In “Let Them Eat Crab Cake” MoDo says it’s rich. Mitt Romney thinks poor folks are on Easy Street. It’s not just Mittens, dear. For 10 years now we’ve been hearing about these “lucky duckies,” and right wing hate talk radio just keeps on catapulting the propaganda. The Moustache of Wisdom says “Look in Your Mirror,” and that if it’s wrong to insult Islam, it should be wrong to insult any religion. That doesn’t seem to be the case in the Arab world. Tom, I don’t think it’s necessarily being helpful to yell “Oh yeah? Well you do too.” Here’s MoDo:
Oh, for the days when we thought Mitt Romney didn’t stand for anything.
As a secret video from a Boca Raton fund-raiser with high rollers in May shows, Romney in private stands for so many bizarre things that it’s hard to tell what’s crazier — his domestic policy or his foreign policy.
Less than 50 days before the election, we learn that Romney may have given up on half of America and on Mideast peace.
In a reply to a fat cat at the $50,000-a-plate dinner, he wrote off 47 percent of the country as deadbeats, freeloaders and “victims” who feel they’re entitled to stuff — stuff like basic sustenance.
“Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. “All right? There are 47 percent who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
The candidate, who pays so little in taxes relative to his income that he has to hide tax returns and money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, then added, condescendingly: “These are people who pay no income tax.”
“So my job is not to worry about those people,” he blithely concluded. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” What kind of presidential candidate shrugs off wooing whole groups — we’re talking many seniors and white-working-class voters in battleground states who are, if he actually knew what he was talking about, his own natural constituencies?
A “stupid and arrogant” one, as Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, put it.
Conservatives knew that Romney was no Reagan, but the tape left many Republicans and Obama strategists gobsmacked. One top Democrat called it “a treasure trove of stupid answers.”
On Fox News Tuesday, Neil Cavuto gently asked Romney if he had “prematurely” presumed that he couldn’t get all of those voters. Mitt’s rambles to the donors, released by Mother Jones magazine and, in a bit of poetic justice, unearthed by Jimmy Carter’s grandson, were a stunning combination of wrong facts, callous sentiments and dumb politics.
He seemed to have bought into the warped canard that some conservatives inside and outside of Congress have pushed: that the president and Nancy Pelosi were nefariously hooking people on unemployment benefits so they’d get addicted and vote Democratic to keep the unemployment bucks flowing like crack.
It’s literally rich: Willard, born on third base and acting self-made, whining to the rich about what a great deal in life the poor have.
We thought Romney was secretly moderate, but it turns out that he’s secretly cruel, a social Darwinist just like his running mate.
You’d assume that it would be hard now for Romney to resume bashing President Obama for demonizing and pandering on class warfare, with lines like he’s been using on the trail: “he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups.”
But, even as Mitt was spitefully demonizing and dividing in Boca, he remained cardboard-cutout un-self-aware, musing: “The thing which I find most disappointing about this president is his attack of one America against another America.” This is the absolute height of cluelessness.
At another point in the video, Romney once more showed his foreign policy jejuneness, questioning the workability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, which is U.S. policy endorsed by W.
Mr. Sunshine said he sometimes felt “that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace — and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”
He continued: “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem,” adding, “And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen to resolve it.”
Wow. That’s leadership. He said a former secretary of state had called him to suggest that after the Palestinian elections there might be a prospect for a settlement, but that “I didn’t delve into it.”
After months of doggedly trying to seem more likable, sharing his guilty pleasures like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snooki, Romney came across as a mean geek, a Cranbrook kid at the country club smugly swaddled in class disdain. He thinks being president is his manifest destiny. His father didn’t make it, so he will — no matter what far-out conservative positions he must graft on to in order to do it.
We’re in search of the real Romney. But, disturbingly, so is he.
One thing we have to give Mitt, though: He is, as advertised, a brilliant manager. He’s managed to ensure that President Obama has a much better chance of re-election.
Now here’s The Moustache of Wisdom:
On Monday, David D. Kirkpatrick, the Cairo bureau chief for The Times, quoted one of the Egyptian demonstrators outside the American Embassy, Khaled Ali, as justifying last week’s violent protests by declaring: “We never insult any prophet — not Moses, not Jesus — so why can’t we demand that Muhammad be respected?” Mr. Ali, a 39-year-old textile worker, was holding up a handwritten sign in English that read: “Shut Up America.” “Obama is the president, so he should have to apologize!”
I read several such comments from the rioters in the press last week, and I have a big problem with them. I don’t like to see anyone’s faith insulted, but we need to make two things very clear — more clear than President Obama’s team has made them. One is that an insult — even one as stupid and ugly as the anti-Islam video on YouTube that started all of this — does not entitle people to go out and attack embassies and kill innocent diplomats. That is not how a proper self-governing people behave. There is no excuse for it. It is shameful. And, second, before demanding an apology from our president, Mr. Ali and the young Egyptians, Tunisians, Libyans, Yemenis, Pakistanis, Afghans and Sudanese who have been taking to the streets might want to look in the mirror — or just turn on their own televisions. They might want to look at the chauvinistic bile that is pumped out by some of their own media — on satellite television stations and Web sites or sold in sidewalk bookstores outside of mosques — insulting Shiites, Jews, Christians, Sufis and anyone else who is not a Sunni, or fundamentalist, Muslim. There are people in their countries for whom hating “the other” has become a source of identity and a collective excuse for failing to realize their own potential.
The Middle East Media Research Institute, or Memri, was founded in 1998 in Washington by Yigal Carmon, a former Israeli government adviser on counterterrorism, “to bridge the language gap between the Middle East and the West by monitoring, translating and studying Arab, Iranian, Urdu and Pashtu media, schoolbooks, and religious sermons.” What I respect about Memri is that it translates not only the ugly stuff but the courageous liberal, reformist Arab commentators as well. I asked Memri for a sampler of the hate-filled videos that appear regularly on Arab/Muslim mass media. Here are some:
ON CHRISTIANS Hasan Rahimpur Azghadi of the Iranian Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution: Christianity is “a reeking corpse, on which you have to constantly pour eau de cologne and perfume, and wash it in order to keep it clean.” http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1528.htm — July 20, 2007.
Sheik Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi: It is permissible to spill the blood of the Iraqi Christians — and a duty to wage jihad against them. http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5200.htm — April 14, 2011.
Abd al-Aziz Fawzan al-Fawzan, a Saudi professor of Islamic law, calls for “positive hatred” of Christians. Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia), http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/992.htm — Dec. 16, 2005.
ON SHIITES The Egyptian Cleric Muhammad Hussein Yaaqub: “Muslim Brotherhood Presidential Candidate Mohamed Morsi told me that the Shiites are more dangerous to Islam than the Jews.” www.memritv.org/clip/en/3466.htm — June 13, 2012.
The Egyptian Cleric Mazen al-Sirsawi: “If Allah had not created the Shiites as human beings, they would have been donkeys.” http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/3101.htm — Aug. 7, 2011.
The Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan video series: “The Shiite is a Nasl [Race/Offspring] of Jews.” http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/6208.htm — March 21, 2012.
ON JEWS Article on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Web site praises jihad against America and the Jews: “The Descendants of Apes and Pigs.” http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/6656.htm — Sept. 7, 2012.
The Pakistani cleric Muhammad Raza Saqib Mustafai: “When the Jews are wiped out, the world would be purified and the sun of peace would rise on the entire world.” http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/6557.htm — Aug. 1, 2012.
Dr. Ismail Ali Muhammad, a senior Al-Azhar scholar: The Jews, “a source of evil and harm in all human societies.” http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/6086.htm — Feb. 14, 2012.
ON SUFIS A shrine venerating a Sufi Muslim saint in Libya has been partly destroyed, the latest in a series of attacks blamed on ultraconservative Salafi Islamists. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-19380083 — Aug. 26, 2012.
As a Jew who has lived and worked in the Muslim world, I know that these expressions of intolerance are only one side of the story and that there are deeply tolerant views and strains of Islam espoused and practiced there as well. Theirs are complex societies.
That’s the point. America is a complex society, too. But let’s cut the nonsense that this is just our problem and the only issue is how we clean up our act. That Cairo protester is right: We should respect the faiths and prophets of others. But that runs both ways. Our president and major newspapers consistently condemn hate speech against other religions. How about yours?