Mayan campaign mashup 2012: Jackass edition

12 09 2012

I am not shocked-SHOCKED that Romney would criticize the president over the killings in Libya, nor do I think that criticism in principle was out of bounds.

After all, I’ve long thought that the line that “partisanship stops at the water’s edge” was self-serving BS, and believe that the protection of embassy personnel and the defense of free speech are legitimate subjects of political debate.

But this is just a jackass move:

I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.

This was in response to the statement by the US Embassy in Cairo, released after the breach of the security at its embassy and prior to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other employees at the consulate in Benghazi:

The Ambassador and staff of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemn the burning a copy of the Koran that occurred several days ago in the state of Florida by a small group of individuals who represent no one but themselves.  Since the founding of our nation, the United States has upheld the principles of tolerance and respect for religious freedom.  Millions of Muslim-Americans practice their faith freely throughout the United States and enjoy the full rights guaranteed to them by our laws and constitution.  Public condemnation of this event has come from a variety of organizations representing the diverse religious traditions that flourish in the United States.

The Obama administration distanced itself from that statement, and Secretary Clinton released a long statement on Stevens’s death, observing that

Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear – there is no justification for this, none.

The president also spoke:

I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.

I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.

Had the guv waited for Clinton’s and Obama’s official responses to the killing, he might have offered a more measured criticism of the administration; instead, he jumped to defend himself, issuing a longer statement, and holding a quick press conference:

I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.

And to the question that he spoke too soon:

QUESTION: How specifically, Governor Romney, would President Romney have handled this situation differently than President Obama? You (ph) spoke out before midnight when all the facts were known. How would you have handled this differently than the president did?

ROMNEY: I spoke out when the key fact that I referred to was known, which was that the Embassy of the United States issued what appeared to be an apology for American principles. That was a mistake. And I believe that when a mistake is made of that significance, you speak out.

And thus, a jackass move: Pundits are rewarded (grrr) for their itchy fingers, pouncing on proclamations prior to the presentation of the particularities, but presidential candidates—who desire to become, y’know, the president—ought perhaps to pause and ponder rather than preen and pander.

In non-alliterative terms: treating the murder of an ambassador and three embassy employees merely as political fodder—that is, intentionally blurring the line between the Cairo embassy’s statement about its own situation with that of the death of Stevens in Benghazi—and leaping in front of the White House and State Department’s official responses is a shitty, shitty move.

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One response

12 09 2012
dmf

if, like me, you need a break from the knuckleheads:
http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-09-12/zadie-smith-nw-novel

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