Romney a Victim of Group-Think: Gentler Take on Libya Blunder
Thu, 09/13/2012 – 10:27am
UPDATE: Mitt Romeny’s Libya blunder is being dubbed a "Lehman Moment." Perhaps it will be, but it reminds me of something more innocuous. It reminds me of a person in an audience experiencing group-think: laughing in unison each time an orator completes a sentence, in part because its funny. Then, when the orator shifts gears and speaks in a serious or somber manner, some poor sap in the audience ends up guffawing anyway, so hypnotized is he by the collective experience of periodic laughter.
I think Romney was hypnotized by periodic, fact-free attacks on President Obama, many of which have come from media outlets such as Fox News and political operatives outside his campaign. If I were a partisan Republican and/or a consumer of Republican media products, I could see myself gradually coming to assume that, with each new event and each new decision by the Obama administration, producers and consumers alike are all expected to say that the opposite should have occurred and/or that the President doesn’t really love America.
In the tragic situation unfolding in the Middle East, where Americans are in danger and four have been killed, people who are more experienced with politics and/or foreign policy held their tongues until more information was available, and indeed, until there was a proper amount of time to come together as a People and honor our dead. But let’s face it, Romney is one of the busiest, most distracted, and most overworked people in the U.S. right now. He didn’t feel like he had time to think. He laughed right along with the audience, whom he expected to laugh with him as they always had before. But, almost to a person, they held back on their side of the repetitive mantra of breaking news, attack Obama, breaking news, attack Obama… leaving Romney hanging out to dry.
It’s interesting that so many figures on the right have been so vocal in the aftermath of Romney’s unfortunate remarks. Perhaps they want to distance themselves from Romney, protecting their own national security credibility at the expense of his. I have to say, I feel bad for the guy. I wouldn’t have made any of his choices, not one of them. But I still feel bad for him as a human being suffering public ridicule on a global level.