There’s a Huge Difference Between ‘Capable’ and ‘Obnoxious’

Noam Schieber posted the following paragraph buried deep in a piece about Romney's Libya awkwardness and lies.

What was Team Romney thinking? I’m not really sure, but I happened to speak this morning to a senior Romney adviser from a previous campaign who offered his own theory. According to this person, Romney may have been feeling defensive over the hazing he took in Charlotte last week--“my opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy,” the president tweaked him—and was primed to hit back. “They set him up Thursday night at the convention with the smack down on foreign policy,” says the former adviser. “They called him naïve, Palin-esque. Then he got his back up about it and was waiting for opportunity to show, ‘I’m strong, too.’”

That's the big Romney mistake -- and a mistake that most (if not all) Republicans make. They confuse obnoxious loudness with foreign policy expertise.

The opposite of a foreign policy neophyte isn't a scolding jerkass who pops off with saber-rattling platitudes and political attacks. Romney could have been a statesman about the events in Libya and Cairo and appeared dignified -- perhaps qualified in the process, but instead he decided to be a braying dick. Anyone with a lapel pin and a pulse can do that. Braying dickishness doesn't amount to anything resembling international leadership gravitas.

Put another way, Rush Limbaugh thought Romney looked "presidential" yesterday.

I rest my case.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Romney could have been a statesman about the events in Libya and Cairo and appeared dignified — perhaps qualified in the process, but instead he decided to be a braying dick.

    That’s the central flaw in his character. Romney can’t assess any situation without thinking about how it relates to his personal benefit. What normal people saw as a tragic event, the smirking bastard saw it as a chance to score some points and get some payback for the “tweaking” he took in Charlotte.

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Remember when Republicans actually practiced realpolitik? That was a long, long time ago.

  • bphoon

    Put another way, Rush Limbaugh thought Romney looked “presidential” yesterday.

    I rest my case.


    It’s really interesting to me–and a point you made yesterday–that just about the only people outside the Romney/Ryan campaign who are supporting Mitt in this are Sarah Palin, Rience Priebus and Rush Limbaugh. Charles Krauthammer was quoted on as saying that “…the substance of what Romney said was absolutely right,” but that he did it in the wrong way–kind of a half-endorsement.

    Each one of these people is routinely wrong on a factual basis, so that’s telling to me. Hell, even numbskulls like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell knew enough to issue muted, generically patriotic statements yesterday…

  • BuffaloBuckeye

    I have a question for the readers. What exactly propelled Mitt to his fiancial success at Bain, aside from playing off his Dad’s name? I ask, because his campaign, particularly recently, have smacked of sheer dumbassness, which is a reflection of the Head Guy. Before I went out on my own, I had +35 years in Corporate World, and I can’t imagine anyone as inert as Mitt doing well unless there was some non-merit underpinning. Thank you.

    • Well, in my experience the really successful businessmen that actually earned their money via merit seem to fall into two categories: 1) the nice, likeable ones who relied on those personality characteristics to influence people combined with an incredibly strong work ethic, 2) the absolutely ruthless, miserly ones. The majority of them were category 2 (and the more money they had the more this was true). Now that doesn’t mean the people in category 2 can’t be personable. In fact, they often are hiding their sociopathic personality behind that “playing nice” mask.

      I don’t think that Mitt truly earned his money. He had stocks as a child and with which he later paid for his college education. Starting with that kind of basis it would be harder to become poor than it would be to become richer, if you know what I mean. BUT if he did earn any of it via merit? He fits right into category 2. The thing about Mitt is that he’s had his whole life to build up that mask (since his father was so much in the public eye) and he STILL can’t convince Americans that he has a soul (or ethics or anything resembling a living, breathing person).

      • BuffaloBuckeye

        Thanks Irishgrrrl, that makes sense. Interesting comment about the Romney mask as well; hell, he’s been running for President for how many years, and recently his campaign has put forth an effort for the votin’ public to ‘get to know Mitt’. Seriously?

    • He had a strong network of connections from 3 primary sources:

      – his prep school (Cranbrook) and Harvard

      – his father’s contacts and friends

      – the Mormon church

      He worked at Bain for some time before he took control.

      Adding……Mitt had “perceived power” via his father. That can make a huge difference.

  • In fairness, anything white would look “presidential” to Limpballs and his mouthbreathing minions.

  • chris castle

    There’s an inherent disadvantage to not being the incumbent in a POTUS race in that IF a crisis arises that gives the POTUS the opportunity to be “presidential” as they say, like yesterday, the challenger simply has to suck it up and deal with it appropriately, which is the opposite of what Romney has done and exactly what McCain did four years ago, when Obama wisely did not suspend his campaign during the financial crisis.

  • rob black

    When the only tool in your box is a hammer, treat every problem like a nail.
    The delicate, nuanced science of foreign policy through diplomacy, got thrown out the door the second “W” took office, and will never be used by any republican administration again.
    It was replaced by jingoistic, bumper sticker sloganeering in public, and threats of aid withdrawal or military intervention in private. It is the reason the world hated us so when they had power….and will hate us again if they get it back.
    A Romney administration’s treatment of foreign policy would be exactly like his campaign: Feckless, maladroit and dangerous. A sociopathic, neocon wet dream

  • Republicans have a binary mindset. Just like every economic problem is cured by tax cuts, every foreign policy reaction is bellicosity. What you just described is bully behavior where you feign strength but it only shows you are weak. Of course we know Romney and Bush before him are just classic bullies. But that being said even Bush knew you did not fan the flames in the Muslim world in cases like these.