Huge Moment

Reactions on the Right--Funny, Tragic

09.12.12 5:26 PM ET

It's amusing to read, in the press and on the twitters and in the previous comment threads, how conservatives are trying to deflect this catastrophe.

First, there's the timeline question. Barry64 seems to think he's refuting me but he is not refuting me on the key point when he writes: "Here’s the actual order of events: 1) U.S. diplomats in Cairo shamefully apologize more or less preemptively for private U.S. citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in a way that “hurts thereligious feelings” of Muslims."

His editorializing aside, he acknowledges that the first statement was issued "more or less" preemptively. I guess he throws that "more or less" in there to soften it. But the fact is that the "apology" to our "attackers" was issued before the attack! Andrea Mitchell has been saying for this hour that the original statement was issued six hours before the attack. Mitchell has sources like crazy in foreign policy, so if she says it, I believe it.

But even if that weren't the case, Romney still behaved horribly here in a number of ways. Conservatives have to know this. I've seen pundits of the right tweeting that we've always had foreign policy disputes with candidate attacking incumbent. Kerry attacked Bush in 2004 on Iraq. On policy, sure. But I don't recall him ever seizing on a specific tragedy, specific deaths of specific Americans, and trying to use it for political gain before the bodies were even identified.

Come on, folks. Imagine that McCain were president, and this happened, and Democratic candidate X behaved as Romney behaved. The right would be apoplectic. And you can believe me or not believe me, but I can guarantee that I would not be defending Democrat X. Career diplomats serve presidents of both parties and are not political, and one must respect that if nothing else.

Some of you write, oh Tomasky can be dismissed because he just wants Obama to be reelected. That I do, for a host of reasons, but pretty high on my list is my belief, which I've held since 2007 and with redoubled passion since watching him more closely last year, that Mitt Romney is characterless and unprincipled and just can't be the president. The last 16 hours have played out almost as if he sat down after dinner and said to Ann, "Now, how can I prove Mike Tomasky right?"

Andrew's conclusion is mine:

These people are simply unfit for the responsibility of running the United States. The knee-jerk judgments, based on ideology not reality; the inability to back down when you have said something obviously wrong; and the attempt to argue that the president of the US actually sympathized with those who murdered his own ambassador in Benghazi: these are disqualifying instincts for someone hoping to be the president of the US. Disqualifying.