This is unreal. I simply can’t believe we let something like this happen.
The only thing that keeps me from flying into a white-hot rage over the murders of Americans in Libya on 9/11/12 is that I want to find a way to disseminate the information to independent and centrist voters without appearing like I’m a frothing-at-the-mouth conservative Republican. Or like I’m livid that the MSM wants to let nitpicking over the events in Egypt, and Romney’s response, overshadow the far more serious events in Libya . . . and the President’s underreaction thereto.
I’m also aware of the pitfalls in looking like we want to get “bogged down” in the Middle East one more time. There has to be a way of communicating to even the isolationists that we cannot simply “leave” dangerous parts of the world in the way they would like us to—and that being careless about our embassies and personnel abroad is not only an amoral abandonment of our diplomats and armed forces, but truly hurts our international standing.
I actually suspect Romney will be able to strike the balance, because he tends to go for the jugular . . . and the primaries taught him how to do it without losing his cool. He has a thicker skin than the President; he’ll find a way to use that fact.
This diplomatic/security failure should be hammered in the debates—particularly in light of the fact that the President has been skipping his national security briefings over half the time. A habit he continued in the weeks leading up to the anniversary of 9/11.
This isn’t about politically exploiting the murders, but rather reminding people that one of the guys interviewing for the job Leader of the Free World has as troublesome a track record on diplomatic/security issues as he does on economic ones.
Also, my fellow Marine wife Cassandra reminds us that we basically have no details about the murders in Libya . . . so beyond the bad planning of having everyone in an unsecured building on the 11th of September, we don’t know much. We need to keep our powder dry regarding the Ambassador’s death in particular until more reliable reports come in.
But I honestly don’t think the MSM will be able to keep attention off of the Libya incident forever by criticizing Romney’s reaction to the clumsy statement made at our Egyptian embassy . . . particularly since it was indefensible in and of itself.
UPDATE: Moe Lane tries to explain to the President that in the Middle East, Western democracies should adhere to, um, prison etiquette. Which means doing our best to look like a nation that one wouldn’t necessarily want to fuck with.
UPDATE II: Phil Klein has more on the media’s attempts to make this into a “Romney gaffe” (my understanding is that a Romney gaffe these days is anything he says that appears uncomplimentary toward the President):
When Romney gave a press conference Wednesday, the questions focused on whether it was appropriate for him to criticize Obama at the time he did. Romney’s responses didn’t really matter, because reporters had already decided their narrative. Obama did not take any questions in his own press conference moments later.
In 2004, John Kerry routinely attacked President Bush’s handling of Iraq when things weren’t going well in the country. And the media dutifully reported on Bush’s foreign policy blunders in Iraq. But now, instead of scrutinizing Obama’s handling of a foreign policy crisis, the media has decided that the real story in Egypt and Libya is a Mitt Romney gaffe.