Romney was right, and the comment thread freakout at TNR

I like Mitt to this day, but I accept that the people spoke (damnit) and that the people are largely wise.

What was grating at the time, and lingers, is that liberals reserve for themselves the right to critique for stupidity and obtuseness.  Some liberals do this with a complete lack of self awareness for their own stupidity and obtuseness.

Mitt could not be called stupid the way W was called stupid, because Mitt had the superficial appearance of being smart in a way that W did not.  But Mitt got called obtuse or uninformed a bit anyway, particularly on this ‘geopolitical foe’ bit.

So Romney was right.  This is obvious.

Most TNR article comment threads get about 5 comments.

With this comment thread freakout, it shows a cohort that’s stuck on denial as a stage of grief.  Liberals will never admit Romney could be right and that Pres. Obama might be limited to merely mundane above average intellect and thought.

Accept, people.  Geez.


20 thoughts on “Romney was right, and the comment thread freakout at TNR

  1. pm1956

    First, Mitt Romney’s comments were pretty vague–he seems to have some unique definition of of what constitutes a ” number one geo-political foe”, which, as far as I can tell, is the “foe” that opposes the US on the largest number of geo-political issues–not a strength argument, but a numbers argument. Given the difficulty of debating such an ill-defined term, I’ll pass.

    But, more importantly, i find a lot of the criticism about Obama on the subject of Russia and the Crimea to be profoundly ill-informed. Generally, it is clearly more about animus towards Obama and not really based on a clear understanding of geo-politics (which i think is also true, generally, of Romney’s comments, above).

    For a good (i.e., informed), conservative critique of the critiques of Obama, see the following:

      1. pm1956

        Personally, i think that most of the TNR writers/editors tend to be neocon hacks who think that Obama is a pansy because he isn’t bombing Iran–therefore he is always suspect on all foreign affairs issues, and any time they can accuse him of being “weak”, they will. That is their preferred meme/world view.

        I used to read TNR all the time, but have generally stopped because of their predictability on any issue touching (no matter how peripherally) on Israel. There is no objectivity there.

  2. pm1956

    another interesting piece on current international tensions:

    ending quote:
    “The best thing one can say about Obama’s foreign policy is that by moving to end the financially draining wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, so far, avoiding a new one in Iran, he has left the U.S. better positioned for this new era than it was when he took office. Which is good, since this new era is likely to be more dangerous, both for America and the world, than the last.”

  3. pm1956

    here is an interesting piece by noted cold warrior Pat Buchanan:

    “With Vladimir Putin’s dispatch of Russian troops into Crimea, our war hawks are breathing fire. Russophobia is rampant and the op-ed pages are ablaze here. Barack Obama should tune them out, and reflect on how Cold War presidents dealt with far graver clashes with Moscow.

    When Red Army tank divisions crushed the Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956, killing 50,000, Eisenhower did not lift a finger. When Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall, JFK went to Berlin and gave a speech. When Warsaw Pact troops crushed the Prague Spring in 1968, LBJ did nothing. When, Moscow ordered Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski to smash Solidarity, Ronald Reagan refused to put Warsaw in default. These presidents saw no vital U.S. interest imperiled in these Soviet actions, however brutal. They sensed that time was on our side in the Cold War. And history has proven them right.

    What is the U.S. vital interest in Crimea? Zero.”
    I find it hard to believe that i am in general agreement with Pat Buchanan, but on this issue, I am.

    I expect that Rand Paul would also agree, but I have not yet heard anything from him (perhaps because McCain and Graham are being such loudmouths. I have to say that Graham’s “Benghazi” comments were particularly stupid)

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      Sure, this not incorrect or imprudent. But it does not obviate Romney’s remarks at the time, which were also not incorrect or imprudent. But Romney’s remarks were widely castigates as dumb.

      But I get it. President Obama does a lot of posturing, and his folks are dispositioned or trained to argue that whatever posture he makes is truth. And if the position or observation has to change, that can all be conveniently forgotten so that his new posture can be sold..

  4. pm1956

    Ummm, about your irony watch….

    “But I get it. Mitt Romney does a lot of posturing, and his folks are dispositioned or trained to argue that whatever posture he makes is truth. And if the position or observation has to change, that can all be conveniently forgotten so that his new posture can be sold..”

    substitute a name, and your behavior looks like….what? After all, President Obama’s remarks are frequently castigated as traitorous, weak, etc., by the Faux News crowd, or idiots like Senator Graham.

    If you want to credibly make the point that Obama’s supporters are knee jerk responders and not independent thinkers (and that point can certainly be made about some of them), then you have to NOT do the same thing yourself wrt Romney. Sure, it is easy to say the Romney’s remarks are the time were “not incorrect”, but that is an awfully low bar. Certainly his remarks were NOT insightful or thoughtful or clear or meaningful. They really don’t even rise to the level of being Presidential. And, for that matter, Romney did not rise to that level himself. Nor did McCain. The GOP has been losing national elections because they do not have good quality candidates. And, frankly, the Tea Party makes it really really hard for any serious good quality candidates to come to the fore. Just look at how Romney had to tie himself into all sorts of knots wrt to Obamneycare and the Detroit bailout, just to get the nomination. He was doomed from the start. And it was the rhetorical knots that made him look ridiculous and stupid, because they were ridiculous and stupid–yet they were also necessary for him to secure the nomination. Doesn’t matter how smart he might really be–he acted stupid and said stupid things and defended stupid positions when it counted.

  5. pm1956

    Red meat for you, erik:

    Chait ventures into foreign policy territory.

    I think that Chait’s exposition is a good one, and is an excellent explication of Obama’s practical and pragmatic foreign policy. Most of Obama’s critics are silly and nothing but bluster–“Strength” they shout, as if shouting was a display of strength. Fools. Sadly, those fools would be the ones guiding a Romney Administration foreign policy–and we can be thankful that the current President is not Bush or McCain or Romney, because we’d be heading into another disaster (Iraq and Afghanistan) right about now.

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      What’s there to be thankful for? I doubt that a McCain or Romney presidency carried with it much foreign affairs risk.

      I’m in over my head with foreign policy, and I won’t dare to write about it at length like you. But, I think I can confidently assert a couple deficiencies with Obama foreign policy.

      Vacillation: Syria, Iraq, Afghansistan
      Executive overreach: Libya, drones
      Gross hypocrisy that for a Republican would destroy a President’s moral authority: Drones. I’ve alluded to this before, I have some sense of what it means to be a real dove, and in what ways doveishness is good. For a guy like to the President to come out of the peace and social justice movement and embrace the military state, this is an enormous character / competence issue.

      As well, I think its fair to say there’s something to peace through strength, an aggressive psouer being something of a deterrent. I don’t think we have it. What we do have it ‘realism’, and its not a deterrent because it’s a completely reactive approach.

      1. pm1956

        If you are looking for any kind of a deterrent, you certainly won’t find that in Rand Paul–how do you reconcile your support of him with your criticisms of Obama?

        And I do not see anything wrong with being reactive–the whole idea of realism is to be proactive where it affects your few, vital interests, and reactive everywhere else–and i can’t see any set of circumstances where the Crimea or Ukraine would be considered our vital interests.

        See, i think that the complainers (McCain, Graham, almost every elected GOP official) is being reactive–they will say anything to criticize Obama. This particular criticism is ridiculously unfair–this whole situation was unpredictable.

        What happened was that Russia suffered a major loss with the ouster of Yanukovich, in an area of vital interest to Russia. The popular unrest and Yanukovich fleeing was totally unpredictable, and a surprise to everyone. So Putin decided to act to preserve Russia’s vital interest–the main naval base of the Black Sea fleet, in the Crimea..

        Putin and Russia don’t have a win here–they suffered a major defeat in Ukraine, and have only partially redeemed it by their actions in Crimea. If you criticize Obama because he “lost” Crimea, then it seems to me that you have to credit him for “winning” Ukraine–all in all, a major plus for Obama and a defeat for Putin.

  6. Erik Petersen Post author

    The nature of my reconciliation is:

    It appears Rand does not entirely embrace the Ron Paul worldview. Which is good. And there are tradeoffs. Most people don’t get to vote for a candidate that’s 100% aligned with them.

    Are there any legitimate criticisms of Obama that you can acknowledge, in any area?

  7. pm1956

    I love that Paul Ryan’s way for Obama to pressure Putin into getting out of Crimea is to approve the Keystone Pipeline….I’m sure that will have Putin shaking in his boots!

    (*yeah, i know, kind of a cheap shot–but it makes the point that even Obama’s critics really can’t come up with anything significant that he can do about the situation in the Crimea. I mean, we could send in the navy, or use nuclear weapons, or try to get boots on the ground …. establish a no fly zone…. But seriously, our realistic options are limited, so what really makes us look weak is all of the bluff and bluster and fake tough talk coming from McCain and Graham and Hillary (although she is now trying to backtrack from her first comments that compared Putin to Hitler))

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      It’s fairly flip by Ryan, but here’s a logic there, and I think a sound one… that the scale and plentifulness of our oil and gas production puts a downward pressure on prices and thus puts a downward pressure on the revenues of our nemesis around the world.

      1. pm1956

        Except that:

        “However, Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations explains that, as convenient as that solution may seem, there are several complicating factors. First being the fact that “decisions about whom to export to and import from are made by commercial entities, not by governments.” Because, as Levi points out, it is far more profitable for buyers of U.S. natural gas to ship it to Asia (where prices are higher) and in light of the fact that Russian natural gas is a relatively low-cost option for Europe, “it is difficult to see how U.S. exports will substantially erode the long-run share of Russian gas in Europe.”
        And second is the issue of infrastructure. “Surging natural gas into Europe to respond to a crisis requires that there be infrastructure in place that can accommodate that surge,” Levi writes. Because demand for gas is seasonal, new LNG import infrastructure would be underutilized during some parts of the year — making it a tough sell for profit-seeking companies.”


        personally, i am not opposed to more exports of LNG from the US, but to connect that to the current crisis in Crimea is BS–pure political opportunism and theater. The one will have little to no impact on the other–mostly because they will be decided in far different time frames. Connecting them in any way is simply an intellectual fantasy. But, that is what politicians do. I think that decisions about exporting LNG should be based on economics and safety and mostly domestic concerns (jobs, the impact on the environment, impact on the economy, etc) and not temporary and fleeting concerns about geo-politics. That gets us into being more like Russia, and I do not think that our goal is to emulate Russia–rather, our goal should be to have Russia emulate us.

        Why is Russia our nemesis, as opposed to China?

      2. Erik Petersen Post author

        I don’t think that obviates anything. It’s a world market, you figure the spot prices and consumption on regional exchanges are affected by the prices on other exchanges.
        But yeah, Ryan was flip. It’s a tangential point, it’s not persuasive.

  8. pm1956

    BTW, what prompted you to use the map, above?

    i know that you put it up there before Ukraine and Crimea became issues…..

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      It was a confluence of whimsical contemplations at the time weeks ago. Sochi Olympics, Coates wrting about the Holodomor, this guy Clark with his study on hereditary class determinism and his focus on Sweden. And then, you go to look at an actual map and it isn’t really the way you understand the geography in your minds eye. I speak for myself, but I think that’s universal. So the map was to burn the correct geography into my brain a little more permanently.

      Ironic timing.

  9. pm1956

    The whole flip out by the GOP/Conservative side on this crimea thing really exposes some fundamental truths about their obsessions with Obama. One minute Obama is a dioctator, shredding the constitution, ignoring the wishes and desires of the other co-equal branches of government, and the next he is an ineffectual, feckless imbicile, incapable of leadership, being taken to the cleaners by Putin, who demonstrates leadership because he runs riot over everyone else.

    You do see the irony here, don’t you?

    If not, check out the Jon Stewart piece:


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