Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mitt Can't Get It Right

Easy trip to prove foreign-policy bona fides. Friendly nations: check. Happy events: check (well, the Olympics, if not Tisha b'Av). Easy issues: check (in Britain and maybe Poland; Romney may think the issues around Israel are easy). So what continues to go wrong?

Right now The Twitter is going wild with Dan Senor's statement that - what? - the US may join with Israel in a strike on Iran? Maybe not. The words are hard to parse, but definitely further in that direction than the official US policy has gone. I won't parse it here - others have done that. This came after the announcement that the press would be excluded from Romney's fund-raiser at the King David Hotel. Something wrong with pretty much every noun in that sentence, but we'll plow on with the question of why.

I've had bosses about whom I've said that if they would randomly guess what their next move needs to be, we would all benefit. Random would imply something like being wrong only half the time, but some geniuses manage to run a real streak of wrong.

I've been thinking that being a boss (and only a boss, in jobs that may have had more to do with his ancestry than capabilities) is part of Romney's problem here. Bosses are always right. Jhaber and respondents at Kevin Drum's blog point this out: it's the underlings, advisers in this case, who are always wrong. Operating in that mode brings on stupidity and group-think. We are the Masters of the Universe!

But there's got to be more to it than this. Dan Senor has been in government, although those who have chosen him are not among my heroes. He should know what kinds of thing can and can't be said, unless that group-think has set in. And contributing to that group-think would be the influence of the Republican Party and its primaries, with the convention still to arrive.

The Tea Party and neocons have made clear their preferences: war with Iran, as soon as possible. Think about nukes, and by god, we'll bash you! That'll show them! This is consistent with the preferences of the defense contractors, who are frightened by the Republican-desired sequester. Hard for them to figure out a strategy, but probably quick gains through a war look good when the longer term looks bad. I'm wondering what angle of this looks good to the banksters: $200 a barrel oil, or higher, would tank the world economy. They probably have themselves covered and are shorting the US, if that looks profitable.

So Mitt's pretty hemmed in. He's enlisted the war advisors. He still has to please the bloodthirsty delegates to the Republican convention. And his old friend Bibi, who said he really didn't recall the guy from their consulting days, would be displeased with anything less than a backing of his plans for war, so Mitt's rich backers, like Sheldon Adelson, might take their money elsewhere.

Where is not clear. There's no clear Tea Party favorite in the wings, and Newt, Adelson's previous favorite, doesn't seem likely. Sarah Palin might be a brokered choice.

I'm looking forward to popping a lot of popcorn the end of August.

Cross-posted at The Agonist.

1 comment:

Karen Street said...

WaPo's In the Loop thinks there may be a connection between the number of gaffes, and the number of advisors Obama took 4 years ago (14 top staffers and advisors) and the number Romney took (3 senior staffers).