Despite the efforts of the president’s most ardent fans in the blogosphere, his “60 Minutes” train wreck, combined with revelations that the administration was telling a fable — the YouTube video made them do it — until forced to concede the embassy attacks were coordinated, terroristic and anti-American — the first clue should have been the burning flags, anti-American chants and al-Qaeda black flags — the president’s foreign policy stewardship is coming under assault.
Mitt Romney went on attack: “Look, the world looks at the events going on. They don’t see these events as bumps in the road. These are lives. This is humanity. This is freedom. Freedom must be on the march. We must stand for freedom. I see these extraordinary aircraft here and know that behind them are men and women who’ve flown them in peace, in times of danger. They fly them to protect us. They fly to make sure the world is a safer place. American leadership is derived from a strong military, which, by the way, is derived from a strong economy, which is derived from strong values and principles. I will strengthen America by restoring the principles that made us the hope of the Earth!”
According to a Jan Crawford tweet, Romney in a CBS interview also punched back, accusing the administration of “jumping the gun” in concluding (and then repeating for days) that the attacks weren’t coordinated. Well, they did have that one coming.
Tensions run high at the State Department where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s spokesman let loose the f-word in response to normal questioning about the consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Poor Romney aide Rick Gorka got slammed for days for far less when he tried to quiet reporters shouting questions at the Polish Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Walter Russell Mead cracks that the “Middle East mess now so ghastly that even the MSM [is] beginning, gingerly, to ask whether [President Obama] knows what he is doing.” Well, obviously he doesn’t, and has once again shown that without a teleprompter he’s a mess.
Conservatives are lashing out. Former ambassador John Bolton, a Romney adviser who is increasingly taking a leading role as a foreign policy surrogate, put out a statement: “President Obama recently characterized Israel’s concern about the prospect of a nuclear Iran as ‘noise,’ and, to add insult to injury, knocked Israel down a notch to simply ‘one of our closest allies in the region.’ But the fact of the matter is that Israel is without a doubt our closest and most reliable ally in the region. Its concerns about an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon aren’t simply noise; they are central not only to self-preservation and security, but also to peace. These comments offer just the latest indication that President Obama doesn’t fully grasp the seriousness of the foreign policy challenges facing our nation.”
A number of Republican senators are also calling for Obama to set the record straight at the United Nations. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) put out a statement:
In his speech before the UN on Tuesday, President Obama should reiterate the United States’ unwavering resolve to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. He should strongly condemn the ongoing civilian massacres in Syria and single out the governments of Iran, China and Russia as accomplices to Assad’s murderous campaign against the Syrian people. He should renew America’s commitment to our democratic allies and partners in Asia and the peaceful and lasting resolution of entrenched territorial disputes in that region.
In light of the recent attacks against the United States and our interests in the Middle East and North Africa, President Obama should use this platform to make clear to the leaders and citizens of these parts of the world that they are facing a moment of truth. If they want America’s friendship and support in advancing the shared strategic goals of security and prosperity, they will need to act responsibly and speak consistently – in English and Arabic – about the true impediments to a better future. If the Arab Spring is to eventually bring security, freedom, opportunity and prosperity to these nations that have spent decades in darkness under an iron fist, their leaders must be honest with their people about the true nature of freedom and the need to reject radical Islamists and the violence that threatens their futures
In other words, stop pretending we’ve merely hit a “bump in the road.” Sen. John Barrasso (R- Wyo.) took a similar approach.
It is amusing to see so many mainstream reporters and lefty bloggers, who couldn’t get enough of Romney’s comments just after the Egyptian attack, now effectively putting their fingers in their ears and ignoring the news. This is how the lefty blogosphere harms its own candidate, lessening the sense of urgency and giving the White House even more reason to think they’ve got this whole election wired.
We’ll see. If nothing else it is yet another revealing moment of media hypocrisy.