Counting on America's reliance on short-term memory, politicians commonly profess positions and beliefs that are inconsistent with the ones they held under different political climates. Their political expedience always looks smart until The Daily Show (or some random YouTube video) compares their recent statements to conflicting ones they uttered years before. Of course, that politicians frequently place political expedience above genuinely-held principles isn't news to anyone who follows politics. But Mitt Romney's attacks on President Obama are unique in that spotting the inconsistencies doesn't require us to delve into archived footage and statements; the contradictions are running into each other within one campaign season.
Yesterday, Romney went after President Obama for allegedly "throwing Israel under the bus" by having public disagreements with Israel's recalcitrant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Romney recommended a different approach to dealing with Israel: "if we have some private disagreements, why, we keep them in private." As Ben Armbruster of ThinkProgress pointed out, this call for private disagreements stands in direct contradiction to Romney's only slightly less recent call for the president to "release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders" to the American people.
Interestingly enough, Romney's earlier call for the release of notes and transcripts of meetings with foreign leaders was also self-defeating. If you remember, it was triggered by Obama's accidental hot mic moment in which he was caught offering "more flexibility" after the election to Russian President Medvedev on missile defense negotiations. Romney was so appalled by the (now we know false) idea that the president might be keeping some plans private until after the election that he demanded the release of all details "so the American people can be satisfied that he's not promising to sell out the country's interests after the election is over." Want to know where Romney got the idea of hiding some things from the American people until after the election? He got it from himself. That's right! When asked what government agencies he would eliminate if president, Romney specifically said that he wouldn't share those details until after the election so that they couldn't be used against him in the campaign. Apparently to Romney, it's OK to hide critical information from voters if it helps his campaign, but the president must be more forthcoming with them about delicate foreign negotiations... unless they relate to Israel.
Let's backtrack for a moment to the substance of Romney's attack on Obama's policy towards Israel:
I think this president has disrupted that relationship with Israel by one, criticizing Israel at the United Nations in his inaugural address. Two, throwing Israel under the bus with regards to demanding that we return to the '67 borders and then there's the personal disrespect that was shown for Benjamin Netanyahu.
Setting aside (a) the fact that CNN found Romney's first accusation "misleading," (b) that Obama didn't demand a return to the '67 borders, and (c) that such a demand would've been justified had it been made (take a moment to shake the absurdity out of your head) -- did you catch the "we" in Romney's second grievance? Who is "we" exactly? Is Romney aware of the fact that running for the President of America is different from running for the President of Israel? Judging by his recommendation, were he to become president, that Israeli leaders determine his policy for him (I kid you not, see for yourself), one is left wondering if he really does know the difference. When a bland self-contradicting machine is the only viable candidate the party is able to put forth, you kind of have to wonder what is becoming of the GOP.