How not to appear ‘presidential’

September 20, 2012

During World War II, a popular phrase was coined: “Loose lips sink ships.” It was a reminder to all Americans to assist the war effort by avoiding careless talk about any issues regarding national security.

It’s customary that when the United States’ national security is threatened, there are no liberals or conservatives, Democrats or Republicans. We all unite behind the President of the United States and the State Department as they address the situation, put forth an appropriate response and a plan of action.

Perhaps Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney didn’t get the memo on this practice.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt came under threat as demonstrators gathered in the streets of Cairo to protest an anti- Islamic film produced in the U.S. and distributed via the Internet. Meanwhile, tensions were also escalating at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in gunfire by attackers who entered the U.S. compound and killed four people, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

This is when candidate Romney seized upon the chance to issue a statement mischaracterizing what was happening in Cairo, Benghazi, and other Middle Eastern capitals, claiming that the U.S.’s (and by implication President Obama’s) first response was to “apologize for American principles and empathize with the attackers.”

Mind you, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both issued statements unequivocally condemning the attackers and expressing condolences to the victims’ families after an adequate and informed assessment of the situations – the one in Libya that resulted in loss of lives, as well as related escalating incidents throughout the region. It seemed that Romney couldn’t resist the possible opportunity to try to embarrass President Obama as a political opponent, regardless of his lack of facts or the risk of potential damage to the country’s foreign policy interests. Romney apparently will do anything to try to capture the White House. Possible endangerment of U.S. citizens abroad and lives lost are just so much “collateral damage.”

Which brings up the revelation this week of the Republican nominee’s latest gaffe. At a May fundraiser with his millionaire/billionaire peers, Romney declared that 47 percent of the electorate receives some kind of government entitlement payment, pay no income taxes, believe they are victims, and therefore are not his political concern.

Those “47 percent slackers” include retired seniors on social security who have worked all of their lives and paid into the system; and military veterans who faced daily endangerment and possible death to safeguard American freedoms – not to mention college students working their way through school trying to forge a better future; and the working poor who may have several full- and part-time jobs that generate payroll and social security taxes, but still don’t generate enough income for them to make ends meet sometimes.

Apparently, Romney is out of the loop on the fact that “those people” are citizens, and they vote, too. Weighing Romney’s comments about their “lack of personal responsibility” for their lives, “those people” would be perfectly within their right to respond to Romney’s arrogance and disdain with a heartfelt, “Forget you, too.”

Since the Libyan tragedy, it was reported that Romney will soon begin receiving regular intelligence briefings to assist him with gaining a better understanding of U.S. foreign policy. As for acquiring empathy and understanding how the majority of average Americans live, it’s debatable whether there’s a quick fix for faking something one apparently has never lived firsthand.

Whoever it is and wherever they come from, the person who is elected President of the United States has to be President of all the people, not just the faction that looks and lives like him and mirrors his mindset. First Lady Michelle Obama characterized the presidency as “… not changing who you are, but revealing who you are.”

Based on recent events, Romney is sharing a glimpse of who he really is. In his blind quest for the presidency, Romney is revealing to the world the measure of himself as a man. Moreover, Romney is revealing to the world how not to appear “presidential.”