Huh? The Middle East erupts in the sort of rioting that in earlier days Obma would reflexively blame on that hateful cowboy Bush, thereby prompting Molly Ball of The Atlantic to wonder whether this signals the collapse of the Romney campaign. Hmm, a bit more good news - maybe a Euro collapse and an Iraian missile launch towards Israel - might signal the return of the House to Nancy Pelosi. Keep hope alive, Ms. Ball!
Or maybe not - Clive Crook, also of the Atlantic, restrains his mirth manfully but has a few questions, after first excerpting Ms. Ball:
But his comments struck a sour note in light of the fact that the Egyptian embassy's statement condemning those who would attempt "to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims" had long since been disavowed by the administration.
The disavowal makes Romney looks worse? I agree that in his press conference Romney should have acknowledged it--failing to do that was another fumble. But the more important fact, surely, is that the administration did actually disavow the statement. In other words, Romney's criticism had some merit!
Indeed - how dare Romney criticize something Obama was about to criticize. Ms. Ball does conclude her piece with a possily prescient "on the other hand":
Romney's Libya blunder might be just a blip, a single news cycle lost in a campaign that still has nearly two months to go and will surely refocus on the economy before long. There's also the possibility that further developments overseas reflect badly on the administration and somehow make Romney's critique look prescient rather than crass.
I do agree that Romney missed a good opportunity to shut up and let the situation develop and the facts emerge. It will be difficult for some to face but what we are seeing is an administration with an empty Middle East policy and no preparation or appropriate security in Libya. As the public contemplates that over the next few days or weeks it will probably not hurt Romney.
REMEMBERING ANDREW SULLIVAN: Let's reprise his full facial from 2007:
Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.
Anyone who voted for Obma on that basis may be feeling shortchanged. Or is blaming Bush.
Let's note that the current protestors and rioters aren't focused on the median American, or even the views of 80% or 90% of Americans. One or two, or a handfull of folks denouncing Mohammed is enough to set them off against our entire country. Why this is news to Andrew we do not know, since he seemed well aware of the challenges faced in Europe by Muslim intolerance.