Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s long and illustrious political star plummeted when the Brits rightly opposed being dragged into President George W. Bush’s Iraq War. The British tabloids began referring to Blair as W’s poodle. It wasn’t the same kind of puppetry we saw with former Russian President Medvedev and Putin, but it was clear in that case, too, who was pulling the levers.
It’s quite possible that we just saw the turning point in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign this week. His lifelong desire to continue the political dynasty begun by his father is looking increasingly out of reach, according to new poll numbers. And his not-so-presidential response to the latest Middle East crisis gave the American public a taste of Romney’s unpreparedness.
Much of Romney’s problem has to do with an almost juvenile willingness to say and do whatever he thinks will appeal to the extreme right of the Republican Party.
Talk about an appeaser. Just look at the cast of characters who came to Romney’s defense after his latest foreign policy clunker: Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter.
Then there were possibly the two worst advisers to W: John Bolton and good old Donald Rumsfeld. At least W was smart enough to cut Bolton loose when he started talking about nuking other countries. And it’s not hard to imagine him calling Romney and saying something like, “Take it from me Mitt my boy, listen to whatever Rummy says and do exactly the opposite.”
But Romney doesn’t seem to be able to follow his own political instincts. Ironically, Romney is the “other” to conservatives, a dark and alien character. And no matter what Romney does, he sounds weirdly out of sync, and worse, amateurish.
Romney might be able to save himself in the debates, but the pressure on him now is formidable. In a strange turn of events, he has validated what the Obama camp has been arguing: Romney would usher in a third term of George W. Bush.
After W’s gross miscalculations about the Middle East and bringing about the Great Recession, it’s not surprising that a lot of Americans are now recalibrating their views on a Romney presidency.