Politics

09.14.12

The Common Sense Test

Sorry for the late start this morning. I did a thing on Australian TV. It was great. Just me talking for about 12 minutes. News Night, I think they told me it was called. It was like American TV used to be.

On to new business. Candidates have to say things that just make basic sense, pass a basic bullshit test. On this scale, Obama passed the other day, and Romney flunked.

Obama has been criticized for saying that Egypt is neither ally nor enemy, but he's right, and he was right to say it publicly. So what if TV correspondents are confused? Morsi and the new Egyptian regime needed this shot across the bow: You get in line and protect our people at the very least, pal, or you risk losing billons of dollars.

David Frum agrees:

...from my distance, it looks like the Muslim Brotherhood's President Morsi cares much more about using this incident to consolidate his party's power over Egypt than he does about preserving the US relationship, assuming he cares about that relationship at all.

But a message is being sent from the White House: Muslim Brotherhood policies will not be cost-free for Egypt. The Brotherhood may not care, may even welcome those costs. At least they are being presented with the bill.

That's exactly right. Moreover, I think if you asked most Americans whether the new Egypt was our ally--after you waded through the "what's the new Egypt?" and "what's Egypt?" responses and got to the people with at least a vague grasp of what's happened there--most would say they really didn't know if the new Egypt was our ally. Common sense test passed. Obama expressed what I strongly think is the general view of the American people.

Now we turn to Mitt Romney and foreign policy aide Richard Williamson saying that if Romney had been president, these embassy attacks wouldn't be happening. Right. He'd have stopped that movie. He'd have shown them the iron hand of fear. They'd be singing My Country Tis of Three. And the rain would never fall til after sundown, and by eight the morning fog would disappear (prize to the first to name the reference).

It just doesn't pass the bullshit test. McCain and his aides could have gotten away with saying something like that. But Mitt Romney? Please. The flies of New Hampshire chuckle when they see him approaching with a flyswatter.

Seriously: Again, if you asked the American people if they bought that, most would say maybe, maybe not, but who really knows. I'm talking about centrist, not-very-political voters. Just doesn't ring true. This is a big problem of his, and it's caused by his pathological need to suck up to the right.