Gaffes? I don’t think so.
If Americans bought the story lines put out by the press on Republican candidates, Jimmy Carter would have served out his second term before handing off to eight years of Walter Mondale, John Kerry would be wrapping up his second term, and so forth.
Mitt Romney has been traveling abroad telling the truth. The only gaffes that Romney has committed have been when he has tried to reel back in what the press has labeled “gaffes.”
Problems with the Olympics? The truth. Problems with Palestinian society? The truth. Yet Romney tried to make nice after each of these comments. He should have just let them stand.
We’re not electing a diplomat. We’re electing a president.
And, oh goodness, it seems that calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel angered the Arabs. The press was in an uproar, as if Romney never expected this to provoke a backlash. Actually, the press was ululating louder than the Arabs.
Of course he understood what he was doing.
The political class in Washington is obsessed with the scoreboard, writing and talking up each piece of political trivia as if it were some kind of Nixon Goes to China moment. Put a point on the scoreboard or commit a foul, and Washington explodes with bracing analysis.
But I don’t think the American people are averse to a politician who tells the truth. I don’t think they lose a second of sleep over whether the British, the Palestinians, or the proud residents of Borneo get premenstrual cramps because of something an American leader said.
Romney gave excellent speeches in Israel and Poland and made significant foreign policy statements, both substantive and symbolic, demonstrating how his approach to the world would be different from Obama’s. In many ways, he had a successful trip. You’d hardly know it by reading the news.
But Americans don’t get their opinions from the news.
Right, President Gore?