Here in Los Angeles, a miserably rank stench settled over the city yesterday, supposedly a fish die-off at the Salton Sea. Yet it couldn’t compare with the putrid funk wafting out of that black swamp of moral decay that is the Romney campaign and to a greater extent Republican Party politics.
By now most are aware of the misfire heard around the world, Mitt Romney, in the midst of an attack upon American citizens and government officials in the Middle East issuing both a vile and nonsensical attack against the president of the United States before the blood was even dry in Libya. This isn’t a politician with a tin ear: this is a politician with a sheet metal head.
The statement itself was exquisitely nutty, blaming Obama for a statement issued by terrified embassy officials under siege in Cairo, which said in regard to a vicious anti-Muslim film on the internet: “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” Romney accused the statement of, “apologizing for America’s values,” apparently unfamiliar with America’s constitutional and historical legacy of religious tolerance (well, that has been the aspiration at least). Responding to the administration’s direct response to the embassy statement, which likewise condemned religious intolerance yet denounced “violent acts” as unacceptable, Romney then accused the administration of something really awful: sharing his reaction, saying, “The White House also issued a statement saying it tried to distance itself from those comments and said they were not reflecting of their views. I had the exact same reaction.” Altogether now: Huh?
Three things are inescapable: Romney’s morally rudderless opportunism and character defectiveness take the breath away; Romney’s behavior clearly is a product of and reflective of the derangement and mendacity of extremism that has overtaken his party now and the reckless environment into which he has snugly nestled himself; and, this response typifies not only Romney and his campaign’s dysfunction, but is an apt metaphor for the dysfunction to which his party’s extremism has relegated the United States.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.” What indeed is sad and pathetic is that when a Republican official or politician utters a comment as contemptible, un-American and invidious as this it is no longer even surprising. In fact, it’s commonplace. When the chairman of the Republican Party accuses the President of the United States of sympathy with murderers of Americans what you have if you’re a Republican is a party officially around the bend, and a membership and leadership comprised of what are, frankly, unbalanced people.
While in historical terms Romney’s comments will be regarded as an auspicious blunder, for Republicans generally, and even for a nominee already as promiscuous with positions and truth as Romney, in the current environment this type of reckless inanity has simply become reflexive. Deep down in Romney and his campaign operatives’ unseemly brains there quite likely is something like a conviction that there really is a base of far-right full-mooners large enough to elect a president. Such are the perils of assimilating too much from the company they have kept. The inability to understand what a general election audience actually is surely is an epic failure to understand that most of the country really is not saliva-drooling rightist crackbrains.
Romney has certainly done his party the dubious favor of helping to seal in the perception of them among general election voters as a 24/7 suppurating pustule of hot boiling animosity spraying in all directions. If for only that, thank you Mitt.