Romney Claims He Never Said Anything about Palestinian CulturePosted: July 31, 2012
In a super-snotty, smirky interview with Fox News’ Carl Cameron, Mitt Shady attempted to control the damage caused by his gaffe-tastic speech in Israel by telling a few of his trademarked bald faced lies. He claims that he:
“did not speak about the Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy.”…..“That is an interesting topic that perhaps can deserve scholarly analysis but I actually didn’t address that,” Romney said. “I Certainly don’t intend to address that during my campaign. Instead I will point out that the choices a society makes have a profound impact on the economy and the vitality of that society.”
Romney’s insistence that he was not addressing Palestinian culture seems at odds with his lengthy and detailed speech at a fundraiser in which he offered up a direct comparison between the per capita GDP of Israel and the Palestinian territories before launching into an explanation of why he thinks culture and perhaps a little divine help are so important to the stronger Israeli economy.
“I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries,” Romney said at the time. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, 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.”
Romney grossly overstated the Palestinian per capita GDP (it’s about $1,500) while underestimating the per capita Israeli GDP (about $31,000), but the juxtaposition was clear as he segued into an explanation of his “perceptions about differences between countries” based on a Harvard history professor’s book.
“Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said. “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.” One of the additional factors he cited was “the hand of providence.”
Palestinian officials said Romney’s remarks were offensive not only because they implied the Israelis were inherently superior as a people, but because they ignored that the Palestinian territories have been under military occupation for decades and residents face major restrictions on their movement and ability to conduct trade.
Before you laugh hysterically, go over and read Charlie Pierce’s latest Romney post. Here’s the gist:
Romney continues to stubbornly refuse, in the face of a general outcry from within his own party, to release more than two years of his tax returns. He is the most easily mockable candidate in decades. (By contrast, it took real work, and a lot of money, to make John Kerry look ridiculous.) And, most spectacularly of all, only four years after the excesses of unregulated vulture capitalism nearly ate the world, stealing everything it could steal and wrecking what was left behind, with 25 million Americans either underemployed, unemployed, or vanished from the statistics entirely, the Republicans not only have chosen as their nominee a guy who made almost every dime of his money in the legalized freebooting that passed for a business community over the past 30 years, but also they have decided to run him as the guy who will fix the broken middle class, and return the country to full employment, by re-instituting all the policies that created the disaster in the first place.
And, by and large, it’s working.
As should be clear by now, the forces that make Romney a formidable candidate are far stronger than the forces that make him a ridiculous man. Nothing he does to embarrass himself in public is bad enough to overwhelm the power of what a truly remarkable liar he has become. No misstep is bad enough that it cannot be disappeared from our collective mind by a few dozen more commercials. The memory hole in this election is located in Sheldon Adelson’s wallet. His is the most purely cynical campaign in recent memory, selling to a battered economy the very policies that battered it in the first place, and doing so confident in the knowledge that the country has forgotten, or has become completely confused, about what was done to it. And cynicism sells best to the cynical.