The left-wing press in Britain is having its fun recounting–and inventing–media gaffes by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But this particular controversy lacks that particular element of coordination with the domestic media that gives an Obama campaign meme the juice it needs to get going. CNN in particular seems not to have received the memo–what with Piers Morgan defending Romney (!), and the network recounting five “Olympic-sized gaffes“–none of which have to do with Romney, but all of which support Romney’s contention that Britain had not done the best job preparing for the games:
1. Security contractor thousands of guards short
2. Snubbed by a long-lost rock star (the late drummer for The Who, Keith Moon)
3. Tickets, please (distribution problems)
4. That’s not our flag (North Korean team introduced with South Korean flag)
5. Disaster survivors, advocates protest Dow sponsorship
So the Obama campaign, lacking the usual preparations with friendly Stateside journalists, has gone into overdrive to get the word out about Romney’s gaffes. The “tell” is that they are using the Huffington Post to get the word out–a source that comes with a virtual left-wing bias warning on the label–rather than their usual mainstream media outlets.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, for example, in a HuffPo exclusive, claimed: “It’s not good for us as a country — it’s not good for him — but as a country to have somebody that’s nominated by one of the principal parties to go over and insult everybody.” Never mind that the “insult” took place before Romney left U.S. soil; Romney merely said what the British themselves have been saying for months. Undiplomatic, yes; insulting–laughable.
Then there was Sen. John Kerry–the useful idiot for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, as seen in the photo above from 2009–who claimed that Romney’s comments “threaten the bipartisan relationship that we and our British friends have forged through all those years of shared sacrifice.” Really? Like failing to support Britain over the Falklands? Like returning a bust of Winston Churchill that had featured prominently in the White House as a symbol of friendship? Like denying that the “special relationship” exists in the first place?
The Obama crew and the Democrats are scrambling to catch up to a media narrative that developed without their help–a stroke of luck in a news cycle they had been anticipating with glum resignation. They only have another 24 hours in which to turn Romney’s foreign policy triumph into a failure–for when he reaches Israeli soil this weekend, the warmth with which he will be received will be impossible to deny. Likewise in Poland, which is Romney’s next stop, and arguably is the ally that the Obama administration has treated worst of all.
So the left is playing against the clock–and against the bad economic news this morning, which is that GDP growth slowed to 1.5 percent in the second quarter. If they can force the mainstream media to focus on Romney’s gaffes rather than the long gaffe that is Obama’s economic policy, they will have survived this news cycle. But they are overplaying their hand–and they know it. A headline in the Daily Kos said it all: “Why Mitt’s Gaffes Won’t Matter in November.” (The reasoning in the article is absurd, but the conclusion is correct.) What remains to be seen is how far the Democrats’ faux outrage will go before they try to change the subject again.