Today’s news is that Mitt Romney is going to make tonight’s third and final presidential debate all about Israel. Which is ironic, since American Jews support Obama over Romney, 65% to 24%. And that support will probably be a lot less if President Obama reminds Jewish Americans of the awful things Mitt Romney has said about Jews in general, and Israel in particular.
For some reason, whenever Mitt Romney talks about Jews and/or Israel, he always ends up sounding more like Archie Bunker than a man who could, and should, be president of the United States.
First there was the time that Romney praised Jews for their innate ability to make money. Always a show stopper:
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.” He said similar disparity exists between neighboring countries, like Mexico and the United States.
Then, in a pure flip-flop that is vintage Romnesia, only one week later, Romney excoriated Israel as some kind of utterly-un-american socialist hell that acts a lot like – dum dum dum – Barack Obama.
At a fundraiser today in Chicago — barely a week after visiting the Holy Land — Romney took a shot at the Israeli Kibbutz movement, a product of the early socialist zionist movement and integral to the story of the founding of the State of Israel.
“It’s individuals and their entrepreneurship which have driven America,” Romney said. “What America is not a collective where we all work in a Kibbutz or we all in some little entity, instead it’s individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises which employ others and they become inspired as they see what has happened in the place they work and go off and start their own enterprises.”
Yeah, some little entity, so cute and small and codescendingly diminutive. What do little Israelis know about “individuals pursuing their dreams and building successful enterprises.” This is not America. It’s socialism. It’s Barack Obama-ism!
And that’s the core of Romney’s excoriation of Israel. It didn’t occur in a vacuum. Romney, for some time now, has been trying to label President Obama a socialist, which in American parlance really means Soviet communist. That’s why he’s taking a swipe at Israel being all communist-like, it’s part of his larger “I am not a communist, but you are” theme (Romney apparently hasn’t gotten to the part in his “So you want to be president” insta-foreign-policy lessons where a lot of the Israelis are actually folks who escaped communism – oops).
So Romney’s attempt to Sista Soujlah Israel was part of his larger message about America rejecting all things un-American, which has the added benefit of pandering to birtherism, which both Romney and the head of the RNC have been called out on previously.
RNC CHAIR REINCE PRIEBUS: I think Obama’s policies have created the sense that for whatever reason he’s looking to guidance, as far as health care is concerned, as far as our spending is concerned, as far as the stimulus packages are concerned, he’s looking to Europe for guidance.
PRIEBUS: I mean that’s the problem…
MATTHEWS: Where do you get this from? This is insane…. What’s this have to do with Europe? The foreignization of the guy. You’re doing it again now. He’s influenced by foreign influences? You’re playing that card again.
What’s this European thing of yours? What are you up to with this constant [unintelligible] that he’s not really domestic?
PRIEBUS: I’m not gonna get into a shouting match with Chris, so you guys can move on.
MATTHEWS: Cuz you’re losing…. I’m not gonna sit here and listen to cheap shots about Obama being a foreigner – is the thing you’re party’s been pushing, Sununu pushed it, everybody’s pushing it.
For Mitt Romney, who never met a foreign policy crisis that wasn’t a self-serving “opportunity,” who went to the UK and single-handedly destroyed a 200-year relationship, to suggest that President Obama’s foreign policy is somehow suspect, is dangerous ground to say the least.
Will President Obama mention the time the UK Labour leader mocked Romney, when the British papers excoriated his trip during the Olympics and labeled him “Mitt the Twit,” when Romney, bizarrely, undercut Britain’s conservative leader at a public event, when the conservative mayor of London publicly mocked Mitt Romney, when Romney leaked secret information about his meetings with British intelligence, when Romney questioned the Brit’s patriotism, when Romney so offended the Brits they said there was no way they’d let him carry the Olympic torch, and when Romney made a racist ass of himself even before stepping foot on British soil?
Tell me again about Romney’s foreign policy experience.