On April 19, 2012 Mr. Romney gave a speech on the economy in a vacant drywall factory property, blaming the President for job losses. A lovely background indeed, except for one little, but important detail — “The factory actually closed in June 2008, seven months before Obama took office. And during the Obama administration, unemployment has actually fallen in Ohio from 8.6 percent in January 2009 to 7.6 percent in February 2012.” [TW] (emphasis added)
But, but, but, sputtered the Republican spinmeisters, the economy has been struggling for the last three years — yes, does that mean the President and his Administration hasn’t been cleaning up the Bush Administration’s mess fast enough? Be that as it may, one job — either in the advance team or the Romney scheduling brigade — might well be open.
The Romney Campaign continued lurching through April. On April 26, 2012 one of Mr. Romney’s top foreign policy advisers, Pierre Prosper stumbled on another brick in the road.
PROSPER: The United States has become a spectator on issues of national security. We’ve also been embarrassed by North Korea where again it continues to be a conciliatory leaning forward approach and yet the North Koreans will launch a missile surprising the United States by violating their agreement.
You know Russia is another example where we give and Russia gets and we get nothing in return. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia, yet Russia does nothing but obstruct us, or efforts in Iran and Syria. (emphasis in original) [TP]
First, was anyone surprised the North Koreans attempted to launch a missile? Was anyone particularly surprised when the 100th Founder’s Birthday Celebratory missile broke into pieces over the Yellow Sea? Was anyone surprised the North Koreans broke a promise? The Department of State didn’t seem “surprised,” rather more annoyed:
Despite the failure of its attempted missile launch, North Korea’s provocative action threatens regional security, violates international law and contravenes its own recent commitments. While this action is not surprising given North Korea’s pattern of aggressive behavior, any missile activity by North Korea is of concern to the international community. The United States remains vigilant in the face of North Korean provocations, and is fully committed to the security of our allies in the region. [USEmbassy](emphasis added)
Moving right along. The Romney Campaign’s foreign policy adviser obviously didn’t get the memo, or read the newspapers in September 2009, when the Obama Administration announced:
“The “new missile defense architecture in Europe … will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack than the… program” that former President George W. Bush proposed, Obama said. Obama said the change of gears was based on an “updated intelligence assessment” about Iran’s ability to hit Europe with missiles.”
The Secretary of Defense continued: “This new approach provides a better missile defense capability for our forces in Europe, for our European allies and eventually for our homeland than the program I recommended almost three years ago,” said Gates, who was defense chief in the last two years of the Bush administration and stayed on when Obama took office.The Bush-era proposal called for the U.S. to set up a radar site in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland to counter the threat of Iran launching long-range missiles at America’s allies in Europe.” [CNN]
The Romney foreign policy “expert” either didn’t know the shift in Pentagon plans suggested circa 2006, or wants the U.S. to revert to a system already declared inadequate. Maybe there’s a job opening here? BTW, Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed since January 1993 — the old missile defense plan called for placement in the Czech Republic. The new hire should have a solid grasp of place name geography?
May 1, 2012: Visiting NYFD’s Ladder 5 & Engine 24 is a nice thing. However, doing it on the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death combined with commentary saying, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order,” Romney said, referencing the former president in his answer to a reporter’s question after a campaign appearance in New Hampshire,” [WNYC] and then making the visit with former NYC Mayor Rudy “Noun, Verb, 9/11” Giuliani equates to a multi-layered Gaffe-A-Matic mixed message. Even Jimmy Carter? The Jimmy Carter who did pull the trigger:
“In the spring of 1980, Carter ordered a helicopter rescue attempt – one that ended disastrously and left an indelible scar on his presidency. Two of the eight helicopters developed problems on the way to a remote desert landing spot and had to turn back; a third had a hydraulic problem after landing. Carter canceled the mission but during the withdrawal, a helicopter collided with a C-130 transport plane, resulting in eight deaths.” [HuffPo]
Yes, Jimmy Carter DID give the order for Operation Eagle Claw, and no, it did not work out well, no better than a subsequent “Black Hawk Down,” order. The order that was NOT given was at Tora Bora. An applicant for Mr. Romney’s security adviser position may want to read the U.S. Special Operations Command’s report “1987-2007” (pdf).
A new adviser may also want to be aware when making light of former President Carter’s alleged “softness” on defense, that the former President was a graduate of the Naval Academy, served on the USS Wyoming testing electronic and gunnery equipment, served on the team developing the first nuclear submarine (K-1), and retired from the Navy in 1953. “After his father’s death in 1953, Carter resigned from the Navy to return to Georgia to manage the family interests. Carter was honorably discharged on 9 October 1953 at Headquarters, Third Naval District in New York City. On 7 December 1961, he transferred to the retired reserve with the rank of Lieutenant at his own request. ” [USNavy]
Those who have not served would do well not to be dismissive of the service of others. The new hire in the Romney campaign office would do well to remember this maxim.
And, now coming full circle, the Romney campaign will shift back to “The Economy” with a speech in northern Virginia, “the switch back to the economy on Wednesday allowed Romney to focus on his strengths as a businessman — a core message of his campaign.” [TheHill]
Oh, yes, by all means, let’s return to the “economy,” wherein we bump into the Romney Fiscal Fantasy Plan:
“The Romney campaign has been very clear about what the former governor is promising: $5 trillion in tax cuts on top of extending the Bush tax cuts, with those benefits heavily weighted toward the country’s wealthiest taxpayers. Romney himself has acknowledged the lack of details, stating in reference to his tax plan that “frankly, it can’t be scored.” I have been party for many years to searches for “high-income tax shelters” that can feasibly be closed. I know of no reputable expert in either political party who would find that there is anything even approaching $5 trillion in potential revenue to be generated from this source.” [Summers, WaPo]
Maybe a new tax policy adviser needs to get on board? A new economic adviser? Someone in the Romney Campaign needs the ability to spin straw into gold in order to explain how the Predator’s Ball of Bain Capital danced around the issue of off-shoring and job elimination:
“… the firm had made a lot of money while closing factories, eliminating jobs, using tax-sheltered offshore accounts, and, in some cases, driving the companies it had bought into bankruptcy. “Bain Capital is the model of how to leverage brain power to make money,” Howard Anderson, a professor at M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management, told the Globe. “They are first rate financial engineers. They will do everything they can to increase the value. The promise (to investors) is to make as much money as possible. You don’t say we’re going to make as much money as possible without going offshore and laying off people.” [NewYorker]
And so, the Romney Campaign blithely blunders into May. We’ll have to wait to see if it “creates” any more jobs.
Update: May 2, 2012 the Romney campaign announces the resignation of Richard Grenell from their foreign policy team, seems he’s gay… [WaPo]