Thursday, October 11, 2012

Romney and the GOP need to stop politicizing the deaths in Libya

Mitt Romney, holding a roundly-criticized press conference
the morning after our officials were slain in Libya.
Enough already.
Enough of Republicans trying to politicize the death of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Libya.
Yet again, today, Republicans are trying to use those deaths to help Mitt Romney, now by accusing – incredibly – Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, of being the one who’s politicizing the debate.  And why?  Because Cutter, correctly, said that the Republicans have been politicizing the debate on this issue.
Before I get to all the examples of how Mitt Romney and the GOP congress have politicized the deaths in Libya, note the beauty of what the Republicans are doing here to Cutter.  Not only are they criticizing her for doing whatthey are actually doing, but they’re using her public call for them to stop politicizing the tragedy as proof that sheis the one politicizing it.
It’s brilliant in its dishonesty.
Fortunately, we have the Internet as an objective fact-checker.  So let’s walk through just how calloused Republicans have been in taking advantage of the death of our ambassador and other government officials.
1. It was the Romney campaign that told AP that they saw the death of the US ambassador as an “opportunity.”
2. It was Mitt Romney himself who said on the infamous 47% tape that he would keep his eye out for another “opportunity” like the Iran hostage crisis, that he could milk to his electoral advantage.
3. It was Mitt Romney himself, who embarrassingly, in his best Al “I’m in charge” Haig, had the audacity to issue a statement blasting the administration in the middle of the Libya crisis, before we even knew who was killed, or how many. As you’ll recall, Romney was roundly criticized for politicizing the death of the US ambassador and others through his statement and poorly-timed press conference, and he was even criticized by Republicans.
To show you just how cavalier Romney was about the deaths, note how, purely by chance I’m sure, Romney’s backdrop for his press conference, below left, looked a lot like the White House briefing room, below right.  Blue background, the flag, the podium, the dais. The setting was clearly meant to evoke the White House Briefing Room, and thus use Romney’s speech as an – let’s say it all together now – “opportunity” to make Romney look “presidential.”
4. It was Mitt Romney who was blasted yesterday by the mother of one of the victims in Libya, an American Navy SEAL, for politicizing the death of her son.
5. And then yesterday, the House Republicans, led by GOP Reps. Issa and Chaffetz, again politicized the deaths in Libya by holding a partisan hearing in order to embarrass the Obama administration, and as a result Issa and Chaffetz compromised national security by exposing the existence of a classified CIA base at the site of the attack in Benghazi, Libya, potentially putting even more lives at risk.
So spare us the Republicans’ crocodile tears about Stephanie Cutter.  The only reason that Republicans are attacking Cutter is because – yet again – they smell an “opportunity,” as Mitt Romney so callously put it, to use a national security crisis, and a human tragedy, to their own partisan advantage.
If anything, the Republican attacks on Cutter are further proof that she’s right.

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