After Failing Islam 101, Romney Blasts Obama Egypt Speech
If Barack Obama's speech in Egypt is being criticized by both Osama Bin Laden and Mitt Romney, the President must be doing something right. After all, as Mitt's rich history of jaw-dropping mistakes and demeaning statements about Islam suggests, Governor Romney is perhaps the person least qualified to pontificate on American outreach to the Muslim world.
Consider, for example, Mitt's November 2007 revelation that Muslims need not apply for positions a future Romney cabinet. Mansoor Ijaz related his exchange with the former Massachusetts governor:
I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that "jihadism" is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today. He answered, "...based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."
(Romney's disturbing exclusionary math was doubly-ironic. After all, there are roughly the same number of Jews and Muslims - and his fellow Mormons - in the United States. And in his much-hyped "Faith in America" speech just weeks later, Romney proceeded to create another religious test which also placed non-believers outside the American community.)
As it turns out, Romney's difficulties with Islam stem from his shocking insistence on conflating all Muslims into a single jihadist threat. In May 2007, Romney alarmingly - and erroneously - equated Sunni and Shiite, friend and foe, the guilty and the innocent across the Islamic world. Ironically, his enemies list included the Muslim Brotherhood, 10 of whose members have been invited to President Obama's speech in Cairo Thursday:
"But I don't want to buy into the Democratic pitch, that this is all about one person, Osama bin Laden. Because after we get him, there's going to be another and another. This is about Shia and Sunni. This is about Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This is the worldwide jihadist effort to try and cause the collapse of all moderate Islamic governments and replace them with a caliphate."
(Even regarding that "one person, Osama Bin Laden," Romney struggled. After insisting in May 2007 that "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person," Romney reversed course just three days later and declared of Bin Laden, " He's going to pay, and he will die.")
With so many potential enemies, it's no wonder Mitt Romney announced during a May 2007 Republican presidential candidates forum:
"Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo."
As it turned out, Romney wasn't the only Republican spouting the "Islamofascism" talking point. But by the fall of 2007, Mitt expanded his umbrella to include Iran. In an October 2007 campaign ad simply titled, "Jihad," Romney amazingly explained that Shiite Iran wanted to join Sunni Muslims in extending their dominion over the entire world:
"We can and will stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons...It's this century's nightmare, jihadism - violent, radical Islamic fundamentalism. Their goal is to unite the world under a single jihadist caliphate."
That doubtless came as a surprise to the mullahs in Tehran.
(Sadly, Romney's grandstanding on Iran got him in trouble repeatedly through the 2008 campaign. In September 2007, Romney called on the United Nations to not merely ban Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from speaking to the world body, but to indict him on war crimes charges as well. That pandering to hardliners followed Romney's catastrophic call that February for state governments to disinvest their holdings in companies doing business with Tehran. His crusade foundered within 24 hours when it was revealed Romney's old employer, Bain & Co. had extensive links to recent Iranian business deals. Romney's feeble response? "This is something for now-forward.")
And so it goes. In a speech Monday at the Heritage Foundation, Mitt Romney preemptively blasted President Obama's Cairo address, declaring, "I take issue with President Obama's recent tour of apology." Appearing Wednesday on NBC's Today Show, Romney added that there's nothing wrong with "showing our respect for the people in the world of Islam."
As he revealed in again failing Islam 101 on May 15, 2007, Romney showed neither understanding nor respect:
"Violent, radical jihadists want to replace all the governments of the moderate Islamic states, replace them with a caliphate. And to do that, they also want to bring down the West, in particular us.
And they've come together as Shi'a and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda with that intent."
Alas, it is Mitt Romney who needs to apologize.