We have, over the last several months, come to believe many things about Mitt Romney. We have come to believe, for example, that he is venal, disconnected and has less than a passing acquaintance with the truth. We did not, however, find cause to question his intelligence.
We in Los Angeles know something about staging the Olympics. We’ve done it twice, most recently in 1984. Indeed, the 1984 games were predicted to be a great disaster, that they would bring the city to a grinding halt and that the Games themselves would be taken down by the city’s traffic snarls and smog. None of these things happened. Due to the efforts of city officials, traffic for those two weeks was better than it has ever been, before or since. The Games themselves were a triumph…and, unlike most Olympics, actually made a profit. And at no time, did any visiting foreign dignitary attempt to draw the world’s attention to the purported shortcomings of Los Angeles’ efforts.
We cannot say the same thing about Mitt Romney’s performance in London this past week.
One could understand it if Governor Romney had simply put his foot in his mouth. It happens to us all…thought it does seem to happen to Governor Romney with startling frequency. But this was no slip of the tongue. This was careful and considered. Governor Romney, in fact, was showing off. It could be argued he helped save the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, dealing with many of the same problems London has endured over the past few months and a massive corruption scandal to boot. He wanted the world to know this…and that, while he oversaw a successful Olympics, it wasn’t an easy thing to do and he had done it well.
Governor Romney wasn’t in London as some kind of Olympics inspector. He was here as a candidate for President of the United States on his first trip outside the United States to prove his foreign policy credentials. And yet, in the first hours of the first day of that journey, he managed…on perhaps the largest stage in the world…to insult his hosts who are also the United States’ closest allies.
Stupid is as stupid does.
And keeps doing. Nearly every time he opened his mouth over the next two days, he tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to walk back his remarks. His own allies were incredulous at what he’d said. And the British press…much of which had been saying the same things Governor Romney said…were merciless, one paper calling him “Mitt the Twit”.
Governor Romney has proven himself to be many things. Now, unfortunately, he’s also proven himself to be stupid.