Anyway, I’d like to throw in my two cents on Romney’s most easily demonstrated blunder, his claim that Obama waited two weeks before calling the Benghazi attack an act of terror. Maybe you have to remember the Bush administration to realize just how NOT accidental this blunder was; in at least two ways it went to the heart of the modern right-wing identity.
First, there’s the notion that posturing and talking tough is what it’s all about. Bush, you may recall, was hailed as a fighter against terrorism because he, well, gave tough-talking speeches. I mean, he stood on a mound of rubble and pledged to get Osama dead or alive. Somehow, for his devotees, this made him a hero even though he never got Osama either way, and in fact showed remarkably little interest in pursuing the people actually responsible for 9/11.
And conversely, remember that a large part of Romney’s campaign has been based on the false claim that Obama “apologized for America”. This supposed verbal weakness is supposed to trump the reality that Obama, you know, actually did get bin Laden.
So naturally Romney tried to go after Obama not for what he did or didn’t do, but for his supposed failure to talk tough enough.
But then how did Romney get it so wrong? And if you read the transcript, by the way, Obama was clearly enjoying this — it seems as if he knew what was coming:
MS. CROWLEY: Governor, if you want to reply just quickly to this, please.Amazing. But here’s where the second piece of the right-wing mentality comes in. They know, just know, that Democrats are wimps on national security. Hey, they care about the poor, they have some qualms about torture. So inside the right-wing bubble it’s just a known fact that Obama can’t have called terror by its true name.
MR. ROMNEY: Yeah, I — I certainly do. I certainly do. I — I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed.
MR. ROMNEY: Is that what you’re saying?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please proceed, Governor.
MR. ROMNEY: I — I — I want to make sure we get that for the record, because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Get the transcript.
MS. CROWLEY: It — he did in fact, sir.
So let me — let me call it an act of terrorism — (inaudible) —
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy? (Laughter, applause.)
MS. CROWLEY: He did call it an act of terror.
And so Romney tried to exploit a not-great moment in Obama foreign policy, and ended up making a fool of himself.