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March 30, 2012

Mitt v. Medvedev: You Know Who This Benefits...? [Truman North]

Earlier this week, outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev laid the verbal smack down in a typically Russian way on Mitt Romney.

"Regarding ideological clichés, every time this or that side uses phrases like 'enemy number one', this always alarms me, this smells of Hollywood and certain times (of the past)," Medvedev said at the end of a nuclear security summit in the South Korean capital.

"I would recommend all U.S. presidential candidates ... to do two things. First, when phrasing their position one needs to use one's head, one's good reason, which would not do harm to a presidential candidate.

"Also, (one needs to) look at his watch: we are in 2012 and not the mid-1970s."

Does this not sound like a Bond villain? I don't think we can give him any flexibility on whether or not he might have a rooting interest in the results of the next election.

This was in response to Romney on Monday, doing his best impression of a child-sized container of vanilla ice milk in short sleeves:

"...President Obama signaled that he’s going to cave to Russia on missile defense, but the American people have a right to know where else he plans to be ‘flexible’ in a second term," Romney said in a statement Monday.

That sounds good, but unfortunately, he continues. And in doing so, loses some of that punch that we'd like from our nominee.

"Higher taxes, more spending and increased debt are all on the table as long as Barack Obama is in the White House, despite what he says publicly. President Obama needs to level with the American public about his real agenda," Romney continued.

It's nice to see Romney hasn't forgotten about the financial analog to Cygnus X-1 sitting at the center of the American galaxy there in Washington.

But for once, my man, could you stay on topic and come out swinging?

Yesterday, Obama handed the GOP a hand grenade to blow up his re-election. Instead what have we gotten? Meek calls for clarification, I suppose. A pleasant web ad. The Stupid Party indeed.

At least Romney is on point with half his statement.

And now, it's not just Medvedev who's playing. PRAVDA weighed in yesterday with an op-ed endorsing Obama:

"Electing Mitt Romney as the next President of the United States of America would be like appointing a serial paedophile as a kindergarten teacher, a rapist as a janitor at a girls' dormitory or a psychopath with a fixation on knives as a kitchen hand. His comments on Russia are a puerile attempt at making the grand stage and boy, did he blow it..."

Thought number one: It may be that something has been lost in the translation, but the tone here is desperate, not confident.

Thought number two: You can practically see Putin's hands here. One's up Medvedev's back, and the other's up PRAVDA's.

Anyway. Medvedev has extended a hand through the ring ropes down to Romney and invited him to climb up into the ring of foreign policy. The first rule in feuding is: never feud down. Win or lose, you raise your opponen't stature. This is why the incumbent in a campaign rarely agrees to debate the challenger until it's absolutely necessary.

If Romney plays it right, he should be seen to be an equal player in the realm of foreign policy. Chris Matthews certainly seems to think he is. As feckless and damaging as Obama's foreign policy has been, he does have an advantage over Romney of having actually conducted some of it. A good showing in this verbal sparring match would do Mitt some good.

How seriously will Mitt take this golden opportunity? The answer will give us some insight into whether or not he's hungry enough to seriously challenge the president in the general election.

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posted by Open Blogger at 07:33 AM

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