A Flea in the Fur of the Beast

“Death, fire, and burglary make all men equals.” —Dickens

Romney’s Real Foreign Policy Problem, Part II

by evanmcmurry

A very long time ago, I wondered if Mitt Romney’s disastrous foreign policy trip—which included insulting our closest ally and making denigrating essentialist arguments about Palestinians—might have gone a little better had he not fired Richard Grenell, one of his top foreign policy advisors, for being gay:

This is another case of the GOP’s conservative bent screwing Romney coming and going: not only must Romney maintain unrealistic foreign policy positions to appease the neo-con sections of his base, but he must do so without the help of qualified advisors, who could perhaps instruct him on how to thread on issues like the Middle East, because of a stupid cultural litmus test. Having to either hold dumb positions or work without qualified advisors would be bad enough for Romney; having to do both is so difficult you almost feel bad for the guy.

What we’ve seen over the past few days—i.e., God giving Mitt Romney an October September Surprise and Romney bungling it so badly that even conservatives are lambasting him—is simply an intensified version of the above. You have an advisor like Richard Grenell precisely to stop you from doing what Mitt Romney did Tuesday night, which I bet was exactly what Mitt Romney was thinking Wednesday morning: “Why oh why did they make me get rid of the guy who would be saving my ass right now?”

But I just put this stuff out there. Wonkette wondered the same question aloud on Twitter. The Man Himself Richard Grenell was not amused.

Proof Bill Clinton Could Sell Igloos To Eskimoes, Elevators To One-Story Buildings, Etc.

by evanmcmurry

Greg Sargeant notes* that a new Spanish language Obama ad explicitly makes the claim that the economy is “recovering,” something the Obama campaign has been hesitant to do for fear of seeming out of touch with voters still feeling the brunt the recession.

What changed? A little speech by one Bill Clinton:

There are signs that voters may be growing more open to this argument, in the wake of Bill Clinton’s convention speech, which spelled it out very effectively. As MSNBC’s First Read crew notes this morning, the new NBC/WSJ polls in Florida, Ohio and Virginia show a jump in the number who think we’re on the right track, to oer 40 percent. [sic]

The NBC team attributes this to Clinton’s argument: “No president — not me or any of my predecessors — could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving, and if you’ll renew the president’s contract you will feel it.” Clinton, of course, will continue to play a key role in trying to make swing voters feel better about the direction of the economy.

 That’s obviously a pretty big assumption—I don’t now how NBC found a causal connection between Clinton’s speech and the change in numbers—but I have no problem buying it, either. It sure wasn’t Obama’s speech that did effected the change, nor was it the wan jobs report that followed the next morning.

You may also enjoy this drink with an irony back: Republicans talked up Bill’s speech, expecting him to overshadow Obama, and remind people of the good times they enjoyed under his presidency that Obama has been unable to replicate. No such luck!

As a side note, a lot of people before and during the conventions made the dismissive argument that “conventions no longer matter.” I wonder how those authors feel now. Obama received a pretty sizable bump from the convention that has yet to fade; more important, he now polls even with Romney on who would better handle the economy, effectively neutralizing Romney’s one strength. Add on the above change in the “right track” metric, and I bet we will look back on the DNC as the moment the election slipped once and for all from Romney’s grasp.

* Link feature not working for some reason; maybe it needs a tax cut.