Considering the clown show he’s part of, I’d say that Mitt Romney is probably the least bad Republican candidate for president running right now. But that’s a pretty low bar, and Romney’s almost pathological fear of being on the wrong side of an issue — any issue — was on full display over the weekend in a speech that slammed Obama’s foreign policy:
Yet Romney was silent on Libya, where the U.S. And its NATO allies are enforcing a no-fly zone as rebels try to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi from power. Asked after his speech what his position is on Libya, Romney refused to take questions from reporters. Instead he and his wife Ann walked away and escaped up an escalator at the Venetian hotel-casino where the event was held.
“I’ve got a lot of positions on a lot of topics, but walking down the hall probably isn’t the best place to describe all those,” Romney said as he walked away with half a dozen journalists trailing him.
Silent on Libya! It’s not as if this is the most critical foreign policy issue of the moment or anything. This comes via Daniel Larison, who comments:
Romney seems unable to stake out a foreign policy position until after the Republican consensus has formed, and he then adapts himself to whatever that consensus happens to be….[It’s] just another reminder that Romney doesn’t hold foreign policy positions so much as he mimics those who do. There was fairly broad agreement in the GOP that the arms reduction treaty was flawed. It didn’t matter whether the criticisms were valid or not. Romney saw an opportunity to become a vociferous critic of the treaty to ingratiate himself with most of the party. Libya is a contentious issue, and the party is evidently split over which position to take, so Romney predictably cannot take one. For someone who is so fond of mocking Obama’s leadership or lack thereof, it is revealing that when Romney has to stake out a position one way or the other on a controversial question he is unable to show any leadership at all.
Hey, I think Libya is a tough issue. But I’m still willing to articulate a position (namely that intervention was a mistake), and I’m not even running for president. It’s pretty hard to believe that even two weeks after it started, a guy who wants to sit in the Oval Office still can’t think of anything intelligent to say about it. Obama might have made the wrong decision about Libya, but at least he made a decision.