Is Mitt Romney unusually stupid?

I’ve been assuming that Romney is pretty sharp. But now I’m wondering. From Romney’s big Iran op-ed in the Washington Post.

Until Iran ceases its nuclear-bomb program, I will press for ever-tightening sanctions, acting with other countries if we can but alone if we must.

Here’s an experiment: Take a ball of clay and tighten pressure on it with your fist, using all five fingers. That works pretty well — some bits of clay may escape, but for the most part you can squeeze the clay really, really hard.

Now try squeezing it with one finger acting alone and see how well that works.

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10 Responses to Is Mitt Romney unusually stupid?

  1. 1
    toastedtofu says:

    Mitt is still operating under the paradigm that a) sanctions get results and b) that the US has the power to singularly cripple an economy

    It’s arguable that they have never been true but they are certainly less true now than since WWII

  2. 2
    Eytan Zweig says:

    There are certainly economies in this world that are very dependent on the US and could be hurt quite badly by the US on its own. But Iran is very much not one of these countries. Indeed, I’m no expert, but it’s seems to me that since the US already has a trade embargo on Iran, the only serious sanctions it could apply are not on Iran directly but on Iran’s trade partners, imposing punitive methods unless they decrease their Iran trade. Anyone want to take a guess on how likely Russia or China are to bow down to such threats?

    As to the question posed by the title of the post, my answer, based solely on the media here in the UK, would be “no, but he seems to be working under the assumption that his voters are”.

  3. 3
    Kevin Moore says:

    Just more bait for AIPAC and right wing evangelicals. Also the usual my dick is bigger bullshit GOPers try to pull on Dems. In this special case, it is also talking point word salad aimed to appeal at American exceptionalism, super power pride and “leadership.”

    It will get him nowhere.

  4. 4
    RonF says:

    My guess would be that Mitt figures we can be the whole hand. Certainly we can’t be the whole hand when it comes to sanctions, and given China’s desire/need for oil I doubt that sanctions will ever effectively be 100% enforced.

    Militarily? Well, what’s the plan? We could execute “Operation Smoking Hole” where Tehran will have used to have been unilaterally, but the international political costs would likely be more than the U.S. could bear. Something a little more subtle – like re-enacting Iraq in tossing out the government and trying to do nation-rebuilding – will be a) costly and b) hard to do. Although one would hope that we’d learn from the mistakes made in Iraq, Iran != Iraq.

    The thing is, if we get the rest of the world involved I don’t see all five fingers gripping with equal and coordinated strength in any case, whether it be militarily or economically. Will Russia and China cooperate, or will they give sanctions lip service while permitting smuggling via the back door? It’s hard to see one tolitarian state forcing another to succumb. It might give their own citizens the wrong idea, and Iran has something that China wants, anyway. So the clay is still going to squeeze out.

    Mitt isn’t the first political candidate to promise something he can’t deliver. If that makes him stupid, so was Pres. Obama. My guess is that he knows full well that this isn’t as simple as it sounds. But then Obama is rattling the sabers too, so I can’t really fault Mitt for being unique in this regard.

  5. 5
    Hugh says:

    There’s a moral argument for unilateral sanctions – that even if we can’t stop a country doing something immoral, we should do as much as we can to ensure that our country isn’t involved in their doing it.

    In 1993 (then) Czechoslovakia refused to sell gas masks to Croatia – not because they thought they could genuinely prevent Croatia’s government from engaging in ethnic cleansing, simply because they didn’t want to be implicated in the cleansing that took place.

  6. 6
    Jenn says:

    I believe Mitt is used to getting his way. He may be able to negotiate well with other white rich guys. I’m not convinced he’s up to the job with other cultures!

  7. 7
    Tyrannus Evisceratus says:

    Why does every single Republican president or nominee immediately get accused of being an idiot?

    I mean I totally understand besmirching your opponent to win the election that is just politics and Republicans sling mud along with everyone else.

    What I don’t get is how Democrats think that is the best way to go every four years. I mean call Mitt Romney out of touch or a tax evader that might garner more support than calling every Republican candidate since Ronald Reagan an idiot.

    I mean they pretty much succeeded in convincing everyone George Bush was stupid despite him having a degree from both Yale and Harvard.

    But then whenever something went against them “George Bush Tricked us”. Really how did the moron trick you? Maybe he is smarter than we were led to believe.

    Anyway as far as sanctions against Iran go Jimmy Carter started them and every single president since then Republican and Democrat has added to them and left them inplace.

    Their effectiveness is iffy. Howard Zinn feels they are so devastating that they make murderers of any president that uses them due to stavation deaths.

    Others feel they take too long to work. I mean look at how long we have had an Embargo with Cuba going and they are still doing whatever. What it does do is stop a country from prospering pretty much any nation the U.S. slaps a sanction on becomes one of the poorest countries in the world eventually.

  8. 8
    Jenn says:

    Why did you exclude Ronald Reagan. :)

  9. 9
    Tyrannus Evisceratus says:

    I should have said from Ronald Reagan onward.

  10. 10
    Robert says:

    Actually most of the smarter leftists I know or follow have quietened down about Reagan. Whether from an appreciation of his merits, a fondness for the comparatively optimistic tolerant tone of his rhetoric, the increasing consensus about what a fucked-up system Soviet communism was and a retrospective grasping that the old guy was right after all, or just a pragmatic understanding that American love for Reagan is so deep and enduring that badmouthing him damages oneself, libs and comsymps and fellow travelers seem less inclined these days to diss his intelligence.