their nation, and both have strong religious ties to the town. For a candidate for president – not the president, mind you, but a motherfucking candidate – to openly choose a side like that and declare America’s intentions before the American people even have a chance to vote on whether they want him to have that authority takes balls. Like, these balls:
And Palestinian-American relations are set back an additional twenty years. Well done, sir. Well done indeed. No wonder you vowed to increase defense spending.
Oh, hey, and this doesn’t hurt his foreign relations cred any, but there was a bit of a cherry on this shit sundae:
“You spend eight percent of G.D.P. on health care,” he said. “You’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our G.D.P. on health care, 10 percentage points more.”
The country’s health-care system includes an individual mandate clause, requiring citizens to buy one of four HMOs offered by the government since 1995, with the state covering 60 percent of a person’s medical costs. The remaining 40 percent is covered by income-related tax collections.
Cool. So government-sponsored, individually-mandated healthcare is horrific, apocalyptic socialism in the US but it’s totally fucking sweet over there in Israel. Jesus, Mitt, you’re not even flip-flopping on the issue anymore. You’re rotating like a pig on a spit.
Last Stop: Poland
Oh fuck me, nothing bad happened in Poland, right?
A Mitt Romney aide told reporters to “shove it” Tuesday morning after the American press corps here shouted questions at the presidential candidate.
As Romney was walking away from Pilsudski Square toward his vehicle, reporters asked him about his string of gaffes and whether he had any comment for Palestinians, some of whom took offense at the Republican’s suggestion Monday in Jerusalem that Israel’s economy is superior because of cultural advantages Israelis enjoy. Romney ignored the questions and got in his car.
But his traveling press secretary was furious.
“Kiss my ass; this is a holy site for the Polish people,” said aide Rick Gorka. “Show some respect.”
Nice. Classy. Presidential.
I made this, and I think it’s funny because “that’s racist” is a favorite joke in the Nienaber family.