Palestinians reacted today with anger to Mitt Romney’s claim in a speech at a Florida fundraiser that they have no interest in peace with Israel.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … JERRY BROWN GEARS UP FOR A BIG ELECTION and PAST POST-PARTISANSHIP?
** QUICK HITS. The Arctic Sea ice kept melting after my post-convention piece on the unmentioned elephant in the room of political/media culture. On Sunday it hit a low of only 24% coverage of the Arctic Sea, 20% less than the previous low reached in 2007. … More rumblings today about Al Qaeda involvement in the attack on 9/11 anniversary attack on the US consulate. Lucky for President Barack Obama that Mitt Romney, following his wildly off-base attack last week, is the boy who cried wolf. … A new Field Poll has Obama moving from an 18-point lead in California to 24 points, 58-34. Obama had a 24-point margin in the Golden State over John McCain in 2008, 61-37.
** HOW ROMNEY SHOULD HAVE ATTACKED OBAMA: ANATOMY OF A GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS. Clearly, there is no shortage of Mitt Romney statements that should be, as the man himself put it in a scrambling press avail before an Orange County, California fundraiser Monday night, more “elegantly stated.” But the only Romney screw-up that particularly concerns me is the only one that will likely matter after the election.
Incidentally, amidst the disaster and tragedy of Benghazi, there is one very large silver lining to the tumult stirred up around the fringe right Christian fundamentalist “movie” attacking Islam: The demonstrations, while furious and widespread, haven’t been very big.
Romney missed a big opportunity last week when he so foolishly and shallowly attacked President Barack Obama after the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt. Because mistakes were made by the Obama Administration, mistakes that matter far beyond the usual vicious campaign ping pong, that call into question Obama’s strategy as he attempts to execute America’s geopolitical pivot from over-engagement with the Islamic world of the Middle East and Central Asia to increased engagement with Asia and the Pacific.
An archive of my pieces related to the Pivot is located here.
Instead of making a ludicrously slipshod attack on Obama for supposedly failing to uphold American values — presumably the value of idiotically attacking a religion and provoking an international crisis — and siding with the protesters who stormed the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt, Romney could have and should have stopped and thought for a moment. Then he should have attacked on a much more obviously relevant set of points.
Why was our consulate in Benghazi — and our popular ambassador to Libya, whose popularity threatened jihadist interests — so lightly guarded on the anniversary of 9/11?
Why hasn’t all of Obama’s vaunted public diplomacy in the Islamic world bought America enough credit to head off wild protests against a truly preposterous little movie?
And, this is related to the second question, what in heaven’s name does Obama think he is accomplishing in Afghanistan?
Admittedly, the third point is something of a reach for a guy like Romney, a reflexive super-hawk whose invariable answer to geopolitical crises is to “get tough,” not that he’s often, if ever, able to explain what that means or how it would work.
Let’s take these one at a time, then analyze where things were and are on the Innocence of Muslims crisis. …
** NEW SURVEY: 2 TO 1 NEGATIVE REACTION TO ROMNEY’S CHARACTERIZATION OF NEARLY HALF THE COUNTRY. A new Gallup Poll survey has bad news for Mitt Romney.
By nearly a 2 to 1 ratio, voters say that his now notorious comments denigrating 47% of Americans as irresponsible losers who will vote for President Barack Obama because they want the government to take care of them make it less likely that they will vote for Romney.
But the good news, as it were, for Romney is that a plurality says it will make no difference.
And you thought that people are a bit weary of the rhetoric.
Yet there is bad news again, for independents also disdain Romney’s attitude by a 2 to 1 ratio. But over half say it makes no difference.
Americans have a more negative than positive immediate reaction to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s comments, secretly caught on video, about the 47% of Americans whom he said are Obama supporters and dependent on the government. Thirty-six percent of voters say Romney’s comments make them less likely to vote for him, while 20% say the remarks make them more likely to vote for him, and 43% say the comments won’t make a difference. …
There are also differences by income in response to Romney’s comments. Those with annual household incomes of less than $24,000 are slightly more likely than average to say the comments make them less likely to vote for Romney (42%). Those making at least $90,000 a year are more evenly split, with 28% saying “less likely” and 24% “more likely.” …
The immediate impact of Romney’s comments appears to be more negative than positive, which suggests that the comments could hurt Romney’s ultimate chances of winning the election. Still, the long-term impact of any news event that flares up in the heat of a presidential campaign is difficult to determine. This is particularly true in today’s more polarized news environment in which audiences of conservative-oriented vs. liberal-oriented media outlets are likely to hear quite different interpretations of the flap, and from different commentators. Regardless, both campaigns will clearly be heavily spinning the story in the days ahead.
Veering off his campaign’s just announced plan to focus on the specifics of his economic policy, conservative Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney today doubled down on defending his attack on President Barack Obama for relying on the support of vast numbers of Americans who supposedly choose government dependency over taking responsibility for their lives.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … HOW ROMNEY SHOULD HAVE ATTACKED OBAMA: ANATOMY OF A GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have received the intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
Obama and Biden then met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
Obama then took part in an Ambassador Credentialing Ceremony in the Oval Office.
Following that, Obama and Biden met for lunch in the Private Dining Room.
Yes to the obvious, conservative Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is continuing to struggle to deal with revelations of his various fundraiser remarks denouncing nearly half of all Americans as supposed free ride junkies who won’t take responsibility for their lives and blah blah which is why they are all voting for Barack Obama. Actually, they are not all voting for Obama, as Romney should know.
But if Romney apologized, he would be torn to shreds by far right media types, who were already lamenting that his campaign was nearly over.
Meanwhile, as his campaign moves to capitalize on Romney’s mistakes — and to defend against Romney’s desperate attempt to use a 14-year old tape in which then state Senator Obama says he favors making government more efficient to justify “redistributionist” policies, aka the progressive tax system — Obama has plenty of crises to monitor and manage.
The crisis over the anti-Islam movie evidently produced by still shadowy right-wing Christian fundamentalists is abating.
But another iteration may spin up anew, for a French weekly chose this moment to publish “satirical” images of a naked Prophet Muhammad.
France has just closed 20 of its embassies anticipating a wild reaction to the obvious provocation.
The US Navy is preparing for a major exercise in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, with a special emphasis on clearing mines. Iran, of course, has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz.
The exercise is set to begin on Thursday.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Beijing, where he met today with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who will become China’s new leader.
Xi had disappeared from public site for the past few weeks, including during Clinton’s Beijing visit earlier this month. A cottage industry of latter-day Kremlinologists has sprung up around the PRC’s largely opaque authoritarian government, attempting to divine meaning from things which may or may not hold meaning. These folks had a field day spinning up various theories about Xi’s disappearance. But now he is back.
Panetta is trying to spin up greater US/PRC military liaison even as the US moves to counter China as it becomes increasingly aggressive in claiming the South China Sea and faces off against Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Panetta is saying that the US is not trying to “contain” China but to “engage” it in new ways so that the two Pacific powers can work better together.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
The retired Space Shuttle Endeavour is on its way from Cape Canaveral, Florida to its new home in California. It’s going to take its time, doing leisurely flybys along the way, starting with today over Houston, Texas. Endeavour will fly over the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento on Friday morning before making its way to Los Angeles. In a few weeks, it will be on display in the California Science Museum there.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
A good day yesterday for Governor Jerry Brown in populous Southern California. (Note to governor: The real dividing line between the northern half of the state in population and its southern half is Wilshire Blvd. in LA.) Brown, working hard to demonstrate reform as he asks Californians to approve temporary tax hikes, signed a major update to the workers compensation system at events in San Diego and LA, joined by business and labor leaders. (Left in the lurch in this bipartisan legislation biz/labor kumbaya are lawyers and doctors in the work comp system.)
Meanwhile, Brown’s would-be initiative rival, heiress Molly Munger, who wants to raise income taxes for virtually all to fund education, put another $5 million into her essentially self-funded initiative drive, bring the total to $47 million. (That’s a little joke. I don’t know off-hand how much she’s spent, and suspect it won’t particularly matter.)
Brown is continuing to go through bills from the recently concluded legislative session.
And he is working on his Prop 30 revenue initiative.
** CONSIDERING THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. … From my September 15th essay.
** WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SINCE 9/11? … From my September 11th essay.
** PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE ELEPHANT: THE CONVENTIONS AND THE CLIMATE. … From my September 8th essay.
** WHILE ONE CLINTON WOWS AT THE OBAMARAMA, ANOTHER PIVOTS TO THE LONG GAME. … From my September 6th essay.
** SO WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED WITH CLINT EASTWOOD? (AND THE PERILS OF ARGUING WITH IMAGINARY OBAMAS). … From my September 4th essay.
** AFTER THE ROMNEYRAMA, AND MORE SERIOUS MATTERS. … From my August 30th essay.
** SPACE, JERRY BROWN’S PLACE, AND A RACE. … From my August 27th essay.
** AN INSULAR ROMNEY STRUGGLES WITH HIS SURPRISINGLY HEARTFELT VEEP PICK AFTER STRIKING OUT INTERNATIONALLY. … From my August 23rd essay.
** RECALLING TOTAL RECALL: INTRIGUE, ULTRA-VIOLENCE, HUMOR AND WHAT ELSE THAT IS MISSING FROM THE SCHWARZENEGGER REMAKES. … From my August 17th essay.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 feature.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th, 2009 Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in major military operations in the region, and the Arab awakening underway, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, 2008, crude oil is trading around $95 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $61 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down about $19 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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