A Romney Moment?

Perennial Presidential candidate George Romney's defining moment, however unfairly, was when he said in 1967 he'd been “brainwashed” about the Vietnam War. It followed the sometime Michigan Governor around for the rest of his long and endlessly diminishing political life.

Like father, like son? Forty years later George's son Mitt, also a former Governor, is running for the GOP nomination. And he just said something really weird:

In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.

I don't care if he's tripping, or getting his information from watching French sex comedies, but surely this level of ignorance about Europe ought to disqualify someone from serious consideration for national office?

Or, is it really the case that in the modern GOP this sort of ignorance about Europe — especially France — almost serves as a platform?

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5 Responses to A Romney Moment?

  1. Seth Gordon says:

    Cf. this Boston Globe article from February about a leaked campaign-strategy PowerPoint deck:

    Enmity toward France, where Romney did his Mormon mission during college, is a recurring theme of the document. The European Union, it says at one point, wants to “drag America down to Europe’s standards,” adding: “That’s where Hillary and Dems would take us. Hillary = France.” The plan even envisions “First, not France” bumper stickers.

  2. Lou says:

    Romney’s comment sounds more like a calculated attempt to use France as a foil in his campaign, which, as the first comment pointed out, was a key feature of a strategy memo leaked last winter to the Boston Globe.

    The memo from the Romney camp heaping calumny on France was a big story late last year, particularly in Massachusetts. In the former state that Romney governed, political junkies have watched with horror as Romney has in equal measure swerved hard starboard on every position he espoused in the 2002 campaign to curry favor with Republican activists. At the same time, he has consistently used Massachusetts as a foil for the Catkills-level humor he has employed to “get over” with Republican nativists across the country (Example: Being a Republican in Massachusetts is like being a cattle rancher at a vegetarian’s convention — Funny stuff, huh?).

    The New Republic had a terrific riff with further suggestions about how the Romney campaign would insert France into the campaign. The piece included this sarcastic gem:

    “We’re told from a reliable source that Hillary Clinton recently attended a reception where a pianist played Debussy’s Claire de Lune, a notoriously French piece. Emphasize Romney’s strong distaste for French composers, including Debussy, Saint-Saens, Ravel, and especially “Les Six.”

    The rest of the piece poking fun at Romney’s ridiculous (and calculated) cultural chauvinism can be found at this link:

    In the end, Romney is an oleanginous fraud. Always has been. Always will be.

  3. Shawn says:

    Mitt Romney is the Republican version of Hillary Clinton. He is contrived and will say anything to get elected. Unfortunately, he still says crazy things.

  4. Lou says:

    Romney is considerably more contrived and manipulative than Sen. Clinton. Many of Sen. Clinton’s positions appear to be out of genuine conviction, but the same cannot be said of Romney — at least in the last two years or so.

    For example, Sen. Clinton has more or less stuck with her position that voting for the war in 2002 was correct, even though the war is now an atrocious failure that must end. I don’t think Romney would ever espouse a position, such as saying a vote for the war was correct, that is wildly out of step with the base of his party in the same way that Sen. Clinton has. He would simply change his position.

    Quite frankly, I think Romney makes Sen. Clinton look quite steadfast in her positions. With that said, she’s certainly not my choice for nominee.

  5. Jules_B.M. says:

    As Gene McCarthy said, following Romney pere’s remarks, “I would have thought a light rinse would have been sufficient.”

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