Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch
It is the morning of 13 September, about 5:30 ET. The American Embassy in Yemen is currently being breached. Over the past 48 hours, our Egyptian Embassy and our Libyan Consulate were also breached. Our people died, and because those spaces are considered American soil, they are all direct attacks on the US.
There are a lot of geopolitical considerations as we move forward relating to protecting other embassies in the Arab world, retaliation, and how this affects our relationships with countries in the Middle East. Our president, who is diplomat-in-chief, in addition to being Commander in Chief, will have a lot on his plate on this issue in the near future. He is, and will continue to be, thoughtful, and will certainly wait for all the facts before making all sorts of decisions. The one exception is the deployment of additional military to protect our diplomats, which is already underway.
Last night, President Obama talked to Telemundo, and when asked whether Egypt was still an ally said that “[t]hey are not an ally. They are not an enemy. They are a new government.” Read it again. It's an incredibly nuanced answer that speaks not only to the truth of the situation, but also to Mohamed Morsi, who needs to decide where his government is to stand with relation to the US. Mubarek's government was a strong ally, and a recipient of all sorts of aid. The ball is now in Morsi's court.
This is an election year, and our president is also a candidate with an opponent. It is possible that yesterday, through incredible arrogance and stupidity, Mitt Romney not only lost the election, but did a few things that directly harmed the United States.
There's no question that Mitt's remarks were based on faulty information, and that he said them while smirking, showing incredibly disrespect for those Americans who died doing their jobs of trying to protect America. There is also no question that he made his remarks to pander to religious types (Christians and Jews) he thought he could make a play for, and that that was the reason he said what he said. More importantly, he indicated through his words that if he wee president, and an embassy or consulate was surrounded by people attempting to breach, they would not be allowed to put out a statement that basically said (albeit in a slightly ineffective way) “hey, it wasn't us. Please don't kill us.” Romney didn't even understand that “on the ground” presents a different set of circumstances.
But his true loss will likely come from the press. From Paul Krugman:
I’ve seen some comparisons between Mitt Romney’s position right now and that of George W. Bush after the Democratic convention in 2000, and by the numbers there is some resemblance. But what really happened in the final months of that election? The answer — not a popular one with journalists, but very obviously true to anyone who lived through it — was that the press took sides. Reporters liked Bush and didn’t like Gore, and as a result they treated Bush with kid gloves while gleefully passing on every smear against his opponent (“Gore says he invented the internet!” No, he never did).
That probably wasn’t going to happen this time in any case. But now Romney has really ensured that everyone in the news media, the GOP propaganda organs aside, is going to view him with distaste and alarm — as well they should.
It should be noted that even media friends (along with elected Republicans) distanced themselves from Romney's comments, and many (even Kathleen Parker on Fox) repudiated his remarks.
Don't get me wrong: dark money is effective with low information voters. Last night, I had dinner with my Voter Registration co-chair, and she mentioned that a woman had come to the booth on Sunday who “had heard” that the Obama administration had outsourced the counting of all votes in November 6th to Spain. Idiotic on its face, but there it was.
None of this means that we cease boots-on-the-ground for registration and GOTV – it just means that perhaps we now have an ally in the news media.