cartoon by Chan Lowe, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Romney London gaffes (July 27, 2012)

Watching Mitt Romney’s blundering performance through Britain led me to suspect that his behavior may be part of a diabolical, calculated strategy to generate outraged headlines and tweets from overseas, because it plays well with xenophobic rubes in heartland swing states like Ohio. To twist Churchill a little, “Never has so much been said to offend so many in words so few.”

 

In contrast to the slick, urbane current occupant of the White House, who has (so they say) charmed the Europeans by apologizing for America, Romney wants to earn some cheap chops by emulating another go-it-alone, in-your-face cowboy type like Bush 43. Among the British tweets (in addition to, “He’s worse than Sarah Palin”) was this nugget: “We’ve got another Dubya on our hands.” It must have been music to his ears. After all, he needs to play up the Ugly American and throw out some sharp elbows if he wants to get the media to forget about that Olympic dressage horse of his that he won’t be bothering to visit.

 

The test of whether my theory holds water will be this: He’ll clean up his act for Israel and Poland. Why? The religious right loves Israel. Romney needs to calm the evangelicals’ queasiness about his Mormonism and get them out to the polls, so expect him to take a very hard, conservative line and say all the right things.

 

Poland? No sense in offending Polish-Americans in Toledo, Cleveland and Milwaukee. Maybe he’ll make some disparaging noises about their historic enemy, the Soviet Union (oops, he meant Russia, but invoking the USSR reminds us of all those slab-faced socialists lined up along the Kremlin roof).

 

Yes, England was a diplomatic tour de farce, in the Yankee yahoo tradition. He really stuck it to those toffee-noses, didn’t he? Our kind of guy.

 

Thank God France isn’t on the itinerary.