Idiot wind, blowin’ every time you move your mouth…
Idiot wind, blowin’ every time you move your teeth.
You’re an idiot, babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.
—Bob Dylan, Idiot Wind
Well, as he prepares to visit Poland and Israel after Great Britain, the Stumblebum World Tour that is the Mitt Romney foreign policy fiasco is not exactly getting rave reviews in the UK. It’s a nonstop laugh-fest.
So bad was Romney’s gaffe-infested trip to London, on the eve of the Olympics, that former Olympian track star Carl Lewis got off the best line, in response to Romney’s ridiculous comment that the British might not be ready for the Games because of security problems:
“Of course London is ready.… Every Olympics is ready, I don’t care whatever he [Romney] said. I swear, sometimes I think some Americans shouldn’t leave the country. Are you kidding me, stay home if you don’t know what to say.”
Romney’s comments, originally made to Fox News, that he found security concerns “disconcerting” in advance of the games, drew a response from a senior British government official: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”
Well, not exactly speechless. David Cameron, speaking on the record, slammed Romney himself, in a stunning rebuke that ridiculed Romney’s so-called main accomplishment, namely, helping to run the Winter Olympics in the backwater Mormon capital of Salt Lake City. Said Cameron:
“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
When you stop laughing at Cameron’s “middle of nowhere” remark, there’s this: Romney, meeting with Ed Miliband, the head of the British Labour party, forgot Miliband’s name and, scrambling to say something, called him “Mr. Leader.” Said Mr. GOP Nominee:
“Like you, Mr. Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning.… and recognize, of course, the unique relationship that exists between our nations, our commitment to common values, our commitment to peace in the world and our desire to see a stronger and growing economy.”
The rollicking British press is having a field day.
The conservative Telegraph said, in a commentary:
“Mitt Romney is perhaps the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive.”
Others have been less, well, restrained. He’s “Mitt the Twit,” headlined the Sun. Romney is a “wazzock,” said another commentator. (Wazzock is Brit-speak for a “daft person.”) And, via the Democratic Underground, still other British media delivered the verdict that Romney is “worse than Sarah Palin”:
The British reaction to Mitt Romney has gone from openness, to skepticism, to mocking, to concluding that Mitt Romney is worse than Sarah Palin.
Daily Mail Political Editor James Chapman has been providing the world a play by play of Romney’s British implosion via his Twitter account. Romney started things off by criticizing London’s preparedness for the Olympics. He then forgot the name of British Labour Leader Ed Miliband, and then he admitted that he had been given a secret briefing by MI6. This led the British to ask aloud if they have another George W. Bush on their hands, “Romney blunders again by revealing he’s had (supposedly) top secret briefing by John Sawers, MI6 boss. Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?”
After his visit to Whitehall, Chapman offered two of the kinder reviews of Mitt Romney, “Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. ‘Worse than Sarah Palin.’ ‘Total car crash’. Two of the kinder verdicts.” Chapman also reported another verdict from British meet and greet with Mitt, “Another verdict from one Romney meeting: ‘Apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity.’ ”
That last part gets me: “devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity.”
Meanwhile, two serious mistakes.
In a serious affront, racially, a Romney adviser opined in private that his candidate would better get along with the UK because of their mutual “Anglo-Saxon” heritage. The adviser told the Telegraph:
“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he feels that the special relationship is special. The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”
Because, of course, the inhabitant of the White House has, well, mixed blood.
And Romney apparently breached security protocol by gushing that he’d had an audience with the chief of MI6, then UK’s secret intelligence service. Among other things, MI6’s John Sawers doesn’t usually brief visiting opposition leaders. But even if he did, Romney should have shut up about it. He didn’t. As Politico reports:
“I can only say that I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6 as we discussed Syria and the hope for a more peaceful future for that country,” Romney told reporters at a press conference Thursday.
On to Poland and Israel!