Romney’s Blunders

By Jamal Kanj

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may have been to Harvard University, but his recurring gaffes suggest he is not ready to be commander-in-chief of the world’s biggest superpower.

It has been an eventful summer of blunders for Romney and company.

Two months before his July public stumbles in England and Palestine, and speaking before a private $50,000 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, Romney declared that 47 per cent of the American electorate were irrelevant.

At the fundraiser, he labelled almost half of Americans as non-tax payers with victim mentality, elaborating that it was not his job "to worry about those people".

That is despite his mother admitting his father was on government welfare as a child.

Romney’s insincerity was further evident when he asked his running mate to furnish the campaign with 10 years of income tax history, while he refused to release more than two years.

In the documents made public, Romney paid less than 15pc income tax, while the average for Americans is typically more than 30pc.

After disregarding 47pc of Americans, Romney declared that Palestinian-Israeli peace is "almost unthinkable to accomplish".

It isn’t a coincidence that this outlook is shared by those on the extreme right of Israeli politics such as Foreign Minister Avigador Lieberman, who proclaimed in December 2010 that peace with the Palestinians "is impossible".

Trying to sound convincing, Romney absurdly equated the Palestine conflict with other long standing, unresolved disputes between Taiwan and China and North and South Korea.

Although all go back several years, it is stupid to suggest the situation in Palestine – an entity under foreign military subjugation – shares any similarities with [sovereign] Pyongyang or Taipei.

By embracing the right wing Israeli viewpoint, neo-conservative presidential advisers have always advocated American and international disengagement – allowing Israel to impose its conditions while ignoring international law by building illegal Jewish-only settlements on occupied land.

Almost a year ago at a Republican debate, Romney pledged that before making important decisions he would call his "friend Bibi Netanyahu" to ask him: "Would it help if I said this? What would you like me to do?"

Romney supposedly met Netanyahu when they worked at Bain Consulting Group in the 1970s.
In the same debate, Romney fondly said that Netanyahu was "not just a friend, he’s an old friend". "We can almost speak in shorthand."

However, his "old friend" Bibi is not so sure. Responding to a Vanity Fair magazine’s question this summer, Netanyahu said: "I don’t think we had any particular connections, I knew him and he knew me, I suppose."

Besides lying about his friendship with Netanyahu, it was remarkable that a US presidential hopeful would publicly commit to let the leader of a foreign country decide US foreign policy.
At every corner Republican pundits come to Romney’s defence and say the Harvard-educated nominee’s statements are "not articulate", "not elegant" or "gaffes".

Parroting his advisers’ remarks is Romney’s main predicament. He lacks ingenuity and, like George W Bush, would let his advisers run the White House.

Such traits are not those of a national leader, but of a man who poses a dangerous threat to America and world peace.

– Jamal Kanj ( writes a weekly column on Arab issues and is the author of “Children of Catastrophe,” Journey from a Palestinian Refugee Camp to America. He contributed this article to (This article was first published by the Gulf Daily News newspaper.)

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