FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Mitt the Twit

by BINOY KAMPMARK

Mitt Romney is now going about the business of inflating Israeli expectations as being their most staunch of friends.  He had just been in London for the Olympics opening ceremony.  He saw fit, on his visit to Blighty, to comment on the inadequacy of security preparations and for that matter preparations in general.  “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.  There are a few things that were disconcerting.”

To be fair to the dizzy eyed politician (let’s adopt the vernacular – a “wazzock”), this may constitute fair comment – at least in part.  London 2012 has not gone well for the security establishment, and the military has had to be called in not merely to fill a security gap, but empty seats.  Organisation at stages is sketchy, and more of this is bound to surface.

In the words of the nauseatingly smarmy Piers Morgan, CNN’s most insufferable host, “It’s no secret over here that for the last three weeks the security around the Olympics has been a shambles.”  Then, the rub.  “He’s run an Olympics, so I thought he was perfectly entitled to be critical.”

Morgan, having himself swum with the tabloid fraternity, should hardly be surprised by the reaction of his colleagues to Mitt’s reception. And it was strong.  The Sun baptised the Republic politician “Mitt the Twit”, while The Telegraph decided to pinpoint Romney’s tendency for gaffes on the international stage.  The “special” relationship Britain and the US share is evidently not so special to the Republican contender for the White House.  After all, Britain is merely that “small island” that “doesn’t make things that other people in the rest of the world want to buy.”  Those words come straight out of that embarrassing screed No Apology: The Case for America’s Greatness.

The politicians were happy to take a snap of off Romney’s credibility.  Prime Minister David Cameron took a few well aimed shots at a person he would subsequently meet.  “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world.  Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic games in the middle of nowhere.”  Another official fired a salvo into the mix, assessing Romney’s character as being “apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour and sincerity.”

Boris Johnson, the brimming, colourful Mayor of London, happily weighed in as well with a certain Obama-styled echo before 60,000 gathered in Hyde Park.  “There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready.  Are we ready?  Yes we are!”  No one will remember Romney in London – even if things go pear shaped.

Much of the criticism was based, presumably, on Romney’s own aggrandizing role organising the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. That role itself has already taken a battering at the hands of his current supporter Rick Santorum, who dismissed Romney’s efforts as a dear earmark for taxpayers.  John McCain regarded it as “the worst boondoggle in earmark history”.

The tabloid swirl was evidently too much for some commentators.  John Lillpop of the Canada Free Press (Jul 29), a dubious outfit claiming that “because without America there is no Free World” called the reaction a “sophomoric greeting”.  But it is a bit hard not to be sophomoric when a Presidential contender forgets the names of the worthies he meets, most notably the opposition leader Ed Milliband (“Like  you, Mr Leader, I look forward to our conversation this morning.”) Or, for that matter, overlooks the protocol that meetings on secret intelligence briefings are, unsurprisingly, secret.  (Presumably, meetings with “island” officials don’t count.)

Romney’s skills in finding every pothole on the way proved too much even for one of the Olympic Games’ greatest athletes.  “Every Olympics is ready,” explained Carl Lewis, “I don’t care whatever he [Romney] said.  I swear, sometimes I think some Americans shouldn’t leave the country.  Are you kidding me, stay home if you don’t’ know what to say” (Telegraph, Jul 27).

While much of the reaction is farcical and cringe worthy, a point well made is this: Romney is unsteady, confused and markedly misplaced.  Flipping and flopping with great energy, he wanted to calm his hosts and dig his hole deeper with well minted insincerity.  He was, after all, “a guy from Great Britain” who was “married to a girl from Wales.”  “So I feel like this is home too, I guess.”  He has his great-great-grandfather, a carpenter from Preston, to thank for that.  Given the liberal way ancestry is idealised in the US, Romney might well have deluded himself into thinking that made any difference at all.

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail