Can they really ‘Fake It’ until they ‘Make It’ ?Posted: October 23, 2012
I woke up this morning in search of my childhood security object-a worn out red plush version of Huckleberry Hound with a turquoise blue felt hat and rubbery white gloves. He was actually the toy I used to drag around during the Cuban Missile Crisis so maybe there is a connection with that and the debate last night.
The media seems to think Romney passed the low bar of seeming plausible for “commander and chief” duties. I was frankly wondering exactly where in the world might be safe if Romney ever got any where near the US’s foreign policy or nuclear arsenal. All I saw last night was the typical face of a student who had never done his home work and was trying to ‘fake it’ to ‘make it’. I’m an old hand at recognizing fakers now, believe me. They all sweat and look sheepish.
I don’t care how many times the man said the word peace. I don’t believe a word he says. He’s considering John Bolton for Secretary of State and doesn’t know that Iran shares no border with Syria and has two coastlines. He also agreed with Obama policy that he’s spent at least one year tearing apart. He showed me last night that he may have read the headlines to a Cliff Notes version of some world affairs high school textbook but not much more than that in the 7 years he’s been running for the CIC job. He didn’t even cram for the midterm. I can’t believe any serious person would consider him ready for any job. I still wouldn’t even hire him as a pet sitter nor would I trust him with my old friend Huckleberry. I was a child of the cold war and a teen of Watergate. I’m a hard sell for any politician that tries to bluff his way through anything.
John Kerry looked quite serious last night when he said something similar. This is the latest from Charles Pierce.
Late Monday night in the spin room here, after Romney’s preposterous performance in a debate that was ostensibly about foreign policy, Kerry’s persona seemed locked halfway between sheer incredulity and utter gobsmackery.
“What you saw tonight was the difference between a commander-in-chief and a campaigner in confusion,” Kerry told a group of us. “Mitt Romney was able to recite Wikipedia facts about a country, but he had no policies. He agreed with the president and agreed with the president — totally different from what he’s been saying for the last seven years. He shows up here tonight, agrees with the president on this and that. You know, the game Battleship came up in there. I think tonight the president sank his battleship.
“On every occasion, Romney would say something and the president would indicate we’re already doing that, and more. Honestly, I was surprised. I was amazed at the degree to which Mitt Romney was the Etch-A-Sketch foreign-policy candidate tonight, who came in here, just changing — shake it up, agree with the president, and hope to get out of there quickly.”
Kerry, of course, is said to be in line to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in the eventuality of a second Obama term, so a lot of what he was saying was pure good-sailorism on behalf of the ticket and (to be completely honest) in advancement of his own career. But as a serious man who’s taken on serious issues in his time — Google “Kerry + BCCI” some time — his astonishment at Romney’s apparently bottomless well of cynical opportunism seemed utterly genuine.
“He shakes it up and he comes back and he has a new policy,” Kerry said. “That’s not how you should be a commander-in-chief. This was a confused candidate tonight. This was a man who does not have a clear sense of the world. Never have we had a ticket with so little experience, and in both debates, it has shown up. Let me give you an example.
“Even the Chamber of Commerce, and major business groups, have said that, if you name China a currency manipulator, you could bring the economy of the United States down, and maybe bring on a global depression. That is not the way to move forward. China does have to appreciate its currency, and they are. It’s higher than it’s been in 19 years and it’s changing. Again, you just have to be a little more thoughtful and a little more judicious. You can’t come to the presidency doing Rosetta Stone foreign policy.
“It’s always a tight race for president. Look at Gore. Look at my race. It’s always tight. The country is divided.”
Mitt Romney has nothing really coherent or substantive to say about domestic policy, but at least he can sound energetic and confident about it. On foreign policy, the subject of Monday night’s final presidential debate, he had little coherent to say and often sounded completely lost. That’s because he has no original ideas of substance on most world issues, including Syria, Iran and Afghanistan.
Mitt Romney has proved himself as a man of no substance. His business career was even made of doing things with no substance. It’s too bad that most people don’t realize what a parasitic model of finance built Bain Capital. The crazy thing is that none of this appears to matter to a huge number of people. The lies and obfuscation are working on them. His campaign is trying to show that it’s moving ahead as we see the press spin a tale of some kind of “wind at his back”. I stayed up way too late last night watching a group of journalists discuss how his lack of substance wasn’t going to really be a game changer at this point on Charlie Rose. I cling to Huckleberry like the child who did duck and cover exercises in the hallways of Herbert Hoover Elementary School in small town Iowa decades ago.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Governor Romney basically all night tonight said one thing. The overarching theme of the entire debate from his point of view was, “I would basically have the same policies as Barack Obama, I’d just execute them better.”
And that goes to one very specific thing which the Obama campaign is advertising on right now, which is, which is the end of the wars. You know, we have a country that is a very war-weary country, and that’s not just women, that’s everybody across the board, and one of the dangers Governor Romney has had in the past because he’s been surrounded by some number of neo-conservative foreign policy advisors because he’s made some relatively harsh and relatively bellicose statements. You know, Chuck (Todd) talked about the Mubarak thing. There have been other places where he has seemed to be more interventionist, more neocon-ish.
He steered really far clear of that by essentially saying, “I’m kind of with the President on the substance of the policy, I just would be a better executer of it, I’d be a better manager of it.” He managed to make himself not seem like a warmonger, to put it, like, bluntly. And I think, you know, from the standpoint of seeming like a safe pair of hands, of doing the kind of assurance Mark (Halperin) is talking about, it’s not just looking like a plausible commander-in-chief, but also looking like a commander-in-chief who’s not gonna plunge us into a bunch of foreign adventures and a bunch of new military entanglements that would, in fact, scare off a lot of American voters if it seemed that he was, in fact, a risky choice in that regard.
TINA BROWN, NEWSWEEK: I’m sure John Bolton wanted to throw himself out of the window when he watched this debate.
Indeed, the Romney Campaign’s theme seems to be to “fake it” and then “make it”. That’s a cynical and scary ploy. Lying is a Romney Family and Campaign value. Jonathan Chait explains it all.
Over the last week, Romney’s campaign has orchestrated a series of high-profile gambits in order to feed its momentum narrative. Last week, for instance, Romney’s campaign blared out the news that it was pulling resources out of North Carolina. The battleground was shifting! Romney on the offensive! On closer inspection, it turned out that Romney was shifting exactly one staffer. It is true that Romney leads in North Carolina, and it is probably his most favorable battleground state. But the decision to have a staffer move out of state, with a marching band and sound trucks in tow to spread the news far and wide, signals a deliberate strategy to create a narrative.
Also last week, Paul Ryan held a rally in Pittsburgh. Romney moving in to Pennsylvania! On the offensive! Skeptical reporters noted that Ryan’s rally would bleed into the media coverage in southeast Ohio and that Romney was not devoting any real money to Pennsylvania. Romney’s campaign keeps leaking that it is planning to spend money there. (Today’s leak: “Republicans are genuinely intrigued by the prospect of a strike in Pennsylvania and, POLITICO has learned, are considering going up on TV there outside the expensive Philadelphia market.” Note the noncommittal terms: intrigued andconsidering.) The story also floats Romney’s belief that, since Pennsylvania has no early voting, it can postpone its planned, any-day-now move into Pennsylvania until the end. This allows Romney to keep the Pennsylvania bluff going until, what, a couple of days before the election?
Karl Rove employed exactly this strategy in 2000. As we now know, the race was excruciatingly close, and Al Gore won the national vote by half a percentage point. But at the time, Bush projected a jaunty air of confidence. Rove publicly predicted Bush would win 320 electoral votes. Bush even spent the final days stumping in California, supposedly because he was so sure of victory he wanted an icing-on-the-cake win in a deep blue state. Campaign reporters generally fell for Bush’s spin, portraying him as riding the winds of momentum and likewise presenting Al Gore as desperate.
Painting last night’s debate as anything other than a show of Romney the Unready is an incredible disservice to the country. Read Romney’s word salad on the transcript. Watch Romney’s panicked animal and unready student looks and sweating without the benefit of the sound track. Then, ask yourself, is this the man you really want going head-to-head with the brilliant and scheming Putin, the crazy militaristic North Koreans, or for that matter do you want to send him back to the UK to insult our best allies?
I wasn’t impressed by 2008 primary candidate Obama’s debate performance at all. All the other senators ate him alive. However, by the time he faced John McCain in the fall, he had done some homework. Romney has obviously not even done that.
Can I just have a nap now so I can try to forget that people in this country are actually considering this man to be any kind of viable candidate for ANY office in this country?