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Is Romney Really an Interventionist or Just a Hawker of USA USA?

Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Over and over again last night, you heard the governor and you heard his running mate Paul Ryan macho man bluster about “We’re going to be strong.  America’s got to be bold.  America’s got to be loud.  We’ve got to be the most obnoxious SOBs on Earth.”  In other words, running around the planet, don’t apologize for America, threaten people with America.  In Romneyland, he seems to believe that’s what we want, that we want our president to gallivant across the planet and promote the fact that we have a bigger military than anyone else does and we’re not afraid to use it… Check out the rest in today’s transcript…


Begin Mike Church Show Transcript

Mike:  Noah Millman, posting at The American Conservative Magazine website says “Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Toothpick.”  Remember when Tim Carney was on the show, our buddy the writer at the D.C. Examiner?

AG:  I think he’s more and more brilliant the more I read his writings and Twitter.

Mike:  I think he called it.  He’s an Irishman and he’s got that Irish sense of humor.  I love that about the Irish.  It comes through in many of the things he writes.  I think he called Romney correctly when he said he was in a board meeting at the Examiner and Romney came in and did a press tour.  Remember that?  He said when Romney is asked a question he doesn’t want to answer, he has this tick.  His left lip, or right lip, I can’t recall which side, begins to quiver and then he answers the question.  This is when you know that you just got to him.  He gets angry and doesn’t want to answer the question, but he’ll answer it.  He’ll usually then defer to pragmatist Romney.  Pragmatist Romney will deliver more of a marketing answer that’s going to sell a lot of paperclips at Staples than an answer that has anything to do with the actual political ramification of what it  is that’s being discussed or the question that was asked.

Noah Millman unwittingly – and I say unwittingly not because Noah is a dumbass or anything – makes Carney’s point.  Over and over again last night, you heard the governor and you heard his running mate Paul Ryan macho man bluster about [mocking] “We’re going to be strong.  America’s got to be bold.  America’s got to be loud.  We’ve got to be the most obnoxious SOBs on Earth.”  In other words, running around the planet, don’t apologize for America, threaten people with America.  In Romneyland, he seems to believe that’s what we want, that we want our president to gallivant across the planet and promote the fact that we have a bigger military than anyone else does and we’re not afraid to use it.  Caveat emptor, buyer beware, if you make bedfellows with us or if you cross us.  When it actually comes to doing it, when he was put on the spot last night about waging war, and if President Obama kept saying, “Do you want to get into another war?  We don’t want war.  American people don’t want any more war.”

Romney’s answer last night, this is what has the warmongering decepticons, Fox News viewer and talk radio fans livid, at least at some level today, [mocking] “He let Obama get away with . . ..”  No, what he didn’t do was promise to be lethal.  He likes the idea of being bold.  In other words, all you have to do, Andrew, is have the proper marketing campaign for the American military.  You go abroad and you enunciate it and get belligerent about it and say it to the point that you don’t care who you offend by it, as long as you make Bibi Netanyahu happy, and you let the chips fall where they may.  You’re not really willing to do anything about it.

That’s Millman’s point.  I think he’s largely right on.  In other words, Romney may talk like he’s going to be a big threatening menace and more interventionist in foreign policy.  Is he actually going to act upon that or is that something he doesn’t really care about, that foreign policy just happens to be something that he’s got to sound like Billy Kristol and Charlie Krauthammer and the boys will approve of so he can become president and then do what he really wants, which is to Staplize and Bain Capitalize the entire American economy and “fix” it for us.

AG:  That’s a very interesting point.  I think another aspect to really look at — I just got some audio in from Joe Biden on NBC’s Today Show this morning — is how the Democrats in these next two weeks leading up to election day respond to Romney agreeing with a lot of what Obama had to say in terms of foreign policy stances.  I’ve got this clip here of Biden this morning interviewed by Matt Lauer on last night’s debate.

Mike:  Hey now, buddy, let me correct you.  Don’t pooh-pooh that D.  It’s Biden.  You can’t say Bi’en, it’s Biden.  Somebody is going to call us on it.  [mocking] “Why don’t you pronounce the vice president’s name correctly, you stooge?”  Here we go, Joe Biden.

[start audio clip]

Vice President Joe Biden: Congressman Ryan was laying out the foreign policy with regard to what he and Governor Romney believe, that the overwhelming criticism of our positions in Syria, Iraq, Iran, across the board.  Tonight, Governor Romney seems to be rushing to agree with everything the president had done already.

[end audio clip]

Mike:  He was.  “I agreed with the president on this and I supported the president on that.  I agree with the time table for withdrawal with the president.  I agreed with the president on this,” the governor patiently and respectfully said.  I want to say one more thing to the audience that I have not yet said.  I would like to, all politics and jawboning and ideological and philosophical discussions aside — of course there is no constitutional discussion although the screen behind them, again, had the words of the Constitution up there, it obliquely came up one time, not as applied to Commander in Chief powers.  May I say that you should have an awful lot of optimism about the future of these United States.  If you believe as I do that the union is not going to be in the shape that it’s in and that the super structure that we’re all forced to live and toil under and that our children have been ordered to live as debt slaves under, it is a historical fact that it will not survive in its current form.

Can I just say that there is every possibility that we can talk our way through many of our major differences and arrive at rethinking the American union for all of our benefit.  I would just like to congratulate the governor and the president for acting at least partially statesmen-like.  There was a little bit of bickering last night.  They didn’t do like the Japanese did.  Nobody got in a fish fight.  The families all came up on stage afterwards and were cordial with one another.  I think that’s an admirable thing.  If your kids have to take anything away from last night, that’s what you ought to tell them.  “Look, they didn’t fight.  It was a bunch of sophistry.  You didn’t learn anything from it, little Johnny.  That’s what we have the Mike Church Show for on Sirius.  We’ll learn something tomorrow morning, but at least we learned that our political class can still talk to one another.”  Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of the day, I think that’s something that we should all just be a little bit thankful for.

AG:  I agree.  You discussed earlier Europe not really being a part of the debate last night.  Another content that was not discussed, other than one point, was South America.  I thought Romney made a very good point in terms of relaying the fact that as much as we discuss our trade imbalance or trade deals with China, the continent of South America offers just as much if not more potential in trade partners.  I was wondering, once again, should Europe have been discussed more?  Did we need to discuss more of the growing economy of Brazil and their energy production or what we can do with Chile or Argentina or other countries in South America that we just glossed over?  Other than Romney saying he wants to open up more trade deals with them, it wasn’t discussed last night.

Mike:  Millman actually writes about that.


Of course, it’s still possible that a President Romney secretly wants to engage in a massive escalation of our interventions around the world, but that just feels like a weird read of his character.  [Mike: I would agree with you, Noah.  See: Tim Carney.]  What seems much more plausible to me is that Romney would just be a terrible diplomat, because, apart from resurrecting the Free Trade Area of the Americas, he has no interest in foreign policy.  He treats foreign policy as a matter of domestic marketing, and he believes that the people of the United States want our country to be really obnoxious, but not actually take any serious risks.

Unfortunately, the world is unlikely to follow Romney’s script – there is an inherent risk in treating foreign policy as cavalierly as he does.  Take a look at the Bush Administration’s North Korea policy if you want to see what obnoxiousness as a strategy looks like.  But, you know, who even remembers that North Korea became a nuclear power on Bush’s watch?  What people remember is: Bush “confronted” North Korea, and he denounced the Clinton Administration’s “appeasement.”  If they even remember that.

President Obama, like the first President Bush, has pursued a foreign policy that an anti-interventionist should hate.  But at least he has a foreign policy, and, on the strength of both his performance in office and his conduct of the debate, he clearly cares about it.  Foreign policy is one of the few areas where the President has the overwhelming preponderance of power, largely unchecked by Congress or the courts.  It’s probably a good idea to have a President who has given a little thought to how that power might best be used effectively, even if he tends to use it too aggressively.

[end reading]

AG:  I think that’s way too harsh towards Romney.

Mike:  What if Romney really doesn’t care about these things and only does this because Billy Kristol and Charlie Krauthammer and the rest of the decepticon crowd demand that he do it, Paul Wolfowitz and the same cast that got us into this God-awful mistake in Iraq.  What if that’s correct and he basically farms it out to some John Bolton-type Secretary of Defense who feeds him lines and intelligence that support that worldview?  [mocking] “Well, Mr. President, we have a situation here.  We’re going to need your decision here on an intervention.”  “What do you think we ought to do?  There’s a ribbon cutting at a new business that I’m going to get credit for creating.  What should we do?  I want to get to the ribbon cutting.  This is business.  I don’t care about your stupid foreign affairs.  What do you want to do?”  “I think we should bomb.  There’s a lot of brown people there and they’re in need of some American exceptionalism.”  “Oh, darn it, what’s the over/under on the stocks on Raytheon?”

End Mike Church Show Transcript

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