You say that you’re not interested in duplicating what happened in Iraq but just a few weeks ago, you said you think we should have more troops in Iraq right now. And the challenge we have, I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy, but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong. You said we should have gone into Iraq despite the fact there were no weapons of mass destruction. You said that we should still have troops in Iraq to this day. You indicated that we shouldn’t be passing nuclear treaties with Russia despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it. You said that first we should not have a time line in Afghanistan. Then you said we should. Now you say maybe. Or it depends. Which means not only were you wrong but you’re also confusing in sending mixed messages to our troops and our allies.
Here’s what I kept saying in the van last night: You can’t debate somebody who just flat-out makes different shit up every time. Mitt Romney tonight said he wanted troops out of Iraq, and he wanted to bomb Arabs into loving us, and he wanted to keep all our foreign aid going so as to gentrify the unruly foreign hordes, and he wanted to support free elections, except for when they elect people who are super-Muslim-like, in which case we need to arm them, but only once we’re sure they’re not our enemies but our allies.
I mean it was this incoherent morass of just … things … and stuff. I’m actually surprised Obama was able to respond to as much of it as he did, given how random Romney was. I think the most offensive things Romney said had to do with civilizing the Islamic world, which a) isn’t an actual thing and b) name me a world of any kind that has responded particularly well to people bigfooting in with plans to make it better through benevolent condescension and killing of its children. But honestly, it was hard to get too worked up about anything given how little it actually mattered from one moment to the next.
If the genius of George W. Bush was fully realizing the power of incumbency, that once in office polls didn’t matter and protests didn’t matter and pundits didn’t matter and nobody could do shit about shit, then the genius of Mitt Romney is in realizing that our press is so cowed, and our public so fragmented, that he is not beholden to consistency from one moment to the next. And so there’s no need for a public domestic policy, or a foreign policy that’s anything other than BOO THE WHOLE WORLD, because none of it matters. Forget a post-fact politics. We’re living in a post-reality politics, where nothing exists, not even enough to find repugnant and argue against.