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Matthew Towery Columnist

Published Saturday, September 22, 2012

Romney finally takes gloves off over unlikely but critical topic

Sept. 11, 2012, seemed like it was going to be another solemn day to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001 -- and, by pure coincidence, a day that Republican Mitt Romney was to take an endless parade of negative articles from top conservatives and Republicans blasting his namby-pamby campaign against Barack Obama.

But all of that came to a halt after a series of incidents in North Africa. The first was an attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo -- a reaction, supposedly by vigilante types, to a new movie that allegedly insulted Muslim audiences, leading to the violence. That was followed by a rather tepid denunciation by President Obama that appeared to attempt to placate Muslims in that part of the world more than attempting to end anti-U.S. violence.

Romney pounced on the initial Obama statement, not realizing that the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans had been killed in a separate attack in Benghazi, Libya, later. Romney then decided to continue to question the strength of Obama’s reaction to the violence in North Africa and the Middle East, leading some moderate Republicans and many in the mainstream media to question whether his comments were “appropriate.”

For once, Romney gets some courage on an issue, and the press wants to tie his hands and certain Republicans want to play diplomat. Are they nuts? Look, let’s face it: This administration has been playing semi-footsy with nations that tolerate Islamic extremism for the past few years. But when it comes to Israel, the Obama team has a deaf ear and not so much as a gentle pat on the back.

While President Obama was busy trying to put down extremist who would attempt to give Muslims as a whole a bad name, he was ignoring a plea from Israel’s prime minister to meet with him while he is visiting the United States over the growing risk of a nuclear weapons system becoming reality in Iran before the upcoming election. That would likely necessitate a pre-emptive military action by Israel. But Obama’s White House stated that, due to scheduling conflicts, the president could not meet with Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu.

How much does it take before the balance of evidence confirms that this administration has taken us far away from our longstanding devotion to an independent Israel? Our policy now appears more intent on keeping Muslim nations and-or those of its faith happy than to worry about our longtime ally.

What makes this all the more frustrating are polls that show no matter how much this administration moves toward a general geopolitical force that collectively contains more anti-American sentiment (and anti-Israel, as well) than rank-and-file residents of the former Soviet Union ever exhibited, many Americans do not care. That is particularly true of many Jewish voters, who in surveys support the Obama administration despite these policies.

Ironically, many who are not of the Jewish faith remain intensely devoted to an independent and free Israel and are willing to support candidates who feel the same way. And just below the surface, a suspicion, which many voters have expressed in private polling, that President Obama is friendlier to Islamic/Muslim nations and leaders than past presidents is now appearing to have some true evidence behind it.

When the Arab Spring hit last year, experts warned that the chaos that would ensue would be in the interests of more extreme and anti-U.S. forces. That is exactly what has happened.

An American ambassador is killed, and all we can say is that we basically hope that a lawless and toothless bunch in Libya can bring those responsible to justice. We turn down Israel facing a potential nuclear crisis and coddle killers with threats rather than direct action.

The fact is, don’t ever tell me that Jimmy Carter was the worst president in modern history. At least he knew who the enemy was, negotiated like hell to free embassy hostages, staged a daring (if ill-fated) rescue mission in Iraq, risked the life of his close advisor Hamilton Jordan by using him as a go-between to those holding Americans hostage and even created a special operations force to respond to the types of crisis he faced as a result of what he learned.

Romney has found Obama’s Achilles heel. The media want him to play nice guy once again. That won’t work. He should simply say: Mr. Obama, I remember Jimmy Carter -- and you are no Jimmy Carter. In fact, you make Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill.

.................

(Matthew Towery heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage. His column is distributed by Morris News and Creators’ Syndicate.)

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