Character Issue

09.12.12

Romney, Cairo, and Benghazi: Disgraceful

An American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, is dead, as are three other Libyan embassy staffers; public servants who answered the call for service to their country and the world in one of its most dangerous places, and who paid the ultimate price for it.

And why did they and he--the first US ambassador to be killed on duty since 1979--pay that price? Because of an incendiary movie promoted by stupid bigots. Remember, there was a time when we all agreed that Islam was not our enemy, when George W. Bush went to that mosque not long after 9-11.

 

Watch a clip of the movie 'Muhammed,' which sparked the attacks.

Video screenshot

 

Responsible people would condemn, of course, the violence itself; but also, the idiots who made and promoted the film that sparked this violence. A tragedy like this, once upon a time, especially occurring on an anniversary such as yesterday was, would have found both parties, however superficially, linking arms for a day to show that we're all Americans.

So what did Mitt Romney do? He politicized it of course. He issued a statement blasting the State Department for its statement condemning the film--a statement that was issued before the violence erupted. And he was cutesy about it. The statement was given to the press last night (i.e., still Sept. 11) around 10 pm, but the campaign asked the media to wait until 12:01 am to run with it, so that this partisan attack would technically happen on September 12.

If you want to know what kind of company he put himself in, consider that the only other high-profile Republican so far to try to use these terrible events as proof that Obama hearts Mooslems was Sarah Palin. Nice. And there's Reince Priebus, who tweeted that Obama "sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic." Yep. Sad and pathetic all right, but not in the way he means.

The right-wing outrage here seems to be around the idea that State's initial reaction was to deplore the film rather than the violence. The White House says that statement was not cleared with it. Whatever. All that is just about political point-scoring. Meanwhile, very serious things are happening and people are dead. And all Romney and the RNC can do, all they want to do, all they seem capable of doing, is to try to use these deaths to win the news cycle.

Pressue will mount today on Romney, it's already mounting on the Twitters, to say what he'd do. We know what he's going to say: First of all, I wouldn't apologize for America. Rah rah. But how would he actually manage these events? And will he condemn stupid anti-Muslim bigotry? Not holding my breath for that one.

Once again, the Romney pattern holds: pander to the right, issue an irresponsible statement, before Romney and his people even know whether this violence is going to spread, and prove that they will try to use even the violent deaths of four diplomats to political advantage. This isn't an aberration. We've seen enough to know that this is his character.